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Hizbullah mouthpiece presents “Israel’s Options in the Face of the Resistance”

By Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira
web posted July 17, 2017

The Al-Akhbar newspaper, published in Beirut, Lebanon, is the unofficial mouthpiece of Hizbullah. Its editor, Ibrahim al-Amin, often expresses the views of Hizbullah’s secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah. In an article dated July 3, 2017, al-Amin analyzed Israel’s military options against Hizbullah. Due to the importance of the author, we decided to publish this essay as translated. Unfortunately, with global attention focused on ISIS, Hizbullah does not receive the attention it deserves as a military power capable of undermining the stability of the Middle East.

Editor Ibrahim al-Amin:

Israel’s priorities have not changed since its establishment. Its central concern is maintaining its security. Over the last two decades, Israel was compelled to introduce essential changes in its security and military strategy. For instance, Israel introduced the concept of defensive programs which require a different approach in dealing with the public and introducing preemptive measures.

The enemy [Israel] speaks about the calm that prevails with Lebanon, and at the same time, Israel reports every day on the rising power of Hizbullah. What Israel has done in the last decade does not transcend a few successful military and security operations. Some actions dealt Hizbullah some harsh blows, but they were not enough to imperil the Resistance’s [Hizbullah] capacity to continue to grow and empower itself.

All this was true before the developments that occurred in Syria and Iraq.

Suffice it for an observer in Tel Aviv to analyze the dimension of changes after six years of open warfare in Syria and Iraq for him to realize that the course of events went in the wrong direction. Hizbullah has become the main power in more than one country. In Syria, Hizbullah has become the ally of the Syrian army in waging its battles, while in Iraq Hizbullah’s experts are present in the biggest operations rooms. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah serves as the commander of the Al-Hash Al-Sha’bi [the popular mobilization units] in Iraq and as the nexus in running the political relations between most of the political forces there. In Yemen, Hizbullah has become a direct partner in strengthening the military capabilities of the Houthi Ansarullah who consider Hizbullah to be their truthful ally. As for Palestine, and in spite of recent developments, the religious organizations [such as Islamic Jihad and Hamas] refer to Hizbullah in Beirut to coordinate their activities, while the rulers of Saudi Arabia behave as if Nasrallah represents hundreds of thousands of fighters who listen to the Hizbullah leader’s words.

Hizbullah retains the real veto power in conducting strategic affairs in Lebanon, and there is no opposition that can threaten it. As a result, the opponents remain silent and refrain from any action.

It is a well-known fact that all international intelligence agencies are trying to assess the growing power of Hizbullah which has given valuable information to the Lebanese security agencies, thus preventing dozens and maybe hundreds of terrorist acts.

Over the last decade, Hizbullah lost about 2,000 fighters [martyrs] between the Lebanese war of 2006 and the war in Iraq and Syria. However, Hizbullah has been successful in recruiting many thousands of new fighters. Hizbullah has not limited itself to developing its military and security infrastructures. In fact, it has tested dozens of theoretical military approaches which enabled it to obtain unprecedented expertise unknown [to Hizbullah] in the past, including desert warfare which Hizbullah is conducting in the eastern deserts of Syria and western deserts of Iraq. More important is the fact that arsenals of big armies have opened their gates to Hizbullah and allowed it to arm itself with whatever was needed. The equipment can be utilized in the preparation and readiness in case of an imminent war with Israel or to use in battles waged on more than one front.

How are things going to develop now that there is a clear connection between the Lebanese, Syrian, Iraqi and Iranian arenas? We are not dealing only with the military activity but with activities related to strategic and economic matters.

Bearing all the above in mind, is it possible that Israel can directly confront Hizbullah in Lebanon while it is fully aware that it doesn’t control what will happen the day after the beginning of hostilities. Israel perfectly knows that all the drills and maneuvers undertaken to protect the domestic front will be of no use in controlling traffic in the area of Gush Dan [central coastal area of Israel] hours after the beginning of a total confrontation? Will the leaders of Israel be candid enough to tell their public what will be the fate of the electric grid, transportation networks, airports, sea ports, state headquarters and its infrastructure? Does the enemy really grasp “the rain of rockets” that will fall in the midst of summer?

What can Israel do in Syria except wait for a renewed American attempt to impose facts on the ground which will force Russia and Iran to draw new red lines that meet Israel’s interests? Even if this were to happen, who can say that this will influence the Resistance and its course of action? Is Israel aware that with each day that passes without a war it will be losing more of its deterrence while the Resistance will continue its expansion? In any case, Israel is tied to American efforts. With this background, it is interesting to note the declarations published by the enemy [Israel] and by its supporters, Western and Arab, relating to big changes that will occur in the region as a result of what is happening in the Gulf. In any case, it is important to remember that since the first Gulf War until today, the Resistance Axis [meaning Iran and its satellites] did not initiate any action in the Arabian Peninsula, even in Yemen. The Axis waged a defensive war only. However, if a decision is made to change course and wage an offensive war, then one could expect only one thing from the enemy: the choice of collective suicide. ESR

Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira is a senior research associate at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He served as Military Secretary to the Prime Minister and as Israel Foreign Ministry chief of staff. He edited the Jerusalem Center eBook Iran: From Regional Challenge to Global Threat.

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