Against the background of the Israeli defense establishment’s assessments of Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and the fact that it is back at work on establishing an accurate missiles factory in Lebanon, IDF Spokesman Brigadier General Ronen Manelis on Sunday warned the citizens of Lebanon over Arab social media: “Beware of Iran’s game using Hezbollah to gamble on your security and your future. The choice is yours, the IDF is ready for any scenario.”
Manelis began his warning article with his choice for picture of the year on the Lebanese front: the joint tour of Hezbolla’s South Lebanon Front commander in the company of his friend, the commander of one of the Shiite militias loyal to Iran.
“This unique picture expresses more than anything else the Iranian involvement in Lebanon and raises the veil from the reality of the tightening Iranian control over Lebanon. It is clear that this unique phenomenon of ‘terrorist tourism’ is a concrete and unique expression of the danger to the future of the Cedar State and the entire region – the danger of a takeover by Tehran’s henchmen,” he began.
Noting that the 12 years that passed since the second Lebanon war have been relatively stable, Manelis suggested this was the result of the lasting memory of the punishment Israel inflicted on Lebanon in response to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s “powerful mistake” of attacking Israel. Since then, the spokesperson warned, the IDF has been hard at work preparing for a possible next challenge, and cited the chief of staff and the head of intelligence who said that had the enemy understood how much we know about them, they’d have stayed away from renewing the conflict for many, long years.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah has been busy being used as Iran’s errands boy, losing more than a thousand warriors in Syria and entertaining the possibility of a combined attack on Israel with Hamas – all of it in the service of the Islamic Republic. “Wherever there was instability, we discovered Iran’s fingerprint and Hezbollah’s involvement,” Manelis wrote.
“Hezbollah does not conceal its attempt to take over the country, which found its expression in various developments,” he continued, “A president who legitimizes a terrorist organization; a prime minister who has trouble functioning under the Nasrallah’s brute bullying; the establishment of terror infrastructures and factories to manufacture weapons under the Lebanese government’s nose; and the unhindered military assimilation inside the civilian population.”
“The worst of all is what’s hidden from the eye,” wrote the Spokesperson. “While Lebanese authorities and the international community are turning a blind eye, Lebanon is turning into one large missile factory. This is no longer an issue of transferring arms, money, or counsel. Iran has opened a new branch de facto, the Lebanon branch – Iran is here.”
But Lebanese subjects are mistaken if they think this process is turning their country into a safe citadel, he warned. It is nothing more than a barrel of gunpowder on which they, their families and their possessions are sitting. “One out of every three or four homes in south Lebanon is a command post, an armory or a hiding place for Hezbollah – but we are familiar with these assets and are ready to attack them accurately, should we be forced to.”
“Lebanese civilians’ future is a toy in the hands of the Tehran dictator, and the collaborating heads of villages, towns and government institutions who see all this and keep quiet are also to blame.”
Calling on Lebanese civilians to choose life and prosperity over fanaticism and death, Brigadier General Ronen Manelis said the IDF is ready for either scenario. And, on a practical note, he urged them to vote for the Sunni parties in the upcoming elections, to keep Iran’s Shiite proxies in Lebanon’s complex political system from taking over the country on behalf of Tehran.