The Threat of Hezbollah’s Precision Missiles To “Israel”: We Snoozed During Guard Duty!
By Ali Haidar - Al-Akhbar Newspaper
Translated by Staff
The threat of Hezbollah’s precision missiles has turned into a nightmare for “Israel”. It is putting pressure on the “Israeli” entity’s political and security institutions and affecting the choices of its decision makers. It is being taken into account in the army’s operational plans and is one of the primary areas of focus for the intelligence apparatus.
Theoretically, the political and military leadership unanimously agree that the threat posed to “Israel’s” national security by precision rockets is second to that of the nuclear threat. However, in reality, these rockets are the primary concern. The rockets are the most pressing threat and pose the most urgent challenge to the activities of the entity in all arenas.
As a result, “Israel” is seeking to thwart the efforts of the Islamic Republic of Iran in providing its allies in the region with these kinds of capabilities. The enemy dubbed this endeavor as “the battle between the wars”. It has utilized all of its technological and intelligence capabilities in the pursuit of this objective.
The public and official nature of this threat prompted “Israeli” research institutes and media outlets to treat it as a major issue and offer an assessment of potential risks, development and the options to confront it.
“Israeli-”owned KAN channel, previously known as First Channel, recently broadcast an investigative documentary. The documentary called "Precision Missiles: A Clear and Present Danger", reflects the growing sense of anxiety in “Israel” in relation to this threat, especially since these capabilities are now central to the resistance axis’s defensive, offensive and deterrent strategy.
The weight of the documentary is highlighted by its participants. Among them is Prime Minister and former Security Minister Ehud Barak, head of the “Israeli” army’s operations division Major General Aharon Haliva, head of the Military Intelligence Directorate's Research Division (Aman) Brigadier Dror Shalom, head of the Institute for National Security Studies Major General Amos Yadlin, military commentator for the Haaretz newspaper Amos Harel, military commentator for Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper Yossi Yehoshua, and former CIA chief David Petraeus, who is also the former commander of the US Army’s Central Command.
According to Major General Aharon Haliva, the precision missiles are a “real threat” to“Israel”. This is the position of the military establishment. Haliva ranked the threat as the "second threat after the nuclear [one]". This means that it is the number one threat among conventional weapons systems. This consistant with the position of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the past year.
To this end, Haliva states that “Israel” is sparing no effort in confronting this threat. Asked to define what the strategic threat constitutes, he explained that "our enemies have at this moment the ability to damage installations and infrastructure vital to the performance” of “Israel". With the same logic, Major General Amos Yadlin states that “the accuracy of the missiles is the first strategic threat to ‘Israel’. It is the most important issue for the Kitchen Cabinet (at the political and security levels).”
The head of the Shield for the Home Front association, Eli Ben-On offers more tangible language regarding the effectiveness of the precision missiles. He says that Hezbollah could easily destroy the “Israeli” Knesset. But former Prime Minister Ehud Barak went into greater detail by saying that precision missiles can achieve a "precise hit of specific targets, vital infrastructure, or high-symbolic targets ... power plants, specific installations within air force bases, certain government installations, the Ministry of Public Security building, the Matcal building, and the Prime Minister’s office.”
"It falls within ten meters of the target," Barak continues as he described the precision missile.
Meanwhile, the head of the Lebanese arena at the Military Intelligence’s (Aman) Research Unit, Colonel “G”, says that "a precision missile can hit any point it wants to hit, at a very, very high level of accuracy."
"If I wanted to hit a building, instead of launching five or ten rockets hoping that one or two hit the building, one precision missile can be fired and hit this building," he adds.
As for Ben-On, he chooses to explain the advantages of the precision missile by saying that it is "like a car being driven with the help of a GPS or the Waze app. It strikes a specific target, a chosen target. It does not hit accidentally.”
For his part, Haaretz’s military commentator Amos Harel reveals the impression that had been left on Tel Aviv about Iranian capabilities – based on the targeting of the Aramco facilities.
"The capabilities demonstrated by the Iranians surpassed estimates in ‘Israel’, which requires us to prepare," Harel says.
For his part, the former air force commander, Major General Amir Eshel, notes that "we had an opportunity to learn about the capabilities of the Iranians, and they demonstrated accurate capabilities."
As for Haliva, he points to the destructive capabilities of Iranian missiles, their accuracy and range. He says this indicates their level of advancement, which means that they can also be directed towards “Israel”.
The former CIA chief pauses at the Aramco strike, saying that Iran had hit what it wanted to hit. He acknowledges that Iranian intelligence was excellent in this regard.
These qualities sowed terror in the “Israeli” decision-making system and restrained it.
Shalom articulates “Israeli” concerns regarding Iran's performance, saying that it disseminates these kinds of capabilities throughout the Middle East.
For his part, the former head of the Military Intelligence Research Unit, Brigadier General Etty Baron (2011-2015), reveals that in the first months of 2013, “a number of officers, most of them specialists in the field of technology, entered my room and presented me with events that were going on related to what they described as a ‘precision project’ of Iranian missiles and operations of transporting components from Iran to Lebanon.”
“It was the first time that we had a serious discussion on the importance of the ‘precision project’,” Baron adds. "There was a need for military and political dimensions to accurately explain the attack capabilities." He warns that this will change the "fighting doctrine and the battlefield."
Concerning the interceptive capabilities, Baron questions the effectiveness of the Iron Dome and David's sling, noting that "history has proven that the defense is always penetrated." Yehoshua echoes those concerns and says that the air defense systems were unable to protect “Israeli” installations.
As such, it was only natural that Hezbollah's success in building and developing its missile and military capabilities be addressed, especially since it exposes the failure of “Israel’s” "battle between wars" strategy. Ehud Barak blasted the political and security leadership that attempted to present a fable about the outcome of the 2006 war, claiming it brought about calm that lasted more than a decade.
Barak stresses that this concept is baseless. “At the end of 2006 Hezbollah had about 14,000 missiles. In 2018 Hezbollah had 140,000 missiles. According to these calculations, Hezbollah added 120,000 rockets to its missile arsenal in 12 years at an approximate rate of 10,000 rockets per year.”
Yedioth Ahronoth's Yehoshua agrees. "We fell asleep during guard duty," he says in reference to the fact that “Israel” "did not address the issue of this monster that rose behind the border."
He concludes by saying that there is "an entire decade that has gone in vain ... the fact that we allowed this increase over the years and did not thwart it, I think this is one of the most serious failures committed by ‘Israel’."
The documentary concludes with threats about targeting and destroying Lebanon’s infrastructure – a job both Barak and Haliva were tasked with. The former chooses to threaten the airport, the port and the electrical infrastructure. The latter chooses to boast about the “Israeli” army’s increased destructive capabilities. He threatens to activate these capabilities and “no shelters will remain in Beirut."
However, by issuing these threats, “Israeli” officials have once again failed to consider several factors that could undermine their plans. According to “Israeli” reports, the first of these is Hezbollah's destructive capabilities that have doubled in proportion since 2006. The second is that Hezbollah's missile capabilities act as a deterrent and a defensive capability in the face of any aggressive policy of the kind that Barak and Haliva have hinted at. These capabilities have proven effective on more than one occasion during the past decade.
The third consideration is that Tel Aviv’s messages of intimidation have not succeeded in deterring the resistance movement from responding to any attacks that necessitate the activation of its capabilities. As a result, the enemy has been committed to the deterrence formula that was imposed by Hezbollah's capabilities and will in the aftermath of 2006.