Posted tagged ‘Hezbollah vs Israel’

Trump is serious about slashing aid to Palestinians and Hizballah-dominated Lebanon

January 4, 2018

Trump is serious about slashing aid to Palestinians and Hizballah-dominated Lebanon, DEBKAfile, January 4, 2017

In view of the Trump administration Middle East policies, which meet Israel’s most vital security concerns, the attitude adopted towards Hamas by Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott is incomprehensible. At a time that Washington is clamping down hard on Iran’s anti-Israel friends, pawns and proxies in the Middle East, Israel’s own security leaders are talking quietly to Hamas. They believe they can coax the leaders of this Iranian-funded terrorist organization into stopping the rocket and mortar fire from Gaza which beset Israel almost daily. Still worse, they are using as their main intermediaries local UNRWA officers, who are notoriously antagonistic to Israel and represent a UN body targeted by the Trump administration for the cutoff of aid. They are assisted by a UN Middle East envoy, Nikolay Mladenov of Bulgarian.

These talks have achieved very little. Hamas has only consented to its own operatives refraining from firing the rockets, but shuts both eyes when fellow terrorist factions keep the rockets coming, so long as they are kept to a “moderate” trickle. Given these contacts with Hamas, it is hard for Israel to raise an outcry when a Palestinian Authority official gets together with its arch-foe, Hassan Nasrallah. Meanwhile, “moderate” rocket fire is a continuous bane for hundreds of thousands of Israelis who are trying to live normal lives.

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Palestinian leaders in Ramallah were wrong to assume that President Donald Trump does not seriously mean to cut off US aid. He meant exactly what he said when he tweeted on Wednesday, Jan. 3: …we pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue… peace treaty with Israel. We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more.” He then asked rhetorically: “But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

DEBKAfile points out that, in the first place, Donald Trump is always serious when he discusses money, and, in the second, he is ready to wield the axe on US aid programs,  not just for Ramallah (and Pakistan), but across the Middle East. Nations and organizations even slightly tainted with Iranian influence are especially targeted.

Hizballah’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah was fast on the uptake. In a speech on Wednesday night, he stressed that Iran and his own organization were financing the Palestinian struggle over Jerusalem. He disclosed a recent meeting he had in Beirut with Azzam Al-Ahmed of Fatah, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ special emissary for negotiations with Hamas.
In his speech, he made four points which represented Tehran’s reply to Trump:

  1. The Palestinians need not worry. They can rely on Iran and Hizballah to make up the funding shortfall resulting from the cutoff of US aid.
  2. The Fatah-Hamas reconciliation talks brokered by Egypt depend above all on Hizballah’s say-so for a Hamas decision.
  3. Even Abbas is forced to accept this, which is why he had no choice but to send a representative of his Fatah party for a secret meeting with the Hizballah leader. Since Hamas’ deputy chief, Salah Arouri, had already spent time with Nasrallah before traveling to Tehran, Abbas had decided he had better place his party and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah on an equal footing with Hams vis-a-vis Tehran.
  4. Just as Iran and Hizballah are bankrolling Hamas and Jihad Islami for fighting Israel from the Gaza Strip, they are also backing the Palestinian struggle for Jerusalem. This cuts Jordan out of the picture. Whether or not this is the truth, Nasrallah’s rhetoric made an impression on Palestinian and wider Arab opinion.

Until recently, some US administration officials were certain they had managed to extract Lebanese President Michel Aoun and the Lebanese army from the Iranian-Hizballah orbit. Trump was not sold on this and acted to neutralize this assumption. He inserted Andrew L. Peek into the State Department as deputy assistant secretary of state covering Iran and Iraq. Peek, who has no diplomatic record, comes from US military intelligence, a world which never shared the State Department’s patience with Iran and Hizballah. His appointment quickly touched off an administration reassessment of the US economic and military aid program for Lebanon. It was coupled with a recommendation of political action to head off a pact between President Aoun and Nasrallah, which could give this pro-Iranian duo a majority in parliament in Lebanon’s next election. It was also decided to discontinue US support for the Lebanese army in view of its domination by Hizballah.

President Trump is contemplating similar steps in Baghdad for curtailing Iranian domination of Iraq’s political leadership.

In view of the Trump administration Middle East policies, which meet Israel’s most vital security concerns, the attitude adopted towards Hamas by Israel’s defense minister Avigdor Lieberman and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gady Eisenkott is incomprehensible. At a time that Washington is clamping down hard on Iran’s anti-Israel friends, pawns and proxies in the Middle East, Israel’s own security leaders are talking quietly to Hamas. They believe they can coax the leaders of this Iranian-funded terrorist organization into stopping the rocket and mortar fire from Gaza which beset Israel almost daily. Still worse, they are using as their main intermediaries local UNRWA officers, who are notoriously antagonistic to Israel and represent a UN body targeted by the Trump administration for the cutoff of aid. They are assisted by a UN Middle East envoy, Nikolay Mladenov of Bulgarian.

These talks have achieved very little. Hamas has only consented to its own operatives refraining from firing the rockets, but shuts both eyes when fellow terrorist factions keep the rockets coming, so long as they are kept to a “moderate” trickle. Given these contacts with Hamas, it is hard for Israel to raise an outcry when a Palestinian Authority official gets together with its arch-foe, Hassan Nasrallah. Meanwhile, “moderate” rocket fire is a continuous bane for hundreds of thousands of Israelis who are trying to live normal lives.

New Report Calls Hezbollah World’s “Most Powerful” Terrorist Organization on the Planet

November 2, 2017

New Report Calls Hezbollah World’s “Most Powerful” Terrorist Organization on the Planet, Iran News Update, November 1, 2017

INU -A report released this week by a group of former senior military officials and diplomats, many of them from NATO member states, concluded that Hezbollah, The Shia terrorist movement in Lebanon that is affiliated with Iran, has become the “most powerful non-state armed force on the planet.”

Members of the independent High-Level Military Group (HLMG) include Iraq war veteran US Lt. General Michael D. Barbero, General Klaus Dieter Neumann, former commander of the German armed forces, Lord Richard Dannatt, former commander of the British armed forces, and Lt. General Kamal Davar, the former head of India’s Defense Intelligence Agency. Their report asserted that Hezbollah now represents “a threat that few countries, much less sub-state organizations, on the globe can mount.”

The report warns that war with Israel is “inevitable,” and warned that it is certain to be “more violent and destructive” than previous conflicts. It has been reported that Hezbollah has been withdrawing its forces from Syria in recent weeks, and transferring them toward Israel’s borders on the Golan Heights.

“Israeli intelligence estimates put the number of projectiles in Hezbollah’s possession today at well over 100,000,” the report, titled “Hezbollah’s Terror Army: How To Prevent A Third Lebanon War,” said. “The majority of these are short-range rockets, but thousands have a much larger range, up to 150 miles and more.”

HLMG’s report points out that Hezbollah’s participation in the defense of the Iranian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad improved the organization’s “ability to maneuver and carry out relatively large-scale ground attacks at the scale of company or battalion level.”

Further, the report emphasized that Iran played a decisive role in strengthening Hezbollah’s capabilities. “The upgrade in Hezbollah capabilities is one discernible result of Iran and Hezbollah’s ongoing project to equip the latter with more accurate longer-range missiles, so as to be able to more effectively menace Israel,” it said, and continued, “Hezbollah embeds its military assets among the Lebanese civilians it claims to protect, holds Lebanese politics and questions of war and peace hostage to its Iranian-led regional military imperatives, and has infiltrated Lebanese state organs, including the army, to utilize them for its aims.”

However, the report explained that “the international environment has changed since the previous war, and a defensive assault on Hezbollah, a terror organization now strongly associated with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, will generate full support not only from the United States, but likely also from other Western countries, in addition to tacit but increasing support from the Sunni Arab world.”

The report concluded by saying, “Hezbollah’s strategic concept, coupled to the gains Iran has made regionally … mean that Israeli decision makers are firm in the belief that they will have to respond with overwhelming force and at great speed to any escalation forced upon them.”

The aggressor becomes the deterred

September 17, 2017

The aggressor becomes the deterred, Israel Hayom, Prof. Eyal Zisser, September 17, 2017

[D]eputy Hezbollah leader Naim Qassem took pains to assuage the terrorist organization’s alarmed supporters, telling them that Israel was not interested in war. Furthermore, in a calming message directed at Israel, he added that despite the recent airstrike in Syria (attributed to Israel) – which, if true, is a direct blow to Hezbollah’s exposed underbelly – the organization was not looking to retaliate or go to war either. This marks a significant shift in tone for Hezbollah, which has customarily opted for menacing intimidation against Israel, in the knowledge that its threats would fall on open and mainly concerned ears.

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The massive exercise conducted by the IDF’s Northern Corps along the Lebanese front, which concluded last week, indicates a revolutionary new thinking within the military that we can only hope will spill over into minds of the country’s political leaders. Unlike in the past, the IDF is not looking to merely deter the enemy; it isn’t seeking to change the reality along the border in some unclear, amorphous way. This time the IDF wants a decisive victory.

One example of this refreshing new approach can be found in the series of interviews given by senior IDF officers on the eve of the exercise and upon its conclusion. First in line was outgoing Israeli Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, who said Israel had restored the first-strike capabilities that had led it to victory in the 1967 Six-Day War. Eshel also touted the IAF’s increased firepower, which in one day of fighting allows it to hit and destroy the same scope of targets that required 34 days of fighting in the summer of 2016.

Other IDF officers emphasized that this time around, rather than settle for passive defense, the army focused its training on attacking Hezbollah, and its host, Lebanon.

Another shift could be seen in the military’s policy of containment, which now comes with clear caveats. As one senior official said: “We won’t play a game of tit-for-tat anymore. If Israeli sovereignty is violated, even once, and Israelis are hurt, the response will be decisive, powerful and cunning.”

If the reactions out of Lebanon are any indication, the drill has already met one of its objectives. Hezbollah apparently received the message and rushed to uncharacteristically deliver calming messages, clearly indicating that it fears a future war with Israel. Hezbollah knows that a future war will exact a far heavier toll on them than on Israel.

Thus, for instance, deputy Hezbollah leader Naim Qassem took pains to assuage the terrorist organization’s alarmed supporters, telling them that Israel was not interested in war. Furthermore, in a calming message directed at Israel, he added that despite the recent airstrike in Syria (attributed to Israel) – which, if true, is a direct blow to Hezbollah’s exposed underbelly – the organization was not looking to retaliate or go to war either. This marks a significant shift in tone for Hezbollah, which has customarily opted for menacing intimidation against Israel, in the knowledge that its threats would fall on open and mainly concerned ears.

Over the years, Hezbollah has engaged in effective psychological warfare against Israel. It has managed to convince the country’s leaders that in a conflict, the damage to Israel would greatly outweigh the damage to Hezbollah and its supporters, and that therefore it should be wary of taking steps toward all-out war. The organization’s success also stemmed heavily from its willingness to take things to the brink and remain there, unlike Israel, which prefers to keep a safe distance. This was merely a form of psychological warfare with very little to back it up, and yet in the battle over minds and perception, Hezbollah consistently gave Israel a run for its money.

Now, however, the tables have turned. The IDF drill changed the discourse and the rules of the game. Hezbollah, formerly the agent of deterrence, is now the deterred; previously eager for battle, it is now pleading for Israel to stand down; the organization that used to regularly threaten Israelis is now preoccupied with allaying the fears of its supporters in Lebanon.

But in the end, wars never erupt in the Middle East because somebody really wants them to. They usually start because of lack of thought or an error in judgment. This, too, must be kept in mind in the wake of Or Hadagan, the code name given to the IDF’s exercise in the north.

Syrian/Hizballah troops cross Euphrates to east

September 16, 2017

Syrian/Hizballah troops cross Euphrates to east, DEBKAfile, September 16, 2017

It is worth noting in this regard that, in recent weeks, Israel’s generals and colonels have suddenly dropped references in their discourse to Iran and Hizballah as existential threats.

This may be the time to remind them of an unfortunate precedent. In the months leading up to the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Israel’s leaders brushed aside the Egyptian and Syrian armies as threats to the state’s survival –  only to find defeat at their hands staring the IDF in the face in the early days of that war.

No less dangerous would be a war fought by the Syrian army, Hizballah and Iran, with powerful Russian military support. By establishing a foothold on both banks of the Euphrates River and both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border, Iran has taken a step towards pursuing its avowed goal of Israel’s destruction.

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Shortly after the US-led coalition threatened to strike any Syrian Arab Army units if they crossed the Euphrates River, Syrian and Hizballah troops were marching across imported Russian pontoon bridges to reach the river’s eastern bank. By Friday, Sept. 15 they were able to establish a bridgehead there.

The attached photo shows the pontoons being lifted and set in place in a manner which recalls the method by which the IDF  was able to cross the Suez Canal for a landing in Egypt towards the end of the 1973 war.

Throughout the three-day operation, the Syrians and Hizballah worked under the cover of more newly-arrived Russian armaments, the MiG-29SMT (Nato-codenamed “Fulcrum),  whose landing in Syria was announced on Wednesday. This twin-engine jet fighter aircraft is a match for the F-18 in service with the US Air Force as well as the Israeli Air force’s F-15, F-16 and F-16 fighters.

The day the MiG-29s arrived in Syria, British Maj. Gen. Rupert Jones, Deputy Commander in Chief of the US-led Coalition in Syria, threatened to strike any units of the SAA if they crossed the Euphrates River.

The crossing operation, as well as deepening Russia’s military involvement in Syrian and Hizballah offensives, is a major boost for Iran’s objectives, with grave strategic implications for the US and Israel.

1. For the Trump administration, it trampled the principle Presidents Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin established exactly two years ago, i.e., for eastern Syrian across the Euphrates to be assigned to American military control and the west to the Russians.

2.  US satellites and reconnaissance planes watched the Russian army trucking the pontoons east and saw them being thrown over the river for the crossing. Nonetheless, no orders came from the White House or the Pentagon to make good on the coalition’s threat of a strike and to interfere.

3. Established on the east bank of the Euphrates, Syrian and Hizballah troops are in position to go forward for the operation to capture the Syrian-Iraqi border town of Abu Kamal from ISIS. They have moreover opened the way to link up with the Iraqi Population Mobilization Units (PMU), a surrogate of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

4. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that PMU units are already heading for this rendezvous on the Iraqi-Syrian border. This step is tantamount to opening up an Iranian-controlled military corridor between Iraq and Syria by cutting deep into the US-ruled region of eastern Syria.

5.  As recently as Thursday night, Sept. 14, President Donald Trump declared: “We are not going to stand for what they [Iran] are doing “

6.  The US president was not alone in refraining from lifting a finger to stop “what they are doing.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu likewise chose words over deeds. “Israel would not tolerate an Iranian presence on its northern border with Syria,” he reiterated Friday, Sept. 14, on his arrival in New York to address the UN General Assembly and meet Donald Trump.

But already Iran and its pawns were creating an accomplished fact, with massive logistical and military assistance from the Russian army.

It is worth noting in this regard that, in recent weeks, Israel’s generals and colonels have suddenly dropped references in their discourse to Iran and Hizballah as existential threats.

This may be the time to remind them of an unfortunate precedent. In the months leading up to the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Israel’s leaders brushed aside the Egyptian and Syrian armies as threats to the state’s survival –  only to find defeat at their hands staring the IDF in the face in the early days of that war.
No less dangerous would be a war fought by the Syrian army, Hizballah and Iran, with powerful Russian military support. By establishing a foothold on both banks of the Euphrates River and both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border, Iran has taken a step towards pursuing its avowed goal of Israel’s destruction.

Iran/Hizballah noose tightens around Israel

September 1, 2017

Iran/Hizballah noose tightens around Israel, DEBKAfile, September 1, 2017

Seen from the strategic-military angle, Israel can be said to have regressed 11 years to 2006, when two foes were poised menacingly on its northern and southern borders. Israel was then compelled to fight a war against Hizballah in Lebanon. This time, the conflict could potentially flare up simultaneously on three fronts – Lebanon, Gaza and Syria.

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Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN, challenged the international community to hold Iran to account on Thursday, Aug. 31, after the Islamic Republic showed its “true colors” by restoring its ties with the Palestinian extremist Hamas. In her statement, she described as “stunning” the Hamas leader’s boast that Tehran is again the biggest provider of money and arms. The breach between them followed the terrorist group’s refusal to side with Bashar Assad in the Syrian civil war.

“Iran must decide whether it wants to be a member of the community of nations that can be expected to take its international obligations seriously, or whether it wants to be the leader of a jihadist terrorist movement. It cannot be both,” Haley said in her statement.

Islamic Iran has long made that decision, as the ambassador knows very well from the intelligence reports she sees. But her brave words were meant as a wakeup call for the rapid advances made by Iran and Hizballah during August to impose their will on the Middle East, often with great stealth.

Haley will have learned about the Aug. 2 meeting in Beirut between Hamas’s military chief Salah al-Arouri and Iranian officials, following which Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah confirmed that the Palestinian rulers of the Gaza Strip were worthy of restored military and financial aid.

That deal was clinched at the highest level in Tehran, after Arouri and a delegation from Gaza were received by top Iranian officials, including Revolutionary Guards General Qassem Soleimani. He is not only commander of Iran’s Middle East warfronts, but also head of Al Qods, which runs Iran’s intelligence, subversion and terror networks.

These events and their ramifications were itemized in the latest issue of DEBKA Weekly, out Friday, Sept. 1.

It was Soleimani who assigned Hamas and its military arm with its next tasks. Since both parties are dedicated to violent tactics (terror) to achieve their ends, one of which is the destruction of the State of Israel, all that remains to be seen is the precise form the Iranian-backed Hamas-Hizballah partnership will take – and where. Those practicalities were aired at the secret sessions between Hamas and Al Qods in Tehran

Present at some of those sessions were also Soleimani’s secret agents and heads of the terrorist networks he runs across the Middle East and in the Gulf emirates.

The inauguration ceremony for Hassan Rouhani’s second term as Iran’s president on Aug. 5 provided a convenient cover for these get-togethers.

Nikki Haley’s warning to the international community was prompted by these dangerous events. Although her words were powerful, telling and timely, it is hard to see any sign of their being followed up by other parts of the Trump administration.

With the southern front against Israel in the bag, Iran and Hizballah this week put together its northern front, just two or three kilometers from Israel’s Golan border with Syria. This could not have happened without the Trump administration submitting to Russia’s demand to revise their de-escalation zone project for the Syrian Golan, so that Iranian and Hizballah forces are no longer required to distance themselves 40-50km from the zone, but only 8km.

Iran and Hizballah in Syria have in consequence been quietly shortening their distance from the Israeli border. But this week, they made a major leap forward, when the Russian monitors brought a group of Iranian and Hizballah officers all the way to Quneitra. There, they were given a base under Russian protection within sight of the Israeli Golan.

Tehran and its pawn therefore used the month of August to climb into position for drawing a noose around Israel and tightening it at will.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this week boasted that his tenure was marked by relative calm. Israel, he said, had successfully avoided getting embroiled in any major war.

That is correct. However, his policy of preserving the calm and maintaining a purely defensive stance has carried a price. That price was totted up on Sept. 1. By then, Iran and Iran had been able to move unopposed into position on Israel’s borders with Syria and Lebanon in the north and had crept up to the Gaza border in the south.

Seen from the strategic-military angle, Israel can be said to have regressed 11 years to 2006, when two foes were poised menacingly on its northern and southern borders. Israel was then compelled to fight a war against Hizballah in Lebanon. This time, the conflict could potentially flare up simultaneously on three fronts – Lebanon, Gaza and Syria.

Israel’s red lines in Syria long crossed by Iran

August 24, 2017

Israel’s red lines in Syria long crossed by Iran, DEBKAfile, August 23, 2017

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set out for President Vladimir Putin Israel’s red lines against Iran establishing a permanent, expanded military presence in Syria. This theme dominated their three-hour conversation in Sochi on Wednesday, Aug. 23. Netanyahu stiffened his warning with a veiled threat that should Iran or Hizballah cross those lines, there would be a regional war.

It was the first time that the prime minister had publicly threatened to go to war against Iran and Hizballah. After talking to Putin, he said to reporters that what is new today is Iran’s attempt to “Lebanonize Syria.” in the same way as it seized control of Lebanon through its surrogate, Hizballah. “We are looking at Tehran’s future takeover of Syria through its Shiite militias.

If that happens, “we will not remain passive,” he said – nor if Syria becomes a link in Iran’s overland corridor via Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. And we certainly can’t accept Iranians and Hizballah close to the Golan.

“We told President Putin plainly that we won’t put up with Iran using Syria as a military base for attacking Israel.

Putin, in the part of the meeting to which reporters had access, did not address Netanyahu’s remarks about Iran’s role in Syria, nor his warning of unilateral military action. The Russian president just repeated the standard Moscow line that foreign forces would not stay in Syria at the end of the war, but offered no timetable or guarantees.

The Russian leader would clearly prefer not to see an Israel war against Iran and Hizballah breaking out in Syria, DEBKAfile’s sources say, especially since Russian special forces, naval and air force contingents are deployed there – albeit not in large numbers.

At the same time, he may well find Netanyahu’s strong words useful for boosting Russia’s clout in Syria. If Tehran believes an Israeli war against its forces and Hizballah is potential, it will be in Iran’s interest to strengthen its military ties with Russia so as to gain its military and political backing.

For Putin, this would be a welcome change from the atmosphere of acrimony prevailing for some weeks between Iranian and Russian officers in Syria. Russian colonels have been posted at the most sensitive sectors in Syria, such as Aleppo, Hama, Homs and eastern Damascus. They are taking over both the military and civilian administration there and, in effect, shouldering the Iranian officers aside.

In Iraq, the Iranians seized control of the country from within, by setting up armed militias and getting them integrated in the national army, as Trojan horses. Tehran knows how to manage this ruse on the quiet, without drawing unwanted attention from the powers on the spot.

In Syria, the problem facing Israel is quite different. If Netanyahu shared sensitive intelligence with Putin that he had not known before, he can’t help noticing that Israel’s red lines for Iran’s expansion were crossed months ago, some of them with Russian assistance.

Four instances stand out:

1. Iran and Hizballah have already set up a chain of military bases in Syria – notably in the Qalamoun Mountains on the Syrian-Lebanese border, from which missiles can be launched against Israel.

2. Iran has already won its coveted land bridge through Iraq to Syria. Bashar Assad’s army has taken over whole sections of the Syrian-Iraqi border, and opened the door for pro-Iranian Shiite militias, Hizballah and Iraqi Shiite groups to move into strategic positions on both sides of the border.

3.  Netanyahu warned of the danger of planting an extremist Shiite entity in the heart of the Sunni Muslim region. But this is already underway. On orders from Moscow, the Syrian army’s 5th Corps is in the process of absorbing the pro-Iranian Shiite militias which fought for Assad.

The prime minister did not inform Putin of any timetable for Israeli action. But the Russian leader will take it for granted that the Israeli army will not move into Syria without a nod from the Trump administration in Washington.

For now, Putin and Trump are synchronizing their operations in Syria with better results than Netanyahu’s understanding with the US administration.

Hezbollah Sure Sounds Like it’s Afraid of an Israeli Attack

April 21, 2017

Hezbollah Sure Sounds Like it’s Afraid of an Israeli Attack, Front Page Magazine (The Point), Daniel Greenfield, April 21, 2017

Hezbollah has been bleeding rather badly in Syria. And the casualties are bad enough that many of its Jihadists don’t want to report for duty. Hezbollah has a paper force. People are listed who won’t actually fight. Because their opponents aren’t going to be afraid of their human shields or will pull back when the UN and the State Department barks. 

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You don’t have to be a great student of human psychology to pick up on it.

A Hezbollah commander on Thursday guided a group of journalists on a tour of the Israel-Lebanon border, according to media reports.

“We’re not afraid of war,” Israel’s Channel 2 quoted him as saying. “The enemy understands this. We are firm in our positions…We will not hesitate to go to war and are even expecting it. We will fight when we are compelled to and we will win.”

We’re not afraid to fight! And we won’t hesitate to fight… if we have to fight. So you better not fight us because we’re not at all afraid to fight you. Really. And it would be foolish of you to fight us.

 Israel has been deterred by Hezbollah and it would be “foolish and reckless” for the Jewish state to launch a military campaign on its northern border, the Lebanese terror group’s deputy leader claimed on Thursday.

Qassem also expressed confidence regarding the terror organization’s readiness and capabilities in any future conflict with Israel, saying, “The level of Hezbollah’s readiness enables it to withstand any possible war, both numerically and in terms of means and goals.”

Sure.

Hezbollah has been bleeding rather badly in Syria. And the casualties are bad enough that many of its Jihadists don’t want to report for duty. Hezbollah has a paper force. People are listed who won’t actually fight. Because their opponents aren’t going to be afraid of their human shields or will pull back when the UN and the State Department barks.

Fighting fellow Islamic terrorists is much less fun than fighting Israel. But Hezbollah’s manpower is badly overextended in an Islamic civil war against enemies as cruel and treacherous as themselves.