A dangerous development

From The Wall Street Journal:

Hezbollah Upgrades Missile Threat to Israel
Components Said to Have Already Been Moved to Lebanon from Syria

The Wall Street Journal, Friday, January 3, 2014

The Wall Street Journal, Friday, January 3, 2014

By Adam Entous, Charles Levinson and Julian E Barnes | Jan. 2, 2014 7:03 p.m. ET

U.S. officials believe members of Hezbollah, the militant group backed by Iran, are smuggling advanced guided-missile systems into Lebanon from Syria piece by piece to evade a secretive Israeli air campaign designed to stop them.

The moves illustrate how both Hezbollah and Israel are using Syria’s civil war as cover for what increasingly is seen as a complex and high-stakes race to prepare for another potential conflict—their own—in ways that could alter the region’s military balance.

Some components of a powerful antiship missile system have already been moved to Lebanon, according to previously undisclosed intelligence, while other systems that could target Israeli aircraft, ships and bases are being stored in expanded weapons depots under Hezbollah control in Syria, say current and former U.S. officials.

Such guided weapons would be a major step up from the “dumb” rockets and missiles Hezbollah now has stockpiled, and could sharply increase the group’s ability to deter Israel in any potential new battle, officials say.

More at the link.

Israel has already struck at some Hezbollah weapons shipments, with mixed success. For now:

Israeli officials say they are content for now to watch enemies No. 1 and No. 2 — Hezbollah and Iran on one side, al Qaeda on the other — kill each other next door.

As we all should be! But Israel is very concerned about any new weaponry going to Hezbollah, and:

Israeli leaders made clear early on in the Syrian conflict that any transfers of advanced missile systems or chemical arms to its enemies would cross Israel’s “red line.”

As long as the Syrian civil war keeps Hezbollah too busy to attack Israel, there should be peace along Israel’s northern border, but the Israelis are very good at maintaining vigilance.

In other news from Israel:

IDF appoints first female battalion commander
Maj. Oshrat Bachar will be promoted to rank of Lieut.-Col and will head Eitam battalion, tasked with monitoring terror in Sinai Peninsula.
By Yaakov Lappin | 01/02/2014 16:18

IDF battalion commander Maj. Oshrat Bachar. Photo: IDF Archives

The IDF has appointed its first female battalion commander, Maj. Oshrat Bachar, who will head a Combat Intelligence unit in the Southern Command along the border with Egypt.

Maj. Bachar will be promoted to the rank of Lieut.-Col, and will take charge of a battalion named Eitam, tasked with monitoring hostile terrorist activity in the Sinai Peninsula. She began her military career as a lookout soldier in the Combat Intelligence Corps, and went on to become a company commander in the field. From there, she became an instructor at the IDFs Combat Intelligence School, before serving as a department head in the office of the advisor on to the chief of staff on womens’ affairs.

Maj. Bachar is currently completing a course on command and special staff at Glilot, and will then go on to begin a battalion commander’s course.

A bit more at the link. Her husband, Maj. Ohad Bachar, also has the goal of becoming a battalion commander; looks like his wife beat him to it!