The next war between Israel and Hezbollah “will be catastrophic” because the Iran-backed terror organization has stationed its military assets inside “built-up population centers in cities, towns and villages” in Lebanon, Stéphane Cohen, head of diplomatic outreach and security analysis for The Israel Project (which publishes The Tower), wrote in The Times of Israel on Thursday.
Cohen, who served as an IDF liaison officer to the UN during the last Lebanon war ten years ago, observed that at that time Hezbollah only had around 12,000 rockets and missiles at its disposal. It is now believed to have more than 110,000. Some analysts estimate that Hezbollah’s rocket and missile arsenal is greater than that of all 27 non-U.S. NATO nations combined.
The growth in Hezbollah’s arsenal is significant, Cohen wrote, because “Hezbollah has no regard for international law” and its rockets “are intended to kill as many civilians as possible.”
In addition to the threat to Israel, Cohen pointed out, a future war would be catastrophic to Lebanon as well. Lebanon is already home to over 1.5 million refugees from Syria, and Hezbollah’s actions have left the government barely functional. A war could “topple” the country entirely.
He also observed that Hezbollah has increasingly become a direct proxy of Iran, having sent thousands of its fighters to further Iran’s ambitions in Syria and Yemen. In order to prevent the consequences of a Hezbollah-instigated war, Cohen urged the international community to compel Hezbollah and Iran to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1559 and 1701, which prohibit the operation of non-Lebanese military forces on Lebanese territory.
Cohen concluded by reiterating his call for the international community to prevent a potential disaster by acting against Iran’s and Hezbollah’s ongoing violations of the Security Council:
Educated estimates predict with high certainty that when Hezbollah starts another war there will be much more suffering and destruction in a region already torn by chaos. The additional millions of refugees and reconstruction of Lebanon will add to the enormous financial burden the world is facing. The international community needs to work to pre-empt the war that Hezbollah is espousing, enforce UNSC resolutions that will promote peace, and hold Hezbollah and its masters in Iran accountable.
In Don’t Be Fooled. Hezbollah Is Bigger and Badder Than Ever, Cohen and Shai Oseran, then a defense analyst for The Israel Project, assessed the growing threat presented to Israel and the region.
Any negotiations with Iran regarding its nuclear program must also address its ongoing support of global terror, especially Hezbollah. While it may be convenient for the international community to focus solely on the nuclear issue in hopes of increasing their chances of success, Hezbollah and similar terrorist groups cannot be stopped without depriving them of Iranian backing. Having Iran at the table is the perfect opportunity to make progress on terror as well.
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