As you may have heard, the Israel Defense Force has declassified maps showing their assessment of the locations of Hezbollah bunkers, weapons facilities and surveillance posts in the village of El-Khiam, north of the Israeli border. Having just recently been looking at that village–from the southern side of the border–I was particularly interested to see this. Judith Levy’s analysis of the IDF’s decision to release these maps right now seems to me exactly right:
The impending publication of the UN tribunal’s indictments of Hezbollah members for the assassination of Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri will make things very uncomfortable for Nasrallah and, by extension, for Iran, which has set up Hezbollah as its local proxy. The best way for Hezbollah to deflect both Lebanese and international attention away from its guilt in the Hariri killing is to provoke Israel. From Hezbollah’s point of view, an ideal result would be carnage in Lebanese villages wreaked by the IDF. Who’s going to quibble about UN indictments when Israel is killing Lebanese civilians?
That strategy will only work if people fail to realize just what they’ve done in El-Khiam. Now, the IDF released these maps to the Washington Post, and the Post puts it thus: “Israeli intelligence asserts that Hezbollah has built hundreds of bunkers and filled them with Syrian-made weapons, all since 2006, the last time Israel attacked the Shiite militia.”
That makes the whole business sound like some spooky, dubious, debatable intelligence-jitsu. It’s not, really. I was standing there looking at that village. You can see it pretty well with the naked eye. You’d need only a pair of binoculars to come up with this assessment, and you can see that plainly from the video I shot.