As a result of IDF airstrikes against its military bases in Syria, Iran has been forced to transfer its anti-Israel assets to Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon. This effort, involving upgrading hundreds of thousands of missiles, uses nefarious method and may even involve a more imminent nuclear threat than previously thought.
Fox News reported on Friday that Western intelligence sources believe Iran has increased its shipments of advanced weapons to the Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist proxy based in Lebanon. It is believed that Iran shipped Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) components to Hezbollah, which will be used to upgrade unguided missiles, turning them into precision guided weapons. Fox reported that one such shipment arrived in Lebanon last Tuesday.
This is consistent with claims made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September. Netanyahu warned that Hezbollah was using Lebanese civilians as human shields by hiding missiles in Beirut to be used against Israel. He claimed factories in Lebanon were converting the low-tech missiles into high-tech precision missiles. Following restocking after the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Hezbollah is estimated to have between 100,00 and 150,000 missiles in its arsenal. Most are not believed to be equipped with precision technology.
It is believed that Iran transfers at least some of these weapons to Lebanon via civilian airliners. Last month, Israel sent a letter to the Secretary General of the UN accusing Iran of using civilian airliners to smuggle weapons to Islamist terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon. The U.S Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control has issued economic sanctions against several of the companies suspected of involvement in transferring weapons.
The Iranian missile threat is not limited to Lebanon. In August, Reuters reported that Iran provided Zelzal-3, Fateh-110 and Zolfaqar ballistic missiles with ranges of about 125-435 miles to Shi’ite proxies in Iraq. This would put Israel in range while posing a threat to Saudi Arabia as well.
The former head of Israeli Military Intelligence and currently head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, told Y-Net on Sunday that this was all part of a change in strategy by Iran, moving their assets out of Syria while still threatening Israel.
“The Iranians were severely beaten on May 10,” Yadlin told Y-Net. “The IDF attacked about 50 targets in Syria where the Iranians were based, it took them some time, but according to my estimates, they changed strategy: instead of basing the precision missile factories in Syria, they decided to do it in Lebanon.”
The IDF recently admitted to conducting almost 200 airstrikes in Syria last year, most against Iranian military bases, weapons depots, and convoys transporting weapons to Hezbollah. The ability to conduct such strikes is in question after Syrian anti-aircraft systems shot down a Russian military turboprop airplane during an Israeli strike killing 14 Russian servicemen. Russia blamed Israel and responded by providing the Syrian army with the advanced S-300 surface-to-air missile system.
Yadlin explained that Iranian missiles in the hands of Hezbollah were a greater threat than missiles in Syria.
“It is more problematic for Israel since Israel, to this day, has not attacked the Iranian consolidation in Lebanon or Hezbollah’s weaponry, and now there are missile conversion factories. According to the report, these are statistical missiles that strike at a distance of several kilometers. This poses a very difficult dilemma for Israel,” Yadlin explained.
“If Israel does not do anything, Hassan Nasrallah’s organization will turn its order of battle of its statistical missiles and rockets into precision missiles. The price will be paid in war.”
A recent report indicated that the Iranian nuclear threat was even more precarious than previously thought. The Institute for Science and International Security published a report on Tuesday cited intelligence material collected by the Mossad from an Iranian military warehouse last January. The institute’s report claims that the intelligence collected by the Mossad “conclusively shows that the Parchin site did house high explosive chambers capable for use in nuclear weapons research and development.” The report concluded that Iran was closer to being able to build a nuclear weapon than previously thought.