The IDF Chief of Staff has used two public appearances this week to highlight the threat from Hezbollah and the ongoing Syrian conflict.
At a memorial event yesterday for soldiers killed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Gadi Eisenkot said: “Hezbollah is in a very complex strategic reality. A third of the organisation today is fighting in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the majority of it in Syria.”
He also noted that Hezbollah has been involved in the conflicts in Yemen and Iraq and lost 1,700 men over the past three years.
He said that while “Hezbollah may be in a complex place, because it is fighting in Syria and suffering losses,” Israel “can’t ignore the fact the organisation is also gaining combat experience”.
“Hezbollah has close to 7,000 wounded and is facing quite a few problems in fighting as an organisation trying to deploy battalions and bigger formations,” he said.
Eisenkot highlighted weak points such as “serious financial issues, low morale, and the fact it lost two of its senior commanders in the last seven or eight years”.
Imad Mughniyeh was killed in Damascus, and another commander is believed to have been assassinated by his superiors.
Eisenkot said that while the organisation “is facing a difficult reality”, the IDF has “both defensive and offensive plans and we’re at a high level of preparedness”.
Speaking earlier in the week at the Rabin Center in Tel Aviv marking the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, Eisenkot raised similar issues. He said that the “lack of governance in Syria and terrorist organizations pose future challenges that we are dealing with today and will continue to deal with in the foreseeable future”.
Reflecting on the Six-Day War, Eizenkot said: “The IDF’s mission has not changed in the last 50 years: protect the country, ensure the existence of the country and allow our citizens to dream of normality that would allow the country to prosper and flourish.”
Earlier this week the IDF held an exercise to test the Northern Command’s response to a Hezbollah attack. The exercise focussed on the infantry, with help from the air force.