On Thursday, Israel declassified a map showing 1,000 underground Hezbollah bunkers and weapons storage sites littering 270 civilian villages in south Lebanon. The map literally illustrates Israel’s frustration with the failure of UN Resolution 1701, which put UN forces on the ground in southern Lebanon to stop weapons smuggling to Hezbollah at the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
Instead, according to Israel, Hezbollah’s missile strength is far greater than what it was before the war with an arsenal of rockets estimated to number over 40,000 – a significant rise from the 14,000 rockets the terrorist group held in 2006. Also since the end of the war, according to Israeli intelligence, Hezbollah has built as many as 550 bunkers to store various weapons, as well as 300 underground facilities and 100 storage units for munitions. Many of these centers are located near hospitals, homes, and schools.
A senior Israeli commander told the Washington Post that Israel released the map “to show the world that the Hezbollah organization has turned these villages into fighting zones.” In response to the report, the U.S. State Department said: “Our concern about Hezbollah’s activities, including in south Lebanon, is well known. It is logical that Israel shares this concern.”
Hezbollah’s activities increase the likelihood of conflict with Israel. UN failure to prevent the rearming of the terrorist organization is unfortunate for those in Lebanon who seek peace and stability. While U.S. policymakers focus on North Africa, it would behoove them to keep an eye on the Levant, where Lebanon appears to be becoming a state ruled by terrorists supported by the Syrian Asad regime next door.