Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unusual trip to Brussels – the announcement in the morning and the flight in the afternoon to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – is an Israeli attempt to quickly utilize this diplomatic channel to deal with the increasing security problem in Lebanon. If this had been a meeting to coordinate positions before a military move, one assumes Netanyahu would have sent one of the security professionals (the Mossad chief, or the head of Military Intelligence) to speak with his American counterparts, and the meeting would not have been publicized.
But the prime minister has started the diplomatic clock. His trip signals to Iran, Lebanon and Hezbollah, through the Americans (and perhaps also the French), that there’s an urgent need to deal with the problem before Israel considers using military means.
For two years Israel has been warning about the construction of Iranian weapons factories in Lebanon. In September, in his address to the UN General Assembly, Netanyahu revealed the location of three such sites, in which Iran and Hezbollah are allegedly improving the precision of the Lebanese organization’s missile and rocket arsenal. It certainly may be that Israel is worried about other possible developments, such as Hezbollah moving its focus from Syria, where the civil war is waning, back to a confrontation with Israel in southern Lebanon.
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