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Israeli Major-General: Syrian War Delays Conflict with ‘Hezbollah’ | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Amir Eshel, commander of the Israeli Air Force, at Hatzor air base in southern Israel April 2, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Jerusalem- Israel would use all its strength from the start in any new war with the Lebanese “Hezbollah”, chief of the Israeli air force Major-General Amir Eshel said on Wednesday, sending a firm warning a decade after their last conflict.

He noted that the Syrian war is delaying the conflict with “Hezbollah”.

At the annual Herzliya security conference near Tel Aviv, Eshel said qualitative and quantitative improvements in the air force since the 2006 Lebanon war meant it could carry out in just two or three days the same number of bombings it mounted in those 34 days of fighting.

“If war breaks out in the north, we have to open with all our strength from the start,” he said, pointing to the likelihood of international pressure for a quick ceasefire before Israel can achieve all its strategic goals.

Israeli politicians and generals have spoken often of an intention to hit hard in Lebanon if war breaks out, in an apparent bid to deter Hezbollah. Eshel said in 2014 that another conflict could see Israeli attacks 15 times more devastating for Lebanon than in 2006.

But at the conference, Eshel noted that “many elements busy achieving their goals” in Syria’s civil war were interested in preventing any fresh hostilities in Lebanon, where Israel says Hezbollah has built up an arsenal of more than 100,000 rockets.

Since early in the six-year-old Syria war, Hezbollah’s energies have been focused on propping up regime president Bashar al-Assad in alliance with Iran and Russia, throwing thousands of its fighters into battle against Syrian rebels.