Hezbollah strengthening, according to Israeli Defense Minister

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 File:Flag of Hezbollah.svg

Flag of Hezbollah
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told troops training in the Golan Heights that Hezbollah and Syria are strengthening and that the delicate balance that Israel has had with the Lebanese militant group since the end of the Second Lebanon War is threatened.

"The other side is getting stronger. It is not a coincidence that we are holding a large-scale intensive exercise here in the Golan," said Barak. "We're following closely the violations of the [regional] equilibrium by Hezbollah and Syria, and the strengthening beyond the fence."

Later, Barak told Israeli television that the Second Lebanon War "turned out into a major launching pad to upgrade Hezbollah's power." Barak also criticized the former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and the Israeli government for not acting wisely "by not responding to Hezbollah's growing capabilities/"

These statements follow a move by the Israeli Security Council, which last week decided to hold the Lebanese government responsible for any attacks that Hezbollah creates.