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The Battle for Syria

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Is War With Hezbollah Coming?

July 24th 2012

Israeli Tanks Gaza Strip
Israeli Tanks

Israeli officials warned Tuesday that war with Iranian-backed Hezbollah might break out if the Jewish state learns Syria's chemical weapons cache has been transferred to the terrorist organization. In three separate statements, Israel's president, foreign minister, and army chief of staff all warned of a looming conflict.

Benny Gantz, the Israeli army's chief of staff, told a Knesset committee Tuesday that Syria's chemical weapons cache is secure for the moment. But if Israel is forced to search for the weapons, a war with Hezbollah would be imminent.

"To the best of my knowledge, at this moment there is control over this system…and it has not yet passed to bad hands - that not to say that this will stay this way. It is likely that this will change, and then we will have a dilemma," said Gantz. "There is a possibility that we will find it hard to locate (the shipments of transferred chemical weapons) and if you work broadly you can quite quickly find yourself in a campaign that is broader than you had intended."

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister, said clearly that chemical weapons in the hands of Israel's enemies would be a cause for war.

“In the moment we see that the Syrians transfer chemical and biological weapons to Hezbollah, this is a red line for us, and from our point of view it’s a clear casus belli,” Lieberman said at a press conference in Brussels. “We will act decisively and without hesitation or restraint. It will be a completely different ball game. And we hope for the understanding from the of the international community and we hope for cooperation.”

In an exclusive interview with CNN on Monday, Shimon Peres talked tough on Iran, declaring an “open war” with the Persian state, and issuing a stern warning to Syria regarding its use of chemical weapons.

When pressed on the potential use of chemical weapons by Syria, and the willingness of the Jewish state to respond to the threat, Peres promised that the government would take action, “until it [Syria] will stop being a danger.”

Calm and collected, Peres told the reporter, “I think Israel is quite experienced in discovering dangers ahead of time. Our eyes are sharp and alert.”

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