Reportage. Thousands of American and Israeli soldiers are training for a scenario in which Arab and Persian armies launch thousands of rockets at Israel. In Lebanon, Hezbollah fears these may be more than just exercises.

Hezbollah on alert amid US-Israeli ‘Juniper Cobra’ war games

The “Juniper Cobra” joint training exercises, in which thousands of American and Israeli soldiers are preparing to deal with the simultaneous launch of thousands of rockets against Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Iran and even Gaza, will continue until March 15.

This attack scenario is in fact more than likely—even though it would likely involve fewer countries and territories—if Israel were to launch its “preemptive strike” against Lebanon and the Shiite Hezbollah movement, which many are talking about these days.

Hezbollah, according to some in the Arab media, has supposedly put out a general alert in response to the alleged “green light” given by the Trump administration to the Netanyahu government’s plans for an attack on Lebanon. It is not easy to find an official confirmation for this. What is certain is that witnesses are reporting that in Dahiyeh and in other neighborhoods of the southern suburbs of Beirut, which are the stronghold of Hezbollah in the Lebanese capital, the number of checkpoints has increased and a growing tension is being felt. Other sources are speaking of security measures adopted in southern Lebanon near the border with Israel.

What is holding back the Israeli military plans, according to these rumors, is the risk that the Jewish state would find itself the target of a hail of rockets fired from Lebanon.

However, a Lebanese journalistic source told il manifesto that Hezbollah’s general alert “is not related to the fear of an impending surprise attack as much as it concerns the risk that Israeli spies have managed to infiltrate the area (controlled by the Shiite movement) in order to perform acts of sabotage.”

This source claims that “out of all the parties involved, Israel wants war the least, because it knows that Hezbollah’s response would be devastating and that it would have to fight along a frontline hundreds of kilometers long, which would also include Syria—not to mention the likely involvement of certain Iranian units stationed near Quneitra,” near Golan.

This might indeed be the case; however, in the meantime, the Israeli and American commanders are working on coordinating the Iron Dome, Patriot, David’s Sling and Arrow anti-missile defense systems.

“We’re learning a lot about how to improve the system and adjust it for future threats,” Lieutenant Colonel Kobi Regev, head of a David’s Sling unit, told the website Ynet. “Soldiers are required to operate weapons systems in a complex environment, as they see the enemy’s missiles bearing down on the neighborhood where they live.”

In turn, the US Army’s European Command has said that, if there is a need for them, US soldiers would arrive in Israel within two or three days. As part of the joint exercises, the US is also deploying the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima and the command ship USS Mount Whitney, as well as the Aegis anti-ballistic missile defense system and 25 aircraft.

Together with the military maneuvers in progress came the statements made earlier this week by Benyamin Netanyahu on his visit to Washington, where he met with Donald Trump. The Israeli prime minister insisted on the full support of the White House for Israel, particularly as concerns its aggressive stance against Iran and Hezbollah.

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