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New Israeli report highlights importance of mutual deterrence
  A new report by an Israeli think tank has outlined possible methods of retaliation Hezbollah in Lebanon would inflict on Israel were it to attack Iran's nuclear installations.
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Friday 4 November 2011 15:34
Code : 48362
New Israeli report highlights importance of mutual deterrence
BFnews: The report, based on reports of Lebanese media, outlines a scenario where Hezbollah would fire at least 10,000 missiles at many of Israel's major cities, in addition to military and strategically vital targets.

"What I'm doing now is showing the full plan of how to do it," Dr. Shimon Shapira of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs who wrote the new report told Xinhua. He said it was the first such analysis on the issue.

"The first time that (Hezbollah leader Hassan) Nasrallah talked about the Galilee was in February but that was only a declaration, " he added. The Galilee is the northern region of Israel that borders Lebanon.

The report also contains an operational plan for a land invasion of northern Israel, which Hezbollah reportedly developed with the help of Iran.

Shapira said that the main purpose behind the publication of the details by Hezbollah was "to deter Israel," because "Hezbollah is feeling that something is coming concerning an Israeli attack on Iran, and this is the framework."

Numerous articles and analyses in the Israeli press over the last several weeks have speculated about Israel's military capabilities vis-a-vis Iran, which Israel and many Western nations accuse of developing nuclear weapons.

Among the Israeli media's feeding frenzy were reports that the cabinet in recent days discussed the possibility of conducting a military operation to halt or delay Iran's alleged nuclear weaponization program.

Shapira declined to comment on what details the Israeli military establishment may know about Iran's current nuclear abilities.

NUCLEAR WEAPONS
Prof. Benny Miller, of the University of Haifa, said one possible reason that the subject has now resurfaced is that the United Nations nuclear supervision agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, is set to publish a report on Nov. 8 that may show that Iran is continuing to make progress in uranium enrichment, a key component in producing nuclear weapons material.

"One advantage of a potential threat of the use of force is that it will encourage the UN Security Council (UNSC) to adopt a more severe sanction resolution against Iran," Miller argued.

He said that the recent flurry of reports do not necessarily mean that an attack is imminent, but rather to encourage China and Russia to avoid vetoing potentially stronger sanctions resolutions that will be advanced by the West in the UNSC.

"The strategic function seems to be that if the international community will have in mind that Israel might resort to force, it will especially encourage the UNSC to adopt a more serious resolution against Iran," Miller said.

"Hopefully, if it will work then it would prevent the need for military force -- or at least delay it quite a bit," he added.

The paradox is that the more credible the threat to use force, the more powerful the diplomatic track will be, according to Miller.

Israel, however, may itself face a possible credibility problem when it comes to the Jewish nation's ability to launch a successful airstrike on Iran' nuclear installations, which are spread out across the country and in some cases well-fortified underground.

According to a number of international studies on the subject, the current type of fighter jets that Israel uses lacks the long- range capabilities to launch a strike without having to refuel en route, something which significantly increases operational risks.

ANOTHER LEBANON WAR

In the summer of 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a month-long war, which is called the second Lebanon war in Israel. The war started when Hezbollah abducted two Israeli soldiers in a cross- border raid. In addition to a pitched battle in southern Lebanon, the war for the first time put Israeli cities far from the border under a constant missile barrage for the extent of the conflict.

Yoram Schweitzer, of the National Institute for Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, said that Hezbollah is a threat to Israel in the sense of it being an organization that is "armed to its teeth" with long-range missiles that can hit any city in Israel.

"The capability to harm Israel is there," Schweitzer said. "But of course, Israel has its means to defend itself: both as a dynamic defensive system -- or as a passive system," that alerts residents when to seek shelter from incoming missiles.

He argued that while Hezbollah has the capability, they know that "Israel has not only Hezbollah but other Lebanese targets that can be retaliated against very strongly, so there is a deterring element."

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Source : Xinhua