The Iranian missile factories built for Hizballah on Lebanese soil signal a new and dangerous phase, a senior former Israeli defense official has told me.
The source issued a warning about a wider trend – one in which Iran, emboldened by its alliance with Russia, and by the nuclear deal, proliferates its weapons to proxies and tests Israel’s red lines, with potentially dramatic consequences.
The factories “point to the fact that Lebanon is not a state, but a branch of Iran that is controlled by Hizballah, and that Iran, after the nuclear agreement, feels that it can do everything because no one dares harm it,” the source stated.
The source’s warning included the following statement:
“When Israel is forced to act after Iran and Hizballah cross all of the red lines, Lebanon will be destroyed, because Iran and Hizballah have turned it into one big weapons storage facility, and the world is silent.”
According to the French Intelligence Online magazine, at least one of the two factories in Lebanon is designed to produce Fateh 110 missiles, which place most of Israel in range.
Emily Landau, head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, pointed out in my report that the factories serve Iran’s objective of overcoming “the vulnerability of transport vehicles transferring weapons from Iran via Syria, to Lebanon.”
She was referring to international media reports about repeated Israeli strikes on Iranian-Hizballah weapons convoys.
If Iran makes the weapons in Hizballah’s turf, it won’t need to expose them to the reported strikes by smuggling them across the region.