Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, October 2012
Hizbullah Drone Penetrates 'Invincible' Israeli Air Space for 30 Minutes
October 7, 2012
Israel Downs Hizbullah Drone
An Israeli military spokesperson reported Saturday that the Israeli
Air Force downed an unmanned drone over the northern part of the Naqab
Desert. The army said that the drone did not carry any explosives.
Ottawa Citizen, Posted on Oct 7, 2012
This weekend Hizbullah appears to have delivered a surprise, and, in doing so, fired the first shot in the Fourth Gulf War.
On Saturday, a pilotless helicopter penetrated deep into Israeli air space before being shot down. According to various reports, the Israel Defence Forces know full well who sent the drone – Hezbollah acting on behalf of Iran.
The incursion apparently caught the Israelis by surprise. The drone was able to spend nearly half an hour over southern Israel. As DebkaFile experts observed, “The incident showed ID intelligence and command not up to handling enemy surprises, even after countless drills and exercises.”
“Our intelligence experts note that before the Israeli Air Force fighters scrambled to shoot it down, the intruder would have had enough time for its surveillance equipment to beam to its Iranian control station, wherever it was, the electronic signatures of U.S. and Israeli military installations within its purview in the South and the Negev. This was a major lapse … Had there been weapons aboard, the incident would have ended in a worse disaster.”
Iran is certainly delivering on its threats against Israel. In late September, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ commander, Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, warned that Iran will not wait to be attacked but instead will engage in preemptive operations against Israel and the United.
“The aerial overflight Saturday may well have been a preparatory step for such an attack,” DebkaFile’s experts concluded
If so, doesn’t this drone over flight constitute a casus belli for war. Or, to put it differently, as the Third Gulf War already begun. Over the summer battle fleets from 25 nations gathered in the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz.
According to the Daily Telegraph, western leaders are convinced that Iran will retaliate to any sort of pre-emptive military attack by attempting to “mine or blockade the shipping lane through which passes around 18 million barrels of oil every day, approximately 35 per cent of the world’s oil traded by sea.”
Of course, the Islamists are also preparing for war. In mid-September, elite units of Iran’s al Qods, the Revolutionary Guards external arm, were airlifted into Syria and Lebanon. Iranian troops are now deployed on Israel’s northern and eastern borders.
Israel responded with a huge military exercise on its borders with Syria and Lebanon, and not all the IDF units that took part in the drill returned to their home bases when it was finished. As one news report puts it, “substantial military strength, estimated at two divisions, is therefore building up and facing the Iranian troops across the border in Syria and Lebanon.”
Meanwhile, according to news reports, Hizbullah has been trying to build up its attack drone fleet for some time. Nearly two weeks ago Iran publicly displayed a new long-range drone, the Shaed-129, it said could fly to Israel and carry out reconnaissance or bombing missions.
“The drone reportedly has a range of 2,000 kilometers and was likely presented as part of Iran’s attempt to reply to Israel’s fleet of massive Heron drones,” says the Jerusalem Post.
In September, Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah said his organization could bomb the Dimona nuclear reactor in southern Israel.
More recently, The New York Times, citing classified Pentagon data, reported that Iran has practiced bombing runs on Dimona and Haifa.
As the Jerusalem Post concluded, “it seems reasonable to conclude that Iran and Hezbollah are testing out their latest drone capabilities to see how far they can get into Israeli air space and to test Israeli responses.”
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