Hizbullah's Urban Missile Factories Put Lebanese Civilians at Risk

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Hanin Ghaddar and Matthew Levitt - Speaking at the UN General Assembly on Sep. 27, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu accused Hizbullah of building missile production sites in the Ouzai neighborhood of Beirut, placing Lebanese lives and property at tremendous risk. These underground facilities - located in the middle of an urban area - are intended to convert regular missiles into more accurate precision weapons, something that Israel cannot allow. After a relatively long period of quiet (2006-2018) along the Israel-Lebanon border, new businesses have proliferated in Shia strongholds such as the Beirut suburb of Dahiya and further south. Hotels, restaurants, and modern cafes have opened in every major town, with backing from Shia investors at home and abroad. In short, the Shia feel they have much more to lose today, so they have less tolerance for officials who talk of war with Israel. In light of this attitude change, publicly exposing Hizbullah's missile factories may be the most effective way of exploiting rifts within the group's base and, perhaps, making it think twice about building weapons inside Lebanon. Hanin Ghaddar is a Visiting Fellow at The Washington Institute, where Matthew Levitt is Director of the Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence.

2018-10-05 00:00:00

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