Why Hezbollah’s new missiles are a problem for Israel ?

Russian YakhontIsraeli defense officials have eyed the nearly three-year Syrian civil war warily, concerned that a faltering Assad regime may try to offload some of its advanced weaponry to its Hezbollah allies in Lebanon rather than let it fall into the hands of rebel forces. Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that, despite Israeli efforts to prevent Syrian weapons transfers to Lebanon, U.S. officials believe that Syrian forces have managed to smuggle advanced guided missiles to its Lebanese allies.

The new weapon in Hezbollah’s arsenal keeping Israeli officials up at night, according to the Wall Street Journal, is a set of Russian Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles. Russia delivered 72 Yakhont missiles to Syria in December 2011, along with 18 mobile launch vehicles designed to be stationed along the coast, and Syrian state news televised the Syrian Navy test-firing the missiles. Moscow then followed up in May 2013 with an additional shipment of even more advanced, more accurate, radar-equipped Yakhont missiles. They have a range of about 180 miles, fly close to the sea at Mach 2 to evade radar, and are usually armed with an armor-piercing or high-explosive warhead.

Syria’s arsenal of Yakhont missiles has raised anxieties in the Israeli Navy since the purchase from Russia. Israeli warships actually began testing the Barak 8 missile defense system in 2011, prior to Russia’s delivery of the weapons, specifically to defend against advanced anti-ship missiles like the Yakhont. Israel has been acutely concerned about the Yakhont missiles falling into the hands of Hezbollah, which has an established history of firing rockets across the border into Israel. Mostly these have been unguided rockets, like the short-range Katyushas and Iranian-made Fajr rockets that Hezbollah used in its 2006 conflict with Israel. The Yakhont missiles, though more suited to firing on vessels at sea than land-bound targets, would be a marked upgrade in the range and accuracy of Hezbollah’s arsenal. Placed near the Israeli northern border with Lebanon, the missiles’ range would extend nearly all the way across the country, past Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula. But beyond range, it’s the radar guidance that has IDF planners worried.

map Lebanon israel missile rangeWhich is why Israel has gone to great lengths to avoid them falling into the wrong hands. In 2013, Israel is believed to have conducted at least five airstrikes against Syrian weapons stockpiles that intelligence officials believed might be transferred to Hezbollah. Reports at the time suggested some of these attacks were targeting chemical weapons supplies, but theWall Stree Journal reported today that the strikes targeted Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles, Iranian-made rockets, and in July and October, Syria’s Yakhont missile arsenal.

According to U.S. officials, that didn’t do the job, and Syrian smugglers have passed the Yakhont missiles to their Hezbollah allies, component by component — as many as 12 missiles may now be in Lebanon. But they’re not operational, yet; the report suggests that Hezbollah does not have the means to launch the missiles.

The United States has warned Russia from time to time about its delivery of new weapons to Syria as the civil war has dragged on. Russia has consistently replied that they are fulfilling deals inked years ago — the arrangement for Syria to purchase the Yakhont missiles, as part of the larger Bastion coastal missile system, was signed in 2007. But, as U.S. officials have warned for months, the transfer of those missiles to Hezbollah constitutes a violation of the deal’s “end user agreement,” which stipulated that the weapons could not be given to any other country or group. If the intelligence that Syria has managed to smuggle 12 guided missiles into Lebanon is accurate, the Assad regime is now pretty flagrantly in violation of that agreement — but it’s unclear if there will be any immediate consequences for that.

FP

  • The real lebanese

    Not only is it a problem for Israel, its also a problem for Lebanon.

    • nagy_michael2

      That’s why some prophecies mentioned before that Israel will have hard time beating Hezbollah. Therefore Israel will resort to limited Nuclear strike.. Israel is going to be overwhelmed with rockets and many attacks. That’s the only way they will feel to quiet the Southern Border. I wish for it not to happen but with many monkeys having big guns like Hezbollah, Al Qaada and others.. there is no way that we can avoid any war with Israel.

      • The real lebanese

        I doubt Israel will resort to Nuclear warfare as nuclear debris would fly into Syria. However, i do think Israel next war will occupy south Lebanon and clear the streets from HA fighters. HA has never been one for street fights.

        • Peaceforleb

          Are you serious, Hezbollah only knows street fights. Real you need to get your facts right my friend. Hezbollah was able to hold off Israel in 2006 because it was a street fight. It wasn’t a country vs country. Why do you think they are so successful in Syria. Because its a street fight.

          • The real lebanese

            That wasn’t a street fight. It was a rocket show. I mean street fights like the Iraqi war or Syria. Remember 2008? Remember how embarrassing it was for them? I wouldnt consider them successful in Syria with the amount of dead bodies coming back (how many are they sending?). Their just lucky they outgun the rebels.

            By the way, I like your profile picture.

        • nagy_michael2

          Well Israel will only resort to Nuclear weapons when they exhausted all the efforts withouth eliminating hezbollah. If they can’t and if this time hezbollah wreak havoc on israeli towns and army. Then Israel at last resort will use nuclear strike. Israel in the end do not care about anybody’s opinion and will not be influenced by anyone one way or another. They will not care if the debris or anything hits syria.. Especially if it hits Al Nusra and extremists..This is not a joke Israel will strike with any means and Hezbollah better be very cautions about provoking Israel this time. But my hunch Israel want to try to surpise hezbollah on the pretext of any rockets strikes from Lebanon terrotories. However I do agree with Peaceforleb that hezbollah is more than experienced with street fightings and they might even the battle on this one. But I read that israelis troops have been training for such fighting.. but until you experience it live, then it all theories..

          • The real lebanese

            But nuclear debris will also fly into Israel. Border countries will never do nuclear warfare. Now Israel and Iran, thats another topic.

            As for the street fights, i wouldnt say they’re good. But they are gaining experience in Syria so we’ll have to see. I wonder if the Sunnis will stand by will their country is getting destroyed by Israel because of HA. 2 fronts for HA? Or will the Sunnis start after the Israeli war to avoid being seen working with Israelis? One of them will start soon. We’ll have to see.

  • The real lebanese

    Not only is it a problem for Israel, its also a problem for Lebanon.

    • nagy_michael2

      That’s why some prophecies mentioned before that Israel will have hard time beating Hezbollah. Therefore Israel will resort to limited Nuclear strike.. Israel is going to be overwhelmed with rockets and many attacks. That’s the only way they will feel to quiet the Southern Border. I wish for it not to happen but with many monkeys having big guns like Hezbollah, Al Qaada and others.. there is no way that we can avoid any war with Israel.

      • The real lebanese

        I doubt Israel will resort to Nuclear warfare as nuclear debris would fly into Syria. However, i do think Israel next war will occupy south Lebanon and clear the streets from HA fighters. HA has never been one for street fights.

        • Peaceforleb

          Are you serious, Hezbollah only knows street fights. Real you need to get your facts right my friend. Hezbollah was able to hold off Israel in 2006 because it was a street fight. It wasn’t a country vs country. Why do you think they are so successful in Syria. Because its a street fight.

          • The real lebanese

            That wasn’t a street fight. It was a rocket show. I mean street fights like the Iraqi war or Syria. Remember 2008? Remember how embarrassing it was for them? I wouldnt consider them successful in Syria with the amount of dead bodies coming back (how many are they sending?). Their just lucky they outgun the rebels.

            By the way, I like your profile picture.

        • nagy_michael2

          Well Israel will only resort to Nuclear weapons when they exhausted all the efforts withouth eliminating hezbollah. If they can’t and if this time hezbollah wreak havoc on israeli towns and army. Then Israel at last resort will use nuclear strike. Israel in the end do not care about anybody’s opinion and will not be influenced by anyone one way or another. They will not care if the debris or anything hits syria.. Especially if it hits Al Nusra and extremists..This is not a joke Israel will strike with any means and Hezbollah better be very cautions about provoking Israel this time. But my hunch Israel want to try to surpise hezbollah on the pretext of any rockets strikes from Lebanon terrotories. However I do agree with Peaceforleb that hezbollah is more than experienced with street fightings and they might even the battle on this one. But I read that israelis troops have been training for such fighting.. but until you experience it live, then it all theories..

          • The real lebanese

            But nuclear debris will also fly into Israel. Border countries will never do nuclear warfare. Now Israel and Iran, thats another topic.

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Any peace loving, self respecting, dignified and decent person would just pack up and leave this hell hole of a place. Leave it for the degenerates to perfect being a degenerate like they have been for over a thousand years. Nothing will sort this mess out but the return of Christ. All the talk and negotiations in the world won’t grace these people with wisdom required for peace to be achieved. Only thing that which makes it so sad is the poor people who are stuck in this pit of misery who haven’t the means to leave, God help them.

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    Any peace loving, self respecting, dignified and decent person would just pack up and leave this hell hole of a place. Leave it for the degenerates to perfect being a degenerate like they have been for over a thousand years. Nothing will sort this mess out but the return of Christ. All the talk and negotiations in the world won’t grace these people with wisdom required for peace to be achieved. Only thing that which makes it so sad is the poor people who are stuck in this pit of misery who haven’t the means to leave, God help them.

  • 5thDrawer

    Pretty bad when a map has to state that it is showing a theoretical spot as a start-point. :-)))

  • 5thDrawer

    Pretty bad when a map has to state that it is showing a theoretical spot as a start-point. :-)))