by WorldTribune Staff, January 28, 2018
Iran has “opened a new branch” in Lebanon and 2018 will be a year that tests “how Lebanon will be shaped,” a senior Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman said on Jan. 28.
“At the beginning of 2018, I think that it is proper to warn the residents of Lebanon of the game Iran has made of their security and their future,” IDF spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manlis said in an article published on opposition sites and in Arab media.
“Lebanon is turning into one big missile factory by act and omission of the Lebanese authorities and a blind eye turned by many groups in the international community,” Manlis warned.
“It is no longer transfer of arms, money, or advice,” Manlis said. “De facto, Iran has opened a new branch, ‘Lebanon branch – Iran is here.’ The IDF is prepared and ready for all scenarios, and plans to further improve its capabilities and readiness throughout the year. As we have proven in recent years, and those who need to know about it know, our security red lines are clear, and we prove this every week. The choice is yours, the citizens of Lebanon.”
Manlis added: “In Lebanon, Hizbullah does not conceal its attempt to take control of the state, which was expressed in the following developments: A president who legitimizes a terrorist organization, a prime minister who finds it difficult to function in the shadow of (Hizbullah leader Hassan) Nasrallah’s bullying behavior, the establishment of terror infrastructures and factories to manufacture weapons under the nose of the Lebanese government, and the unhindered military assimilation of the population.
“Along the border with Israel, and despite UN Security Council Resolution 1701 prohibiting the presence of Hizbullah operatives in southern Lebanon, Hizbullah continued to challenge the interests of the Lebanese state. Hizbullah operatives continue to patrol the border in civilian clothes and operate among the heart of the population. Moreover, Hizbullah is trying to recruit and employ officers and soldiers from the Lebanese army to achieve its goal, and in shameless fashion, Hizbullah also invited journalists on a special tour to show how it scorns Lebanese state sovereignty and the decisions of the Security Council. These violations do not threaten us. On the contrary, the distance between a violation that ends in a UN report to one that would lead to security deterioration is first and foremost an Israeli decision.”
Manlis noted that: “One in every three or four houses in southern Lebanon is a headquarters, a post, a weapons depot, or a Hizbullah hideout. We know these assets and know how to attack them accurately if required. The future of Lebanon’s citizens is a pawn in the hands of the dictator from Teheran, and the same heads of villages, towns, and government institutions who see and choose to remain silent are also to be blamed.”