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A Third Lebanon War Could Be Much Worse than the Second

Hezbollah’s Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah recently announced that he could hit any and every place in Israel with long-range missiles. That would mean that, unlike in 2006, Hezbollah could strike not only the northern cities of Kiryat Shmona and Haifa but also Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion International Airport, and the Dimona nuclear-power plant.

“I dismissed his claim”:http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/the-show-needn-t-go-on-15285 as a wild boast last week, but Israeli army commander Major General Gabi Ashkenazi “confirmed it”:http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hgBTT59cg_cFi1HEbHwWHJ4d85ogD9BSOACG0 this week. So while we’ve all been worried about Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been quietly arming his chief terrorist proxy with more advanced conventional weapons.

A Third Lebanon War could make the Second Lebanon War in 2006 look like a minor kerfuffle. And the Second Lebanon War was anything but. When “Noah Pollak”:http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/category/contentions/contentions?author_name=pollak and I “covered it from the Israeli side”:http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2006/08/inside-hezbollahs-free-fire-zo.php, we found the whole northern swath of the country emptied of people and cars like it was the end of the world. The city of Tiberias looked like a zombie movie set. Kiryat Shmona is so close to the border that the air raid sirens often didn’t start wailing until after Hezbollah’s incoming Katyusha rockets had already exploded.

Meanwhile, pitched battles between the Israel Defense Forces and Hezbollah seriously chewed up South Lebanon. The centers of entire towns were “pulverized by Israeli air and artillery strikes”:http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2007/01/so-this-is-our-victory.php. More than a thousand people were killed, many of them civilians used by Hezbollah as human shields.

Hezbollah is much more dangerous than any terrorist group that has ever been fielded from the West Bank or Gaza. It managed to create hundreds of thousands of refugees inside Israel, and it did so with fewer and shorter range rockets than it has now. And while the “Party of God” may think it’s terrific that it can do what Hamas in Gaza only fantasizes about, its arsenal indirectly threatens Lebanon just as much if not more than it threatens Israel. Nasrallah can unleash a great deal of destruction, but it’s still no match for what the IDF can dish out while fighting back.

If Israel’s nuclear power plant comes under fire, if Tel Aviv skyscrapers explode from missile attacks, if Hezbollah manages to turn all of Israel into a kill zone where there is no place to run, Israelis will panic like they haven’t since the 1973 Yom Kippur War when it briefly appeared the Egyptian army might overrun the whole country. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere in Lebanon while Israelis are actively fending off that kind of assault. No country can afford to be restrained while fighting for its survival.

“Read the rest in Commentary Magazine”:http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/a-third-lebanon-war-could-be-much-worse-than-the-second-15291.

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