Senior Lebanese political analyst Anees Naqqash provides his analysis of the recent flareup on the Lebanese-Israeli border, an incident which is becoming the subject of many questions, theories and debates.
In this interview on Al-Manar TV, Naqqash says something ‘very strange and major’ occurred in this incident, and perhaps the ambiguity will be removed in the future. However, the senior analyst, who is closely-tied to Hezbollah, affirmed that the events at the border were a ‘major scandal for the entire state of Israel’.
Here’s the necessary context:
For days Israeli forces had been on high alert on the Lebanese border after Tel Aviv understood that a Hezbollah reprisal attack was imminent after the Lebanese group announced that one of its cadres (namely Ali Kamil Mohsen) had been killed by an Israeli airstrike near Damascus International Airport.
On the 27th of July, 2020, a military incident occurred at the border between Lebanon and Israel. Much debate ensued regarding what actually occurred. As the apparent cross-border fire unfolded on that Monday afternoon at the Shebaa Farms border region, Israeli media reported the developing situation minute by minute, albeit with contradictory accounts. Meanwhile, Hezbollah remained silent, while Lebanese media outlets like Al Mayadeen TV largely relayed Israeli media’s breaking news reports.
The final account that Israeli media and officials generally settled on hours later was this: the Israeli army had thwarted a Hezbollah infiltration attempt into Israeli-controlled territory, and that the army remains alert for any future attempts to breach the border.
Thereafter, when the dust had settled, Hezbollah issued a statement denying Israeli media reports that a Hezbollah infiltration attempt was foiled, and asserted that all the fire that was opened was carried out unilaterally by the Israelis. Hezbollah unequivocally asserted that there were no ‘clashes’, nor exchange of cross-border fire, nor ‘martyrs’ that fell from its side, but rather ‘terrified and anxious’ Israeli forces ‘firing at each other’.
The Hezbollah statement also assured that the reprisal for Israel’s killing of Ali Kamil Mohsen, one of its cadres in Syria, is undoubtedly coming.
Source: Al-Manar TV
Date: July 27,2020
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Mr. Anees, let us return to the point raised by Mr. Hijazi (Al-Manar journalist) regarding the (various) scenarios. What are the potential scenarios that led the enemy entity (Israel) to this situation today? Is it truly the case that the huge (Israeli) confusion and tension (in anticipation of the promised Hezbollah reprisal), this idea (invoked initially by Nasrallah, that the Israelis ought to wait for the reprisal by) “standing on a leg and a half” , also after Hezbollah’s (media) statement, which we’re going to mention after a while, and I don’t know how much they’ll last standing on a leg and a half moving forward…what are the scenarios that led to this scene? Or is it truly a trick (by Israeli officials) aimed at getting rid of the burden of (Hezbollah’s promised) reprisal through any way possible, by say fabricating a story or scenario to reach this end?
This scenario, in which (the Israelis purposefully) commit an attack against their own selves in order to prevent Hezbollah from responding by drawing a statement from Hezbollah (in which the Lebanese group can claim) that “We have retaliated and carried out our reprisal”, this (possibility) is abit unlikely, unless of course (the Israelis) are that stupid, But whoever knows Hezbollah well, knows that they won’t engage in such a game.
There’s something that I don’t know how we will reach one day, but something (in what occurred today) looks like the Ansariya operation (of 1997, which occurred at the Lebanese coastal town of Ansariya). When the Ansariya operation took place, Robert Fisk, the famous correspondent from The Independent, came to me and said, “Anees, my estimation of this operation is that it is impossible for it to have occurred in the manner in which it did.” In what sense (did Fisk mean)? (He meant that) Hezbollah (during the Ansariya operation) was awaiting the Israeli special forces in order to trap them, and these (Israeli special) forces do not move into action except by the command of the (Israeli) Prime Minister and (Israeli army’s) Chief of Staff, so this means complete secrecy, a large part of the (Israeli army) does not know about the movements (of these special forces).
Fisk continued, “So, I believe that Hezbollah was awaiting (the arrival of these forces at Ansariya), and there’s no way (this ambush could have occurred) except by (Hezbollah) having penetrated the Israeli (Chief of) Staff Command.” (Fisk) wasn’t joking at all. He said “my estimation”, and you know Fisk’s (journalistic) experience, he has extensive experience in the (Middle East) region for over 30 years. I replied to Fisk’s claim and told him, “No, I don’t think it required (Hezbollah) to penetrate the (Israeli Chief of) Staff Command. There’s something major that happened, maybe one day it will be clarified.”
What was the major thing (that was revealed later)? That an (Israeli) spy drone had been capturing images of an area (in the Lebanese town of) Ansariya, (Hezbollah) operatives (had intercepted this drone) and were collecting these images, which allowed them in turn to uncover the enemy’s intended target (i.e. Hezbollah anticipated where the Israeli special forces were intending to land and strike). They uncovered the enemy’s intended target via the enemy’s eye (in the sky). Through the enemy’s eye they prepared for them an ambush.
I believe the day will come when the major fact (behind today’s events) is revealed, because what happened today was very strange. It wasn’t merely a confused Israeli soldier who was firing a M16 or PKM, or even a single tank firing at an invisible target. Rather, it consisted of extremely heavy shelling from several (Israeli) sources of fire, all of which were targeting an (Israeli) military base, and this lasted for several minutes. The information was delivered to the (Israeli) prime minister and he (immediately) issued threats and assessed the (magnitude of the) situation. Something major occurred at this (military) site. I think that the enemy today is extremely confused to the maximum level possible. What happened to its forces? Who gave the order to open fire? What (is the nature of the) penetration that took place? What camouflage (tactics) were used?
During war, armies carry out spy missions, deception operations, I give him fake targets (to shoot at), and perhaps behind these fake targets his own forces could be stationed. All this occurs. What happened today? No one can say exactly what happened, but one thing could be said, “It is a scandal for the Zionist enemy and its army and its (entire) state as a (political) entity, because it is not just the (Israeli) Northern (Army) Command which is involved in this scandal, as I said in the beginning, from the Prime Minister, to the ‘Minister of War’, to the (local commanders) on the ground, all are embroiled in this scandal.
Something major has happened today, which is forcing (the Israelis) to reconsider their calculations. Great powers today are looking at this (Israeli) entity today and saying: something major has happened. This is an entity that cannot be relied upon (to achieve any military advances). This reminds us of reports written by great powers after 2006 which said that this army cannot win any (future) war, because its performance in 2006 was one of the worst performances, (a war waged against) only two thousand fighters from Hezbollah. Today the situation is (even) totally different in terms of (Hezbollah’s) numbers, equipment and weapons, but this is another issue. Yet the confusion that took place today, the scenario that caused a total collapse of the (Israeli) media and intelligence (apparatus), of the Chief of Staff, of the Prime Minister, to the (actual) Israeli base on the ground that bombarded the other military base.
Recently I received information that large plumes of smoke were rising from some (Israeli) bases. My estimates were that the enemy was evacuating from these bases and did not want (Hezbollah) to know that it had evacuated. This base (that was bombarded by Israel) was part of the scenario. Did the enemy evacuate this base in order to create this scenario? This would indicate the level of disgrace of the Zionist enemy, as it imagines Hezbollah would feel satisfied with this scenario and claim that it carried out this operation. It’s as if (the Israelis) are convincing themselves that (Hezbollah) might do such a thing. And this is impossible (Hezbollah would never do it) . As you heard today (the Israelis) saying: “What annoys us more is that Hezbollah did has not issued a statement yet.” And when the situation became clear, Hezbollah issued that very clear statement, and by doing so, revealed the weakness of the enemy, as it revealed Hezbollah had no hands in the clashes, and that the Israelis were clashing with themselves. Today there is a great defeat for the enemy at all levels, and this must be further closely studied.