Christian Living

ChrisM 08/16/07

The Second Lebanon War: One Year Later

One year ago, on August 14, 2006, we set out once again from Jerusalem to the northern border town of Metulla. The drive north to the front lines was part of our continuing coverage of what's become known as the Second Lebanon War.

The war began on July 12th. Hezbollah, an Islamic organization identified by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist group, crossed the border into Israel, ambushed an Israeli army patrol, killing eight soldiers and kidnapping two others. Israel responded with a massive bombardment of Hezbollah areas in Beirut, Lebanon's capital, and its fortified positions throughout southern Lebanon.

Over the course of the war, Hezbollah fired nearly 4,000 rockets into northern Israel. As a result, more than one million Israelis fled their homes to the south and became temporary refugees in their own country.

CBN News covered the war and witnessed firsthand the war's impact on Israel. Haifa, one of Israel's most industrious cities, resembled a ghost town. The few remaining residents took cover during rocket attacks. With air raid sirens blaring and people scurrying, the scenes in Haifa seemed reminiscent of World War II.

But on our way up to the front lines on August 14th, the landscape had changed. Two days earlier, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1701 and when the resolution went into effect that Monday morning, the impact was immediate. The deafening boom of Israeli artillery was gone. The alarming sounds of both incoming Katusha rockets and air raid sirens were missing.

The Second Lebanon War -- the longest uninterrupted war in Israel's history -- was over.

The next war however had just begun. Although the guns of August fell silent, few expected the quiet to last. In fact, a number of official and unofficial estimates and analyses predict another war this summer or fall.

Why? The ominous signs of another war can be seen throughout the region. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center released its analysis on the one-year anniversary of the war. Here are some of its conclusions:

"Hezbollah is replenishing its rocket arsenal (which was damaged during the Second Lebanon War) with massive supplies sent from Iran and Syria. On the eve of the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah had more than 20,000 rockets of various ranges. In our assessment, today Hezbollah is capable of firing a similar number of rockets at Israel during the war and of reaching Israeli civilian population centers from the northern border to the center of the country."

"During the past year Hezbollah smuggled vast quantities of weapons into Lebanon to replenish its arsenal. Special emphasis was put on rockets, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons. The main smuggling route passes through Syria. From there the weapons are loaded on trucks and driven through the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon along the wide open boundary between Syria and Lebanon. From the Beqaa Valley, they were transferred to Hezbollah storehouses throughout Lebanon, including south Lebanon. Weapons were also smuggled in through Turkey. That was revealed on May 25, 2007, when the Turkish army discovered a shipment of weapons on a train going from Iran to Syria."

"During the past year, Hezbollah continued rehabilitating its military forces both north and south of the Litani River without the Lebanese government's making any effective attempt to prevent them from doing so, as dictated by Security Council Resolution 1701. The embargo on providing Hezbollah with weapons was not enforced by the Lebanese government and weapons shipments from Iran and Syria continued to arrive unhampered and uninterrupted."

"The (1701) Resolution's achievements can be eroded and may not preserve quiet or provide for long-term stability in Lebanon in general and south Lebanon in particular. Once Hezbollah has completed its military rehabilitation it is liable to change its terrorist policy and renew its attacks against Israel. Moreover, its terrorist policy may change according to the considerations of its sponsors, Iran and Syria, regarding internal Lebanese and/or regional affairs (for example, a political crisis in Lebanon or a regional crisis of some sort). The rehabilitation of Hezbollah's military force again poses a rocket threat for Israel, familiar from the second Lebanon war and perhaps even more serious."

". ..the current relative calm in south Lebanon is an achievement that can be eroded and cannot be viewed as a fundamental, long-range change in the security situation in south Lebanon. That is because Hezbollah is liable to change its terrorist policy as soon as it finishes its rehabilitation or there may be a change in its own considerations or those of Iran and Syria concerning internal Lebanese and/or regional affairs (for example, should it be in Iran or Syria's interest to heat up the Israeli-Lebanese border if there is an internal Lebanese or regional crisis). The large rocket arsenal Iran and Syria gave Hezbollah is meant to be used, when the time comes, to exhaust Israel through continued attacks on population centers deep within the country...."

On August 14, 2006, the war was over but for the past year, it appears clear the seeds for the next war are being sown. Many believe its coming is just a matter of time. In the meantime, many intercessors throughout this region and around the world are praying for the peace of Jerusalem.