HEZBOLLAH – CAPABILITIES AND ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST (FULL DOCUMENTARY)

South Front

Hezbollah is a social and political movement with a strong armed wing. It was formed in 1980s. Hezbollah’s creation was conditioned by the aspiration of the Shia population of Lebanon to meet the challenges of Israeli expansion and Western “new-style” colonialism.

The Hezbollah (“Party of God”) movement was formed in 1982 in Lebanon by a segment of the Shia community displeased with the secular, in their view, nature of the Amal moderate Shia party. There were also disagreements concerning whether Israel should be confronted using new organizational forms and methods of warfare. According to its General Secretary Hasan Nasrallah, since its formation, Hezbollah was a purely intra-Lebanese creation, relying on the support and aid from the Palestinian and Lebanese parties, while the support from Iran and Syria came later.

Since the very beginning, Hezbollah’s activities have been based on three principles. First, Islam is declared an ideological, doctrinal, and practical basis for the organization’s functions. Secondly, its main aim is the struggle against Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Palestine and against Zionist domination. Third, it recognizes the Iranian Shia thesis concerning the necessity of Vilayat-e-Fakih. This Shia doctrine asserts that during the era of the 12thGreat Reappearance of Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi the leadership over the Shia is transferred to high-ranking Shia clerics.

Structure and Decision Making

Hezbollah, as an organization, has a structure based on certain ideological principles and exists within the framework of a state, that has no actual influence on the movement’s activities. The party is led by the Shura Council consisting of 7 members (six spiritual leaders—ulemas—and one secular leader). The members are elected by the Central Council (Al-Majlis al-Markazis), consisting of the 200 most authoritative members of the movement. Shura Council elections consist of three phases. The first is the candidate selection (usually 70-80), both clerics and secular individuals who satisfy the criteria set by the top leaders. Those who pass this stage have the right to participate in the second stage. In other words, they become candidates for the Shura Council. As a rule, 10-15 people make it to the second round. The final phase consists of the direct election of the 7 Shura Council members.

Council decisions are final and religiously binding for all party members. They are adopted either unanimously or by the majority of votes. If there is a deadlock or a split within Shura Council, issues are decided by the party leader, whose decisions are final and obligatory on all administrative institutions, and cannot be challenged. This is how the principle of Vilayat-e-Fakih is observed and splits within the ruling elite are averted.

The actual operations of the party are conducted by the administrative executive apparatus, known as Shura Tanfiz. It consists of five councils:

  1. Executive Council (oversight over political and organizational matters, including social, cultural, and educational activities);
  2. Politburo (addresses intra-movement matters);
  3. Parliamentary Council (concerns itself with Hezbollah activities in the Lebanese legislature);
  4. Judicial Council (issues religious resolutions and carries out arbitration on matters of disagreement, relying on Islamic law); and
  5. Jihad Council (directs the movement, including oversight, recruitment, training, equipment, security).

Each council is usually headed by a Shura Council member.

The movement General Secretary is Hasan Nasrallah, who is also the supreme commander of its armed formations. Leadership also includes his deputy, a spiritual leader who is also the supreme judge, some Lebanese legislators, the military formation commander for Southern Lebanon, and regional leaders of the organization. The Executive Council has various departments responsible for specific areas of activity: welfare, healthcare, information, press, finance, external communications, coordination.

Armed Formations and Their Peculiarities

Assessments of Hezbollah’s armed strength vary. Iran’s FARS news agency data from October 2016 put Hezbollah’s armed strength at no less than 65,000 troops, including reserves. Of them, 21,000 are professional soldiers with constant training. According to the 2017 Military Balance, currently 5-8 thousand Hezbollah troops are fighting in Syria.

Bekaa Valley: the commander’s responsibilities include control over arms shipments from Iran through Syria for the “Sheikh Abdallah” military camp that’s under joint command by the Hezbollah and the Syrian army. According to various sources, this region’s forces consist of at least 7 infantry battalions with 252 people each. Three of them are motorized.

South Beirut: according to various sources, this region includes at least two battalions of 252 troops, one of them motorized.

South Lebanon: after the Taif treaty of 1989, Hezbollah formations were reorganized and placed under a unified command. The current commander is responsible for Hezbollah military and Special Security formations and may also command Lebanese Army units in South Lebanon. This region includes at least 7 battalions of 252 troops each, five of them motorized.

Moreover, one should note the nontrivial fact of the existence of a full-scale, by Iranian, NATO, and Russian measures, tank regiment. In November 2016, near the city of al-Quiseir (Homs province, Syria), there was an inspection of Hezbollah equipment. The photos showed T-55, T-62, and some T-72 tanks, some 2S1 Gvozdika howitzers, BMP-1, and -2, M113 APCs with 14.5mm machine-guns, ZSU-57-2 SPAA. Most of this equipment apparently came from SAA arsenals and was obtained from the Lebanese Army and possibly Iran.

Of most interest are the hybrids assembled using Kvadrat (SA-6) SAM tracked chassis and Soviet-era KS-12 85mm and Ks-19 100mm AA guns. While their effectiveness against modern aircraft and drones is doubtful, they are useful as direct fire support against land targets. Other interesting weapons are the modern Kornet ATGMs mounted on quadricycles. These self-propelled ATGMs are able to effectively fight any modern tank, including Israeli.

By all appearances, this unit was formed to prosecute the war in Syria, where thousands of Hezbollah fighters are constantly on the front lines. The absence of direct fire support such as tanks and artillery undermines the success of operations. Therefore it’s logical to assume that Hezbollah decided to assemble an arsenal of its own armor and accompanying artillery to ensure battlefield success.

Being a fully-fledged political and military organization, Hezbollah understands that it is surrounded by enemies such as Israel and radical Sunni Islamists. Therefore having a tank regiment with experienced crews is of vital importance, as the unit represents a serious force by the standards of Lebanon and the adjacent countries. The prolonged civil war in Lebanon, the permanent stand-off with Israel, and now also the struggle against Sunni Islamists, in other words, the constant balancing on the edge between war and peace, makes the movement flexible in its command arrangements and able to quickly and appropriately react to emerging problems.

One can also draw the conclusion that the paramilitary wing of the Hezbollah, in spite of external attributes of a partisan movement, which it was 20-30 years ago, is gradually becoming a fully-fledged army with a training establishment, a command structure, and a logistical segment.

Cadre Selection and Training

The preparation of a future fighter starts at a very young age. Kids aged 6 are involved in discussions and as they grow, they receive more advanced political and religious preparation. A sample training regimen includes: Studying Koran, A day at the mosque, I love my country, How to run a household, Summer camp, I submit to my leader. Younger kids’ uniform, as a rule, includes blue shirts with epaulettes, white scarves, and pins with the image of Khomeini.

Older boys spend several weeks during the summer in camps in the south and in Bekaa Valley, where they train and acquire survival skills while obtaining more in-depth religious preparation and studying their native language and culture.

Then they transfer to the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts. One of the scouts’ missions is helping the poor. According to the Scouts head, if kids who lost their father or their brothers were left to their fate, they would withdraw inwardly and develop psychological problems such as aggression.

At the age of 17, those who excelled at the Scouts become members of Taabia, or the reserves.

At the same time, education does not seek to promote absolute hatred toward Israel, despite what Western journalists love to depict. The education system is first and foremost based on developing a national and religious identity, the context in which the Shia community of Lebanon exists.

In an interview provided by a Hezbollah fighter, it was noted that those who choose political independence become social pariahs. Such people can’t even visit their villages, given that the family and the society hate them.

Cadre troops are focused on combat training, and each receives a specialty such as an ATGM gunner, a sniper, or demolitions. Regular Hezbollah fighters undergo training in specialized camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran (under IRGC officer leadership). They conduct training for the rank and file and select outstanding individuals for special units. Some of them become commanders, others are selected for the Special Security Apparatus.

Taabia reservists are engaged in protecting villages and are selected from the Scouts. Cadre fighters and reservists undergo service in one of the districts: Israel-Lebanon border and the Litania river area—Nasr Brigade, north of Litania—Badr Brigade, Bekaa Valley—Haidar Brigade.

Each Hezbollah brigade in south Lebanon has a sector in northern Israel that it is supposed to occupy. Combat and special training in each brigade take into account local geography. One should also note that border terrain is fortified: there is a large-scale network of tunnels, bunkers, minefields. Using the tunnels, Hezbollah can concentrate large number of troops on the needed attack sector without being spotted and attacked from the air

Due to fighting in Syria, Hezbollah opted to conduct training courses with reservists lasting 60-90 days. Commanders are also sent to the battle zone to obtain experience. Intensive operations and unavoidable losses have forced commanders and troops to remain in the war zone (murabata) for longer than their rotation periods. For the reservists, it was 15 days a year. Before the Syrian war, the border with Israel was considered such a zone. Currently, the rotation period in the Syrian war zone is 20 days and may be increased if the situation demands it. This is considered optimum, as it allows for having trained and rested troops available in case of any escalation on Israel border, and in Syria.

Here’s an example of a news report regarding deployment of Hezbollah units from May 20, 2017. The Radwan special unit and others were fully withdrawn from Syria and replaced by the Badr Brigade which is stationed in the eastern and northern part of the Aleppo province. Aziz Brigade was withdrawn from the outskirts of Palmyra and al-Qaem Brigade temporarily replaced it there.

Moreover, the Radwan unit was brought to an elevated alert level and sent to south Lebanon (Litania river and Shebaa farms on Israel border). Al-Jalil Brigade, intended for operations in Galilee in case of war with Israel, remained on its permanent positions in south Lebanon. Nasr Brigade, which is directly under Hasan Nasrallah, remained in reserve.

The Radwan unit was named after the head of Special Security department Imad Mugniyeh (pseudonym al-Hadja Radwan) who was killed in 2008. The unit has much experience in raids and is the most prepared for urban warfare, which makes it irreplaceable in Syria. If there is a new war between Hezbollah and Syria, it will be in the first line of attack.

Military Doctrine. Specifics of Fighting in Syria

Hezbollah leadership reviewed its concept of operations after the start of the Syria war. Before the war, the emphasis was placed on defensive ops in built-up areas with small units to inflict maximum troop and equipment losses on the IDF while simultaneously shelling Israel using large numbers of short- and medium-range rockets.

In Syria, Hezbollah realized that it had to wage offensive ops in cities. Therefore it reconsidered its training system, increased its rocket arsenal, and provided more heavy weapons and recon systems.

The first operation where Hezbollah took offensive using large units was the battle for el-Quseyr in April-June 2013. Some 1200-1700 best-trained Hezbollah troops took part in the battle. They were divided into 17 detachments, with later division into teams of 3-5 troops. Prior to the attack, the command performed recon of the city and its approaches, then divided the city into 16 sectors, one for each detachment. Each region had its codename. During the battle, this allowed for command of forces using open channels of communication without the enemy being able to take any countermeasures. Hezbollah command undertook the direction of SAA tank and artillery units near the city. Considering that the city was in the Islamist hands for over a year and was well-fortified, the ratio of losses was nevertheless 5:1 in favor of Hezbollah. The battle showed that with proper organization, a fortified city can be effectively attacked by a small force.

As far as the military direction of Hezbollah units in Syria by Iran is concerned, it seems probable that Iran directs Hezbollah units down to battalion level (sometimes down to company) using IRGC specialists from the al-Quds Force. It can’t be ruled out that IRGC specialists coordinate Hezbollah and local self-defense forces like the Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq. Units smaller than a battalion don’t warrant the provision of specialists. There is a need for a large number of trained cadres able to command and provide assistance. One of the factors influencing cooperation in this instance is the language barrier—Arabic in Lebanon, versus Farsi in Iran.

Hezbollah became one of the factors which allowed to turn around the war in Syria, since its troops were able to fight in cities. The SAA, in 2011-12 was organized along 1970-80 lines to fight combined arms battles mainly against Israel. New realities have shown that this army was unable to fight as small units in the cities. Moreover, the SAA has not fought for a long time. Its last significant operations took place in 1982. Therefore it had no commanders with urban warfare experience. Hezbollah, on the other hand, has constantly fought Israel since the moment of its creation. Generations of commanders have honed their skills in the years of clashes and battles with the IDF, causing it serious losses during the 2006 war. Israel was forced to retreat from south Lebanon, and Hezbollah’s reputation has risen to unprecedented heights.

Israel’s military command is worried about Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, since its paramilitary wing will now be able to wage offensive ops using heavy weapons and a huge number of short-, medium-, and long-range rockets.

The fact that Hezbollah has become akin to a regular army is confirmed by IDF’s rethinking of its approach to the fight against it. First, IDF is preparing for fighting big formations, up to a brigade, whose task will be invading Israel and capturing villages or military bases. Second, it is paying special attention to combating tunnels, including technical and psychological preparation of its troops to fight in tunnels.

Rocket Arsenal

The movement’s distinguishing characteristic is the enormous rocket arsenal which, by various estimates, contains between 50 thousand and 120 thousand weapons. And not merely an arsenal, but a whole system, from rocket part and fuel factories to storage facilities and camouflaged launch sites.

The existing land-based arsenal includes various short-range ballistic missiles, surface-to-surface missiles and multiple rocket launchers.

The existing land-based arsenal is reflected by the following table:

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* –depending on the specific variant.

MRL – multiple rocket launcher

SSM – surface-to-surface missile

SRBM – short-range ballistic missile

Most of the weapons come from Iran and Syria. The possession of Scud-Ds is doubted, including doubts of the Western media. This system requires qualified personnel and specialized equipment, since the rocket uses liquid fuel.

To assess Hezbollah’s effectiveness, let’s look at the shelling of Israel in 2005. At the start, according to Nasrallah, there were over 12 thousand rockets. Official Israeli police reports noted 3770 rocket strikes on the country, including 901 strikes in the cities. Thanks to civil defense, only 44 were killed and 1384 were wounded. One is also tempted to note that Hezbollah mostly used rockets with ranges under 100km and small warheads, as no SRBM strikes were noted. This was due the small number of SRBMs and Israeli effort to destroy them, which was partly successful. Hits by 600-980kg SRBM warheads would have had catastrophic consequences on cities. The presence of SSMs proved a surprise for Israel. On July 14, 2006, Israeli corvette Hanit was hit by a Chinese-made C-802 SSM launched from the short. The ship’s air defense was turned off since nobody expected an SSM attack. 4 sailors were killed and the corvette was incapacitated for 3 weeks. The 165kg warhead most likely failed to explode, otherwise, the corvette would have sunk.

Having a large rocket arsenal made in Iran, PRC, and Syria, raises the question of whether Hezbollah has its own factories of rockets. If it does, they manufacture certain numbers. It’s been a long time since the last war with Israel. Launching a rocket after lengthy storage could be dangerous to its launch crew. It would seem that the war in Syria is being used to use up old Russian and Chinese rockets of which it has large numbers. The situation is more complex with SRBMs. They are very expensive to make. It would make no sense to establish their production on territory which at any moment could be bombed by Israel. With proper servicing, such rockets can be stored for up to decades. It’s likely that some assistance here is provided by Iranian civil and military specialists.

Building a rocket plant on the territory of another country is a whole different matter. In August 2017, Israeli media reported that Iranians are building a ballistic missile plant in north-west Syria. It is built near the coastal city of Banias, tens of kilometers from Tartus where the Russian base is located, and south of Hmeimim where Russian aircraft are based, protected by S-300 and S-400. Therefore the factory can be protected against Israeli strikes. According to experts, the plant will produce Fateh-110 rockets for the SAA and, possibly, Hezbollah.

The rocket arsenal has been modernized and expanded. At the start of the next war, Hezbollah will be able to launch 1500 rockets a day, instead of 200 in 2006, covering the whole territory of Israel and not only the border regions. There are reports that Hezbollah has Russian Yakhont SSMs obtained from Syria, instead of the unreliable C-802.

Therefore Hezbollah rocket arsenal is not a network of warehouses full of artisanal rockets, dangerous to own crews. It’s a whole range of industrially produced weapons capable of destroying land and naval targets at various ranges.

All of the above does not mean Hezbollah seeks war with Israel, whose leadership should be aware that if there is another war in south Lebanon, Israel’s civilians will face unprecedented threats.

Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence

Hezbollah’s Special Security department is responsible for both intel and counter-intel, and implements several missions, one of the most important being professionally carried out operations abroad at the behest of Shura Council. Imad Fayez Mughniyeh was a head of Special Security department until 2008 when he died in a car bomb blast in Kafr Sousa neighborhood of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Responsibilities of the department’s head in Shura include overseeing the following departments:

  1. National preventive security apparatus, which provides personal security to high-level spiritual leaders.
  2. Internal security and intelligence apparatus, which tracks political and religious reliability of the Hezbollah members.
  3. National central security apparatus, which observes, tracks, infiltrates, and if necessary eliminates military or political individuals or groups seeking to interfere with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
  4. Foreign combat cells and intel apparatus. This department partly overlaps with the central security council, depending on types of requests received by cell leaders.

Imad Mugniyeh is the individual who made this department one of the most powerful secret services in the world. He was born in 1962 in the Tayr Debba village in south Lebanon. He started his career in the mid-1970s in the FATH organization. In 1977-82 he was a member of its intelligence and special units (Force 17, Unified Security Directorate, etc.). After an advanced course under IRGC instructors at the Imam Ali base in Bekaa province, he headed the personal security team for prominent Shia cleric Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah.

Before 2005, Hezbollah was to a large extent integrated into Lebanese intel services, including Amn al-Amn Main Directorate for Common Security which expanded its ability to carry out intelligence and counter-intelligence ops. After Hezbollah was accused of being complicit in the death of former Lebanese PM, Rafik Hariri in February 2005, Hezbollah members were forced to leave Lebanese secret services, which affects the movement’s intel work.

The Special Security department studies Iranian and Israeli experience. According to Israeli intel members, Hezbollah has a large agent network in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and AMAN military intelligence. This opinion is supported by the presence of limited access Israeli MOD maps, manuals, and documents on captured Hezbollah members.

The movement’s intel successes are largely based on exploiting familial and criminal ties between Israeli and Lebanese Arabs, and the well-oiled cooperation between Hezbollah intel and Palestinian Authority armed formations. Moreover, Hezbollah intelligence often uses interrogations of captured officers and soldiers, and data obtained through recruitment of senior Israeli officers. For example, Hezbollah was able to recruit IDF Lt. Col. Omar el-Haiba, a Bedouin. This officer occupied a high post in the Western district HQ. He was one of the most capable Bedouin officers in the IDF. After a serious wound, he was disabled but nevertheless returned to the IDF and earned awards for his agitation among the Bedouins. This officer was arrested on suspicion of giving Hezbollah secret information on IDF forces on Lebanon border and the schedule of patrols. On June 18, 2006 a court martial sentenced him to 15 years in prison for espionage, contact with enemy agents, and drug trade.

Due to the secrecy regime in Special Security Apparatus, little is known about foreign terrorist and intel cells. As a rule, they become known only after major events. Hezbollah selects people for special ops from among its own special units. These people are believed to be well trained and prepared to die for the sake of the mission. Some of them are from Arab and Islamic organizations that have ceased to exist. All of Hezbollah’s special ops are handled by Special Security apparatus, with support from Iranian and Syrian intel and special ops forces, and from the IRGC.

Members of the overseas cells are thoroughly trained. They have knowledge and information about the country where they work. They speak the language of the country. This attracts less attention from civil and military authorities.
Infiltration unit equipment in includes Israeli or other military uniforms, depending on the mission. Units infiltrating Israel speak Hebrew, use Israeli weapons and equipment as camouflage, and are familiar with all types of weapons used in the region. Members of special infiltration units and members of the suicide units differ, among other things, by their uniforms. For example, Jihad Detachments wear green or black clothing, carry Semtex, C-4, or C-9 charges, and usually wear masks on operations.

The following Jihad Detachments are known:

  1. Islambula Brigade: assassination of political activists.
  2. Al-Quds Brigade: two units of suicide bombers consisting of 56 each, the Fathi Shkaki Company and the Ihye Ayasha Company.

On Imad Mugniye’s initiative, in the early ‘90s a special unit of Hebrew-speaking Lebanese Palestinians was formed. It had the task of eavesdropping on IDF army frequencies. Later, SSA sought to improve their language and professional skills at the Center of Islamic Science and Culture and its branches in Iran, Cyria, and Lebanon.

One should note that the Hezbollah units and controlled territories are targets of Israeli human intelligence efforts. Israeli Border Police (MAGAV) includes the YAMAS unit which camouflages its members to look like Arabs. During the 2006 war, Hezbollah counterintelligence located and destroyed an Israeli agent network in south Lebanon and Beirut. The network conducted espionage in Hezbollah HQ and transmitted this data to the IDF. Agents from among local population set up equipment to monitor Hezbollah military installations and used GPS devices to guide munitions, spread glow-in-the-dark powder around buildings and command centers, rocket warehouses and launch sites. Still, IDF and Israeli intel was not able to kill or capture a single senior Hezbollah official or destroy the command system, since the shelling of Israel continued no matter what.

The Media: Agitation and Propaganda

Hezbollah places particular importance on the media. It owns a satellite TV channel (al-Manar), four radio stations, and five newspapers. Without any doubt, Hezbollah’s image was to a large extent formed by al-Manar, which has been broadcasting since June 1991, and has gone satellite in 2000. It has become Hezbollah’s face to the world. The channel is unique, before its existence Arab media consisted of newspapers and radio stations. Experts believe its audience is second only to al-Jazeera. Al-Manar became the official channel of the movement, demonstrating accomplishments, particularly in the realm of fighting Israel. Its broadcasts consist mainly of news and political programs, broadcasts dedicated to the memory of martyrs, informational and entertainment shows. It is also unique in that it broadcasts in Hebrew for the Israeli population. While Western media depict the al-Manar as propaganda for a terror group, the channel does not broadcast any information on making bombs, executions of Israeli soldiers, blowing up of checkpoints, and other forms of cruelty.

Hezbollah radio stations al-Nour and al-Iman broadcast from southern Beirut. Al-Islam broadcasts in south Lebanon, and Sawt al-Mustad’afin broadcasts in the area of Bekaa river valley. There are also newspapers: Al-Bilad, al-Ahd, al-Muntalaq, al-Sabil, and Baquitou Allah.

The movement has a website, www.moqawama.org. Its content includes the most important news from Lebanon and the world, video addresses by movement leader, respecting the memory of martyrs, opinion polls, and memorable dates in the movement’s history. Agitation video broadcast by TV and web channels are of high artistic and directorial quality and take into consideration the preference of the audience and Arab mentality not only in Lebanon but the world.

Social Work

Even though the Hezbollah is known in Western media as a terror organization, it defies that label by the multifaceted aspect of its activities. Apart from fighting in Syria and against Israel, it is part of Lebanon’s legislature, provides education and medical services to the Lebanese. In 2000-2010 Hezbollah spent several billion dollars on humanitarian efforts in Lebanon. The organization builds kindergartens and schools, hospitals and clinics, and even supermarkets. Its fighters and their family members can take advantage of many services with major discounts. Education in Hezbollah-built schools is cheaper than in public schools. The poor obtain stipends. Of course, the education focuses on the Arabic language, Islam, and Shia traditions. But English language and physical sciences are also taught. These schools provide a very high level of instruction by ME standards.

The media also focus on those who fell for the freedom and independence of Lebanon. As a sign of respect for the martyrs, which is how Shia community views them, the funerals are attended by senior officials. They also participate in any funerals of people who perished in battle or in other circumstances. This is apparently due to Hasan Nasrallah’s having suffered a personal loss. His eldest son Hadi became a martyr during fighting in south Lebanon.

If the killed fighter had children, they are taken under care, receive education or jobs. In spite of financial problems, providing money for cadre soldiers and for the families of the dead is the top priority.

Mu’assasat Jihad al-Bina’ or the Fund for Sacred Struggle was founded by the Hezbollah in 1988. It quickly became one of the most visible NGOs in Lebanon. Although it is autonomous, its activities fall under the purview of the social services department of the movement. Its main aim is to “lessen the burdens faced by the poor families by relying on God’s aid in fulfilling their moral and Islamic obligations.” The Fund operates in southern districts of Beirut, Bekaa Valley, and south Lebanon. The fund provides more than half of population of those regions with water, helps farmers with procuring livestock, fertilizers, fuel. It carries out electrification of the most backward villages.

Mu’assasat al-Shahid, or the Martyrs’ Fund, supports the children of killed or captured fighters and civilians. It provides housing, jobs, and support for widows and runs a job placement office for the youth.

Lujnat Imdad al-Khomeini, or the Khomeini Support Committee, was formed right after Israeli aggression of 1982. It helps poor families, particularly those which suffered from Israeli occupation. The aid includes monthly benefits, food parcels, basic necessities, clothing, health services, and education. The committee provides medical assistance, including through medications, diagnoses, surgeries, and rehabilitation, to tens of thousands of patients a year. The financial and technical incapacity of the Lebanese government, particularly the Ministry of Health, forced the movement to take under the control of the Islamic Health Unit the hospitals of south Lebanon.

Hezbollah education department is headed by an office titled al-Ta‘bia’ al-Tarbawiyya, or the Education Directorate. It provides financial aid to needy Hezbollah members. Its expenditures are extremely important to the movement, because public schools suffer from lack of funds for construction and education technology.

The education department also provides needy students higher education in applied sciences, and religious studies in various institutions such as Technical Institute of the Great Prophet, the Technical Institutes of Sayyid Abbas al-Musawi, the Institute of Sayydat al-Zahra’, the Institute of Shaykh Raghib Harb, and the Islamic Shari’ah Institute.

Other types of aid include paying for textbooks and school materials, and part of the tuition in public and private schools.

Economic and Financial Activities

A variety of sources of funding—donations, business, and Iran’s support—ensure the party’s independence and economic stability. Its assets are held in the Saderat Bank of Iran or in other banks in accounts of front individuals, to prevent the US and the West from freezing its assets. The party is a huge corporation whose assets belong to the whole party, not just specific individuals.

The main sources of funding are:

  • Direct subsidies from Iran, no more than $100 million per year, though $200 million before the fall of oil prices.
  • Contributions by Shia community in and outside of Lebanon
  • Profits from economic and banking activity.

Income from smuggling, illegal sale of weapons and drugs, are not taken into consideration in this context

According to Pew Research Center and the World Factbook (CIA), Shia Muslims represent a high percentage in about 25 countries.

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Total: approx. 200 million worldwide.

One should keep in mind that Pew data have often been criticized by Western experts and Shia diasporas for underestimating Shia numbers.

According to World Labor Organization, average salaries in these countries in 2016 were:

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The Islamic concept of Zakat states that when it comes to deeds performed in God’s name, including supporting warriors waging jihad, the poor, or people propagating Islam, the average worker should contribute 2.5% of theirsalary.

Considering the multi-child families which are the rule in Muslim countries (one does not consider non-working wives and children), zakat may be paid by up to 10% of the community.

In this case, contributions by country look as follows:

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Thus, the Shia diaspora may contribute no more than 1/5, or 120 million USD, for financing Hezbollah.

This calculation does not include income tax, since each country has a different tax law. One should also keep in mind that not all Shia in the West and Persian Gulf are supportive of Hezbollah’s military aid to Syria. For example, NGO surveys of Shia in the Persian Gulf states in the second half of 2013 suggests that the percentage of supporters fell to 30-50%. This is apparently due to the Hezbollah being given an image of the aggressor by the media of these countries, which can’t help but influence financing. After IS was proclaimed in 2014, India’s Shia issued a statement proclaiming readiness to send 30,000 volunteers to Iraq to fight radical Islam. There is no information concerning the Shia of India or neighboring countries providing aid for Syria.

More than 100,000 Lebanese have permanent residence in African countries, including 60,000 in Cote d’Ivoire, 25,000 each in Senegal and Sierra Leone, 16,000 in Nigeria, 6,000 in DRC, 5,000 each in Gabon and Cameroun. The majority of Lebanese in Africa are not Christians but Shia. They have concentrated control of much profitable business, which allows them not only live well but support their historical motherland. In 2008 alone, money transfers from African Lebanese exceeded $1 billion. It is difficult to assess Lebanese Shia affluence in Africa due to the never-ending financial crisis. Since it is Hezbollah that runs active social programs in Lebanon, one can assume the majority of remittances ends up on the organization’s accounts.

Overall, the movement collects no more than $500 million a year. It’s not much, considering it is waging a war in Syria and is financing the social sector of the whole country.

Why Hezbollah became a Middle East powerhouse and its transition to a quasi-state

After the IDF withdrawal from most of Lebanon in 1985, Hezbollah with active support from the IRGC began to create its own weapons arsenals, and the January 1989 Damascus-Tehran agreement allowed Hezbollah to restore its military infrastructure and resume operations in south Lebanon. Thus by 1991 Hezbollah became the leading Lebanese resistance force, operating in the country’s south against the IDF.

Starting in early ‘90s, Hezbollah began a transition away from being a purely paramilitary formation. In the summer of ’92, Iran’s leaders recommended Hezbollah transform itself from an openly extremist organization into an active Lebanese political force. Hezbollah reached an internal compromise between the “moderates” and “radicals”, established a ceasefire with Amal, and began active preparation for parliamentary elections. Hezbollah today acts as the leading political force in Lebanon and as a major Shia social and humanitarian organization (Lebanon has an estimated 2.5 million Shia out of 6.2 million total population). IDF withdraw from south Lebanon in 2006 was a huge victory in the eyes of the Arab world. Hezbollah has truly become a significant regional factor. Growing its influence in Lebanon and Syria and the region with Iran’s help, Hezbollah has become a base for recruitment, training, and preparation of volunteers for battling Israel and radical Sunni organizations. Hezbollah units often fight like regular army nits.

One of the reasons for the rise of Hezbollah’s regional influence is the strategic coordination between the Lebanese and Iraqi Shia, and also Syrian Alawites due to the continuous war in the Middle East. It’s important to note that the organization has proved its worth even in the darkest hours of Lebanon’s history, such as the many years of almost uninterrupted slaughter, but also during the perennial clashes with its external adversaries, even dangerous ones like Israel.

Opinions of Iran’s influence vary. Some experts claim Iran’s aid is so important that it fully affects all aspects of Hezbollah’s decision making process. Naturally, Iran’s authority as the leader of the Shia around the world is near-absolute. It also provides Hezbollah with tremendous military aid. Moreover, the movement has suffered losses in Syria, it’s most professional and best trained fighters have perished there, which weakens the organization. Therefore Hezbollah leaders have to show more flexibility and care in its dealings with Iran if differences of opinion arise.

The most likely explanation is that Hezbollah maintains considerable independence due to its exceptional political standing in the country, and of its nature as a strike force against Israel and Syria’s Sunni. Since the start of conflicts in Syria in 2011, Nasrallah tried to maintain neutrality. Hezbollah became involved only in 2013 when the situation grew out of control and there was a danger of combat spreading to Lebanon. Nasrallah stated in one of his announcements that” Iran should be viewed as the center of strategic influence in the region, as the model of a sovereign state which supports nations in their search for independence and as a force which helps countries and nations of the Middle East become stronger. Syria and Iran can’t force Hezbollah to act against its own plans. They can only argue with us and try to convince us.”

Since its independence, Lebanese government paid little attention to the problems of the southern parts of the country. Therefore Hezbollah has assumed the role of helping the poor and developing infrastructure not for self-promotion, but because it was an objective necessity. Practically since birth, a Lebanese Shia is under Hezbollah’s care. Kindergartens, clinics, schools, and institutions—all of that has been built and is financed by the movement. So it’s no surprise that the movement is hugely popular and service within its ranks is considered honorable.

One should especially note that today Hezbollah is more than a movement. Even though it has not declared sovereignty over part of the country, it has every attribute of a state. It has legislative, executive, judicial authority, institutions for the collection and distribution of taxes, its own education system, a military, intelligence and counter-intelligence, media—all of that exists and functions within the movement’s framework. Moreover, it has control over its subjects, the totality of information about them and, most importantly, it relies on their good will to work with the movement in some form. The concept of citizenship is not after all defined by a passport but by the individual’s willingness to associate to a state or a movement and be loyal to it.

Here’s what is written about it by one of Hezbollah’s ideologues and the deputy general secretary, sheikh Naim Kassem: “From the theoretical point of view, we are calling for an Islamic state, we are drawing others into that process, since only an Islamic state may facilitate the maximum of human happiness. But on the practical level this question depends on the free human choice, in addition to the Quran Ayat 2.257: There is no compulsion in religion. The correct way is quite separate from the false one. Whoever does not believe in idol worship but believes in God, has found a reliable foundation which cannot be crumbled. Verily, God is all-hearing and all-knowing.”

The victory of radical Sunni groups in Syria would mean the possibility of merciless annihilation of all other religious groups, following the Iraq scenario. After the US invasion of Iraq triggered a civil war and later the appearance of ISIS, which proved unspeakably cruel toward all other beliefs, it sent the message that in these conditions of ethnic and religious warfare, only paramilitary organizations like the Hezbollah can ensure their own survival.

Conclusion

Hezbollah’s popularity among Lebanese Shia is based on several factors: its military campaign against Israel, its wholly Lebanese nature, its role as a defender of the historically repressed Shia community, its religious nature and its wide range of social services.

Hezbollah has done more for the Shia community in Lebanon than the official government. Since the very start of its involvement in the war in Syria, the movement leaders that its fighters are defending Lebanon, Lebanese Shia, and Shia holy sites from the spread of extremist Sunni Islam, represented first and foremost by Jabhat al-Nusra and IS. According to Nasrallah, this was not a war of choice but of necessity.

Lebanese NGOs which carried out a survey in 2015 noted that 57% of respondents view the threat of radical Islam to Lebanon as real, and 80% view Hezbollah as making the life in Lebanon calmer. Lebanon today, just as the Middle East as a whole, is experiencing renewed inter-religious and inter-communal slaughter.  People living in unstable and unpredictable countries are trying to find protection and support among their own national or religious community. Therefore it is no surprise that Hezbollah enjoys such unconditional support among the Shia of Lebanon and Syria, even if they don’t fully support the movement’s aims and mission.

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Does Trump dare to withdraw from the nuclear understanding? هل يجرؤ ترامب على الانسحاب من التفاهم النووي؟

Does Trump dare to withdraw from the nuclear understanding?

أكتوبر 17, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

هل يجرؤ ترامب على الانسحاب من التفاهم النووي؟

Many people avoid answering this question lest the developments do not reflect their expectations, or make them lose some of the credibility and confidence which they accumulated among the readers and observers, especially in the light of the escalating positions which  are launched by the US President Donald Trump towards Iran and the understanding on its nuclear file, foreshadowing of the end of the era of this understanding which he perseveres in  describing it with the worst understanding, while many do not consider it far that Trump may do such a step putting the international and the regional relations in front of what he called as the forthcoming storm, many people considered it far  that Iran has the intention and the ability for escalating strong reactions, whether Trump abolishes the agreement or imposes sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, putting the Iranian threats within the context of the psychological warfare.

It is certain that Trump will not dare to announce the abolishment of the agreement because first his powers do not include such of that announcement, what he has is to ask the Congress to revoke the law of ratification of the agreement if he wants to withdraw from it, but the results will be subjected to balances where neither Trump not his dividing team can control. Despite this power which does include the abolishment, it puts Trump in withdrawing position from the agreement beholding the Congress the responsibility. Trump will not use it but he will search for a maneuver that will show him upset from the agreement without getting involved in the call to withdraw from it, this will be through restricting to what is stated by the law of ratifying the agreement by the Congress, such as asking for an annual report from the administration that shows the degree of Iran’s compliance with the agreement. He said that Iran is restricting with the literal obligations which were stated by the agreement, but it does not apply its essence. Trump does not withdraw from the agreement, but he withdraws his confidence in the ability of the agreement to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons, calling the Congress to discuss the ways in order to improve the agreement and to achieve more guarantees. This means getting involved in discussions that last for sixty days, where the Congress will give recommendations to Trump’s administration that will include calls as the seeking with the partners in the agreement as Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany, the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the European Union to formulate more effective understandings to oblige Iran to commit to new obligations, along with going in for separated sanctions system that does not violate the nuclear understanding system, but it pursuits what is called by Washington as the Iranian missile program and what is being discussed by Trump and his team under the title of the interventions of Iran in the region and accusing it with destabilizing the allied regimes of Washington, where Hezbollah will get the main share of sanctions.

Will Trump dare to impose sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard as an organization, after he was allocated them to the Corps of Jerusalem within the Revolutionary Guard?

Trump will not dare to do so; he will choose instead the missile system in the Guard as what he did with the Corps of Jerusalem. He will avoid the challenge of Iran by putting its threats which were issued by the highest governmental and military levels towards the Supreme Leader of the Republic, as in the case of the nuclear understanding and the escape from losing of Europe and the International Atomic Energy Agency through  finding the solution which does not lead to major confrontation, and which preserves the tension and the pressure paper for Trump under the ceiling of small confrontations within a big negotiation, because the decisions concerning the relationship with Iran are decisions issued by the US country not by the sidelines of the President’s movement. The US country which evaded from the major confrontation entitled the prevention of Hezbollah from being present in Syria especially on the Southern and eastern borders, and after seeing that its red lines were violated it knows that the opportunities of a confrontation entitled Hezbollah is greater than the opportunities of a confrontation entitled the Iranian nuclear program, the halting from  the least due to the weakness ensures the inability to proceed towards the most by the illusion of ability

To those who are possessed by the power of America we say: let’s wait and see. Tomorrow is another day

The position of Trump is similar to the positions of the two heads of Kurdistan and Catalonia regions by the calling to hold referendum on the secession then to replace the announcement of the independence with the call for dialogue. These wrong considerations involve their owners, with the difference that Trump lives his presidency as a TV commentator rather than a decision-maker.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

هل يجرؤ ترامب على الانسحاب من التفاهم النووي؟

 

أكتوبر 11, 2017

ناصر قنديل
هل يجرؤ ترامب على الانسحاب من التفاهم النووي؟– يتفادى الكثيرون الخوض في الإجابة عن هذا السؤال كي لا تأتي التطورات عكس توقعاتهم، ويخسرون بعضاً من المصداقية والثقة التي راكموها لدى قراء ومتابعين، خصوصاً في ظلّ المواقف التصعيدية التي يطلقها الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب تجاه إيران والتفاهم حول ملفها النووي، مبشّراً بنهاية عهد هذا التفاهم الذي دأب على وصفه بالأسوأ. وفيما لا يستبعد كثيرون أن يقدم ترامب على هذه الخطوة واضعاً العلاقات الدولية والإقليمية أمام ما أسماه بالعاصفة المقبلة، يستبعد كثيرون أن يكون لدى إيران النية والقدرة على ردود قوية تصعيدية، سواء إذا أقدم ترامب على إلغاء الاتفاق أو على وضع عقوبات على الحرس الثوري الإيراني، واضعين التهديدات الإيرانية في دائرة عضّ الأصابع والحرب النفسية.

– الأكيد أنّ ترامب لن يجرؤ على الإعلان عن إلغاء الاتفاق أولاً، لأنّ صلاحيته لا تطال هذا الإعلان، وما يملكه هو الطلب للكونغرس إبطال قانون التصديق على الاتفاقية إذا أراد الانسحاب منها. وهذا يخضع بالنتيجة لتوازنات لا يتحكم بها ترامب وفريقه المنقسم حول الموقف أصلاً، ورغم هذه الصلاحية التي تقع دون مستوى الإلغاء، لكنها تضع ترامب في موضع المنسحب من الاتفاق ملقياً المسؤولية على الكونغرس، فترامب لن يستعملها، بل سيبحث عن مناورة تظهره كغاضب من الاتفاق من دون التورّط بالدعوة للانسحاب منه، وذلك عبر التقيّد بحدود ما ينصّ عليه قانون تصديق الكونغرس على الاتفاق، من طلب تقرير سنوي من الإدارة يشير إلى درجة تقيّد إيران بموجباتها بالاتفاق، فيقول إنّ إيران تتقيّد بالموجبات الحرفية التي نصّ عليها الاتفاق لكنها لا تطبّق روحيته، وهو لا ينسحب من الاتفاق بل يسحب ثقته بقدرة الاتفاق على منع إيران من امتلاك سلاح نووي، داعياً الكونغرس لمناقشة سبل تحسين الاتفاقية وتحقيق المزيد من الضمانات. وهذا يعني الدخول في مناقشات تمتدّ لمدة ستين يوماً يخرج بحصيلتها الكونغرس بتوصيات لإدارة ترامب، ستتضمّن دعوات من نوع السعي مع الشركاء في الاتفاق وهم الدول الخمس، روسيا والصين وفرنسا وبريطانيا وألمانيا، والأمم المتحدة والوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية والاتحاد الأوروبي، لصياغة تفاهمات أشدّ قوّة وقدرة على إلزام إيران بموجبات جديدة، وبالتوازي السير بنظام عقوبات منفصل لا يخرق منظومة التفاهم النووي، لكنه يلاحق ما تسمّيه واشنطن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني، وما يتحدّث عنه ترامب وفريقه تحت عنوان تدخلات إيران في المنطقة، واتهامها بالتسبّب بزعزعة استقرار أنظمة حليفة لواشنطن، وسيحظى حزب الله هنا بالحصة الرئيسة من العقوبات.

– هل سيجرؤ ترامب على الذهاب لعقوبات على الحرس الثوري كمؤسسة بعينها، بعدما كان قد خصّصها لفيلق القدس ضمن الحرس الثوري؟

– لن يجرؤ ترامب على ذلك، بل سيختار منظومة الصواريخ في الحرس، أسوة بما فعله مع فيلق القدس، ويتفادى تحدّي إيران بوضع تهديداتها التي صدرت عن أعلى المستويات الحكومية والعسكرية وصولاً للمرشد الأعلى للجمهورية، كما في حال التفاهم النووي والتهرّب من خسارة أوروبا والوكالة الدولية للطاقة النووية، بإيجاد الالتفاف المناسب الذي لا يؤدّي لإشعال المواجهة الكبرى، ويحفظ لترامب أوراق التوتر والضغط واللعب بها، تحت سقف مواجهات صغيرة ضمن التفاوض الكبير، لأنّ القرارات على مسرح العلاقة مع إيران هي قرارات بحجم الدولة الأميركية وليست من هوامش حركة الرئيس. والدولة الأميركية التي تهرّبت من مواجهة كبرى عنوانها منع حزب الله من الوجود في سورية، خصوصاً على الحدود الجنوبية والشرقية، وهي ترى خطوطها الحمراء تداس، تعلم أنّ فرص مواجهة عنوانها حزب الله أكبر من فرص مواجهة عنوانها الملف النووي الإيراني، والإحجام عن الأقلّ بسبب الضعف يؤكد عدم الإقدام على الأكثر بوهم القدرة، فمن لا يستطيع الأقلّ لا يستطيع الأكثر.

– للموهومين بالقوة الأميركية نقول فلننتظر ونرَ، ومَنْ يعِش يرَ، وإن غداً لناظره قريب!

– كم يشبه موقف ترامب موقف رئيسَيْ إقليمي كردستان وكتالونيا، بالدعوة للاستفتاء على الانفصال ثم استبدال إعلان الاستقلال بالدعوة للحوار، هي الحسابات الخاطئة تورّط أصحابها، مع فارق أنّ ترامب يعيش رئاسته كمعلّق تلفزيوني لا كصانع قرار.

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How Hezbollah Came to Dominate Information Warfare: Israeli Media

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah

Long time ago Hezbollah began significantly investing in propaganda, and laid the groundwork for the effective use of information warfare, which is the ability to gain an advantage over an adversary through the management of information, according to an article published by JPost.

JPost mentioned that Hezbollah operations have long been governed by the mantra,

“If you haven’t captured it on film you haven’t fought.” “The group grasped the importance of documenting its successes as early as 1994 when Hezbollah fighters and a cameraman infiltrated an Israeli military occupation compound in Lebanon and raised a flag inside the base, captured the event on film – and scored a major propaganda coup.”

“Hezbollah maintains a unit solely dedicated to psychological warfare that specializes in burnishing Hezbollah’s public image. Newspapers, social media outlets and television programming comprise Hezbollah’s information warfare portfolio. The group uses its information- related capabilities to advertise its many successes, including summer camps for children and a robust public works program.”

Hezbollah propaganda is well-honed, targeted and specific, and it emphasizes specific themes that include resistance ideology, martyrdom and establishing legitimacy through the provision of social services, according to JPost.

“The history of Hezbollah’s information warfare efforts is perhaps best told through the story of the evolution of its active media arm, Al-Manar, a satellite television station that broadcasts from Beirut and can be seen around the world. After the first broadcast of Al-Manar (The Beacon) in 1991, Hezbollah began regularly scheduled broadcasts three years later and serves a critical role as the main dissemination point for Hezbollah news and propaganda. Hezbollah’s extensive media operation also includes radio stations, print publications and a network of over 50 websites that operate in multiple languages.” “Al-Manar began trying to influence Israeli public opinion by broadcasting actual battlefield footage showing Israeli soldiers being killed and maimed.”

Equally as impressive as Hezbollah’s television and video production is its extensive use of new media and information technologies, including a major Internet presence, the Israeli paper added.

The Zionist paper pointed out that Hezbollah is constantly working to refine its technical capabilities, as evidenced by a move toward faster fiber-optic networks that can enhance the group’s data-streaming capacity and provide a stouter defense against Israeli electronic warfare capabilities.

“Hezbollah not only prevented Israeli units from jamming its networks south of the Litani River in the July 2006 war, it reportedly had equipment in place to jam Israeli radar and communications systems.”

“For operational security reasons, Hezbollah migrated to closed telephone circuits that operate independent of Lebanese government networks. During fighting in the Syrian town of Qusair in 2013, Hezbollah again showed its penchant for operations security by devising a complex system that allowed its fighters to talk freely on open radio communications without having to be too concerned about conversations being intercepted.”

Hezbollah has been a fact of life since the early 1980s and, given the group’s remarkable ability to operate in the information environment, will likely remain the most dominant and capable terrorist group in the Middle East for decades to come, JPost’s article concluded.

SourceIsraeli media

 

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Ensuring The Existence of «Israel» in Hezbollah’s Crosshairs

Ali Haidar

The problem facing “Israel” is that the more its military and technological capabilities develop, the more Hezbollah’s deterrent and defense capabilities advance. The higher the motivation for aggression, the more it clashes with countermeasures that prevent Hezbollah’s capabilities from being liquidated.

"Israel's" Dimona nuclear plant

As a result, the gap between what it wants and what it can achieve is wide. This problematic reality usually provokes some experts and commentators who see a huge difference between what they perceive as enormous capabilities on the part of “Israel” on the one hand, and its decline in the favor of Hezbollah on the other.

The former chairman of the Council of Settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Israel Harel, pondered over the announcement by Hezbollah’s Secretary-General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the anniversary of the 2006 victory, during which he labeled Dimona as a target for the rockets of the Resistance. He pointed out that this came after the “Israeli” court ruling, ordering the removal of ammonia containers from Haifa, following the declaration by Sayyed Nasrallah to target it in case of any full-scale aggression on Lebanon.

Harel, a regular columnist for the Haaretz daily, dubbed his article as “The Goal Is Dimona” – describing Dimona as a symbol of “Israel’s” strength and a guarantor of its existence. Thus, he wanted to suggest that this guarantor was in the crosshairs of Hezbollah’s rockets, while the “Israelis” are doing little else aside from threatening. He criticized the “‘Israeli’ acceptance” of the equation that Hezbollah succeeded in imposing because of its missile capabilities. He ridiculed the “response” to the threat posed by the concentration of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, which involved the dispatching of a high security delegation to express concern to the heads of the security establishment in Washington. He criticized the hanging of hopes on this “maniac administration”.

It is clear that Harel sees the political and security contacts with Washington, as an attempt to avoid the aggressive options – employed by “Israel” since 1948 – following the “Israeli” army’s setbacks in Lebanon. He also sees a strategic retreat embodied by “Israeli” recognition – at the level of political and security decision-makers – of the counter-deterrence equation imposed by the Resistance in Lebanon.

The newly retired commander of the “Israeli” Air Force Major General Amir Eshel recently boasted about how “Israel” carried out about 100 attacks in Syria during the last five years. Harel who served as chairman of the Council of Settlements for 15 years described these comments as “the joy of the poor” simply because these attacks failed to prevent the transfer of some 150,000 rockets to Hezbollah. From here, Harel wanted to shed light on the dark side of the “battle between the wars” doctrine declared by “Israel” and aimed at preventing the growth of Hezbollah’s capabilities, since the standard for its success lies in results and implications on the level of capabilities. One of the most significant manifestations of these results is the terror and fear rising inside “Israel” due to the qualitative and quantitative growth of Hezbollah’s capabilities.

The assurances of Eshel and his successor Major General Amikam Norkin that “‘Israel’ has decisive means of retaliation” should Sayyed Nasrallah carry out his threats to attack Dimona, angered Harel. He pointed out that “the first attack is decisive, and could end up with thousands of casualties and serious damage to the security and economic infrastructure.” Therefore, the dilemma that “Israel” faces is: how will it use its ability and will to respond to this level [of threat], keeping in mind repeated “Israeli” threats of the total destruction of Lebanon?

Harel called on “Israel” to refrain from repeating the submission to the equations imposed by Hezbollah, and this time in the Syrian arena. He stressed that “‘Israel’ is prohibited from continuing to recognize long-term strategic changes.” He also warned of repeatedly acknowledging the deployment of the Revolutionary Guards on the borders of “Israel”, Syria and Lebanon, and soon in Gaza, and perhaps even in Jordan, “fearing it would be too late”, especially that “there is no limit to the flexibility of the ‘Israeli’ containment doctrine.”

He also believes that it is reasonable to assume that at this stage there will be no launching of any Iranian missile on “Israel” because it will not take place before the completion of Iran’s “regional hegemony” project in the region. He ridiculed, by implication, the argument that “Israel’s” deterrence power – after the “failed” Second Lebanon War – prevented Hezbollah from firing its rockets into “Israel”. He stressed that what is preventing the party is not this so-called “alleged deterrence”. Despair gripped the right-wing writer as he added that “even when Hezbollah launches thousands of rockets that have been stored, it is doubtful that the government will decide to target civilians or destroy the infrastructure, even when retaliating. For this right is reserved only for its enemies.”

In response to the “Israeli” leadership’s attempt to paint a picture of “national” immunity among the “Israeli” public, Harel pointed out that the problematic reactions of civilians in the north in light of the rocket attacks during the Second Lebanon War and the mass flight on the part of the Negev residents during Hamas’ bombardment [Operation Protective Edge], proved that the internal “Israeli” front possessed a low, troubling ability to respond. Thus, Harel was able to expose the “Israeli” political leadership, which is trying to mitigate its reluctance to act due to the counter-deterrence constraints, particularly after he saw that the performance of the decision-makers involved adopting a policy of containment, following the abandoning of the counterattack and initiation policy since the 1967 war.

According to Harel, “Israel’s” reluctance to neutralize the capabilities of the resistance factions in Gaza by “digging up negative land barriers, with enormous cost and questionable effectiveness” falls within the principle of abandoning the preventive and pre-emptive options policy. “This is the mentality,” he added.

As in every critical approach, “Israeli” writers and experts are keen to create some balance in the picture to avoid repercussions within “Israel”. Thus, Harel concludes, in the event of rockets fired from the north, east and south against “Israel”, the “Israelis” will win this battle, but after the death of tens of thousands within its own ranks!

Source: Al-Akhbar Newspaper, Translated by website team

26-08-2017 | 09:47

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A Job That No «Israeli» Wants, thanks to the Men of Allah

 A Job That No «Israeli» Wants

Darko Lazar

Throughout the summer of 2006, the “Israeli” military command was plagued by indecision, chaos and sheer incompetence.

IOF soldiers


Hezbollah’s successes in delivering powerful, unexpected and precise blows against the invading army threw Tel Aviv completely off-balance and seriously dented “Israeli” morale. The effects on “Israel’s” armed forces quickly became apparent to observers.

“This wasn’t the vaunted ‘Israeli’ force that we saw in previous wars,” one former senior US commander noted at the time.

No zest for the fight

The outcome of the 2006 war shattered the myth of “Israeli” military invincibility – a central component to the psychological warfare in the Arab-“Israeli” conflict.

Among its many military achievements, Hezbollah destroyed the formidable reputation of “Israel’s” Merkava tank – the symbol of “Israeli” military prowess.

In just over a month, 49 of “Israel’s” homemade Merkava tanks were reported damaged or destroyed.

The battles in Lebanon’s valleys left lasting scars on the collective “Israeli” psyche, which would inevitably lead to major transformations within its military ranks.

According to “Israel’s” Maariv newspaper, today’s conscripts are still refusing to serve in the army’s Armored Corps – once the pride and joy of the “Israeli” military.

The 86 soldiers surveyed told the paper that they preferred prison to the Armored Corps, leading the military establishment to admit that one of its major challenges is restoring confidence in the Merkava tank.

But the “Israeli” military command has other challenges, too. The number of “Israelis” refusing to serve altogether is on the rise.

The army’s own statistics showed that in 1997 fewer than one in 10 “Israeli” men avoided their mandatory three-year military service. In the years after the 2006 war that number jumped to three in 10, and as the “Israeli” public becomes more critical of the performance of its armed forces, the number of young men and women avoiding the army is steadily rising.

Meanwhile, in an increasingly desperate search for recruits, the “Israeli” military is resorting to murky methods.

In what is being touted as an initiative to integrate “Israelis” with developmental disabilities into society, the military has recruited over 320 soldiers who suffer from Down Syndrome, autism and other cognitive delays.

The program, which involves placing men and women with disabilities into such a lethal institution, notorious for its human rights abuses, is at the very least inhumane.

But according to the CEO of ‘Special in Uniform’, Mendi Belinitzky, “this is ‘Israel'”.

“They happily do everything that the soldiers don’t like to do, and we don’t even have to ask them,” Belinitzky told the Jerusalem Post. “They have more motivation than other soldiers and don’t want to go home, whereas the other soldiers count each moment until they can go home on the weekends.”

Prostitution, drugs and criminal records 

As the number of “Israelis” willing to take up arms dwindles, the number of recruits with criminal records is climbing.

An investigation into a physical assault case at an Air Force base in 2015 revealed that thousands of “Israeli” soldiers committed crimes before their military service, ranging from drug offenses and theft to more violent crimes.

The investigation also found that the “Israeli” army had taken in recruits who had a history of violent physical offenses.

The army attempted to justify the practice by claiming that military service offered a second chance to troubled youths.

However, statistics tell a very different story.

Earlier this year, the Knesset Subcommittee on Combating Human Trafficking and Prostitution revealed that the “Israeli” military has no idea about the extent of prostitution among its soldiers.Data from the “Israeli” Labor and Social Services Ministry found that hundreds of soldiers are involved in prostitution, which brings in an estimated USD 300 million annually across “Israel”.

Meanwhile, “Israel’s” Military Prosecutor announced plans late last year to permit soldiers to smoke marijuana, as long as they’re off-duty when they do so.

The announcement comes as the number of indictments for drug offenses within the “Israeli” military spiked in recent years, culminating in criminal charges being brought against hundreds of soldiers annually.

According to the Haaretz newspaper, 629 soldiers were prosecuted in 2014 alone.

The “Israeli” army – already known to be infested with narcotics – is attempting to change the legal process involving drugs in the hope that the growing number of prosecutions does not tarnish its image further.

An army of mercenaries

During the 2014 Gaza war, the number of “Israeli” soldiers killed in action rose quickly. Most became little more than statistics. Few paid attention to their names or where they came from.

But a closer look reveals that a number of those killed were so-called ‘lone soldiers’ – a term used to describe foreigners who join the “Israeli” army.

Most are recruited by organizations specializing in bringing people to “Israel”. One of these groups is Sar-El, which has branches in many western capitals. A lot of the men and women recruited are non-“Israeli” Jews, many of them American.

“Anyone who loves Israel should volunteer for the IDF through Sar-El. There can be no more meaningful way to support Israel.”– MK Rabbi Dov Lipman (center row, 4th from left

Through the use of clandestine networks, social media, websites and the press, organizations like Sar-El attract people to take part in a variety of programs associated with the “Israeli” military.

Thousands of these foreigners end up serving in the army – the vast majority as paid “Israeli” soldiers on the front line.

The 2006 defeat, combined with years of cutbacks and more importantly soldiers lacking any real motivation and operational experience, produced a withered version of the “Israeli” military.

This new force is not only becoming increasingly reliant on importing its manpower but is also beset by a growing number of highly demoralized and often undisciplined recruits.

Source: Al-Ahed News

26-08-2017 | 08:56

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The psychological warfare is a war plan not a luxury or a slyness الحرب النفسية خطّة حرب لا ترفاً ولا حذاقة

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The psychological warfare is a war plan not a luxury or a slyness

أغسطس 21, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

The Lebanese resistance especially the resistance of Hezbollah in the person of its leader Al Sayyed Hassan Nasrollah has established a school that combines the field war and the psychological warfare, the field deterrence and the psychological deterrence, it has proved its effectiveness at different stations by achieving results that are still valid in making balances for the real forces and the hidden ones which rule the conflict between the resistance and Israel, while many people strive to get the rules of the psychological warfare which pursued by the resistance in order to follow them, but they miss that they are not luxury of academic researchers and they are not  slyness that its features and rulers were set by professional artists but these rules form costly war plan that completes the process of the war once and prior to its process many times, but in every time it has the same cost.

It is a sign of proudest to the resistance and its leader that the Israeli leadership at all the political, military, security, judicial and financial levels ratifies the decision of dismantling the ammonia containers in Haifa in response to the threat of the leader of the resistance as one of the goals of the coming war, as the equation of “Israel is weaker than the cobweb” was one of the titles of the war of July 2006. This equation was launched in the year 2000 during the speech of AL Sayyed Nasrollah from the square of Bint Jbeil, so one of the goals of the war of July is to reach the same square and to put the Israeli flag on the platform from where Al Sayyed Nasrollah talked in order to say Israel is not weaker than the cobweb. But one of the signs of the victory in July is the failure of the Israeli attempt to enter Bint Jbeil and to reach to the platform of the victory and to set the Israeli flag on it.

The cost in the successive episodes of the psychological warfare equations is blood, exhausting efforts, and unlimited preparations, no one dare to say that he will target Ammonia containers but only the one who has the ability to put his threat into effect and to convince his enemy at all his popular and official levels of the credibility of the ability, the seriousness, and the honesty of the implementation of the threat, but before that, the resistance has to put between the hands of those who concerned in decision-making and the public opinion industry of the enemy what make them certain of the honesty, the credibility, and linking the words with the ability and the seriousness of action by having missiles of accurate-injury that are able to destroy, have mobile capabilities in their range, and able to avoid the attempts of repelling them. This means a full war through the exercises of the resistance missiles and the missiles that face the Iron Dome, the banks of opposite objectives and the competing intelligence capacities in reaching more of information, as well as the accuracy in the survey of data. Therefore the psychological war becomes an incentive for a war that has not occurred but it requires blood and capacities that are consumed by a full war.

The equation of ” Israel is weaker than the cobweb” has been put in the year 2000 but it was proven in the year 2006, and the equation of  “we are the people who do not leave our detainees in prisons” has been put in 2001 and it was proven after the war of July 2006 with the setting free of the detainees. Till one of the Israeli Generals of the war during the investigations of Winograd, said that if in the coming war we have the opportunity to get detainees of Hezbollah we have to avoid that, because this will lead us to another war and maybe it will occur in unfavorable circumstances.

The equation of “You want it an open war so let it be” and ” Haifa and beyond beyond Haifa” and the equation of ” we have a lot of surprises for you” all would be valueless if the resistance was not prepared for each one of them a plan that is able to be translated in the field, the ability to wage the open war which the resistance showed in the war of July, the reach of its missiles to beyond beyond Haifa towards the beginning of the war by the surprise of destroying the battleship Saar directly on air in conjunction with the speech of Al Sayyed Nasrollah.

The equation of the war on Syria was ” you will repent of the bet of exhausting us, we will get out of this war stronger, nothing will renounce us from our task against you, what has been prepared for you is accumulating despite the war on Syria” this equation has been proven by the recognition of the Israelis today about the growing force of Hezbollah, Most importantly is that in their consciousness and unconsciousness the equation of the decision of the war on Syria entitled ” we will be where we should be” the Israelis apply it on a comparison of surpassing the borders towards Syria and its moving later towards Palestine, so they will conclude the seriousness of threat through the ground crossing to Galilee or to Golan or to both of them . Now they are making calculated, geographic, and military projections of the military operation of Juroud Aral in each of Shabaa Farms and Golan Heights.

In the speech of victory, Al Sayyed Nasrollah was inspired by dismantling Ammonia containers; so he said: think of Dimona because it is more dangerous, this phrase occupied the headlines of newspapers and the TV channels, it started to turn into an equation of the next psychological warfare. Its historic and strategic importance is that it afflicts the Israeli military ideology which was founded by Ben-Gurion on the basis of the theory of possessing every deadly weapons in compensation for the lack of the opportunities of waging equivalent wars with the armies of the region by Israel due to geography. The nuclear bomb was the goal of Ben-Gurion to protect Israel. Today the Israeli experts have a logic that shows that the narrow geographic range imposes on Israel to get rid of the nuclear and the chemical weapons because their targeting will be a disaster on Israel which it will not be able to use them in any future war.

A resistance makes equations because it makes war, because it was founded and it continues its process with honesty and credibility. Its war’s plan is the origin of its psychological warfare. The one who puts its plans is its leader.  Here his charm and excellence lie due to the feature of honesty, credibility, the symbolism of war and victory, and the alternation between the words and deeds and between a war and another.

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

الحرب النفسية خطّة حرب لا ترفاً ولا حذاقة

ناصر قنديل

أغسطس 15, 2017

– خطت المقاومة اللبنانية، خصوصاً مقاومة حزب الله بشخص قائدها السيد حسن نصرالله معالم مدرسة تزاوج بين الحرب الميدانية والحرب النفسية، وردع ميداني يتزاوج مع الردع النفسي، وأثبتت فعاليتها في محطّات مختلفة بتحقيق نتائج لا تزال تفعل فعلها في صناعة موازين القوى الحقيقية والخفية الحاكمة للصراع بين المقاومة و»إسرائيل». وفيما يجهد الكثيرون لاستخلاص قواعد مدرسة الحرب النفسية التي تنتهجها المقاومة، تمهيداً لاستعارتها يفوتهم أنها ليست ترفاً قام به باحثون أكاديميون، ولا حذاقة أعدّ معالمها وقواعدها فنانون محترفون، بل هي خطة حرب مكلفة متمّمة لفعل الحرب نفسها مرة وسابقة لفعلها مرات، لكنها في كلّ مرة بكلفة الحرب نفسها.

– أليس مدعاة للفخر للمقاومة وسيّدها، قيام القيادة «الإسرائيلية» بمستوياتها السياسية والعسكرية والأمنية والقضائية والمالية كافة بالتصديق على قرار تفكيك مستوعبات الأمونيا في حيفا، كتداعٍ لحملة انطلقت مع تهديد سيد المقاومة بجعلها هدفاً من أهداف الحرب المقبلة، بمثل ما كانت معادلة «إسرائيل» أوهن من بيت العنكبوت واحدة من عناوين الحرب في تموز 2006، وهي معادلة انطلقت في العام 2000 من خطاب النصر للسيد نصرالله من ساحة بنت جبيل، وصار أحد أهداف حرب تموز بلوغ الساحة نفسها وزرع العلم «الإسرائيلي»، حيث كانت منصة السيد نصرالله للقول، لا ليست «إسرائيل» أوهن من بيت العنكبوت، وكان من علامات النصر في تموز فشل المحاولة «الإسرائيلية» بدخول بنت جبيل وبلوغ نقطة منصة خطاب النصر وزرع العلم «الإسرائيلي» فيها.

– في الحلقات المتتالية لمعادلات الحرب النفسية تكون الكلفة دماء وجهوداً مضنية واستعدادات لا حدّ لها، فلا يملك القول باستهداف مستوعبات الأمونيا مَن لا يملك القدرة على وضع تهديده موضع التنفيذ، وإقناع عدوّه بمستوياته الشعبية والرسمية كافة بمصداقية القدرة والجدية والصدق في تنفيذ التهديد، وقبل قول ذلك كان على المقاومة أن تضع بين أيدي المعنيين في مستويات القرار وصناعة الرأي العام لدى العدو ما يجعلهم على يقين من الصدق والمصداقية في القول وربط القول بقدرة وجدّية الفعل، بامتلاك صواريخ دقيقة الإصابة، قادرة على التدمير، متحرّكة القدرات في مداها، قادرة على تفادي محاولات صدّها. وهذا يعني حرباً كاملة، في تمارين صواريخ المقاومة وتمارين مقابلة للقبة الحديدية، وبنوك الأهداف المتقابلة والقدرات الاستخبارية المتسابقة في بلوغ المزيد من المعلومات والدقة في مسح المعطيات، فتصير الحرب النفسية كتلة عصبية متحفزة أنتجتها حرب لم تقع، لكنها استدعت العرق والدماء والقدرات التي تستهلكها حرب كاملة.

– معادلة «إسرائيل» أوهن من بيت العنكبوت وضعت عام 2000 لكنها تثبّتت عام 2006، ومعادلة نحن قوم لا نترك أسرانا في السجون وضعت عام 2001، لكنها تثبّتت بعد حرب تموز 2006 مع تحرير الأسرى، حتى قال أحد جنرالات الحرب «الإسرائيليين» في تحقيقات فينوغراد، إذا تسنّى لنا في حرب مقبلة أن نحصل على أسرى لحزب الله، فعلينا تفادي ذلك، لأننا نجلب على أنفسنا حرباً مقبلة ربما تقع في ظروف غير مؤاتية.

– معادلة أردتموها حرباً مفتوحة، فلتكن حرباً مفتوحة، وحيفا وما بعد ما بعد حيفا، ومعادلة خبأنا لكم الكثير من المفاجآت، كلها ما كانت لها قيمة لو لم تكن المقاومة قد أعدّت لكلّ واحدة منها خطة قادرة على ترجمتها في الميدان، مقدّرة خوض الحرب المفتوحة التي أظهرتها المقاومة في حرب تموز، على بلوغ صواريخها حيفا وما بعد حيفا وما بعد ما بعد حيفا، وصولاً إلى ما كانت عليه بداية الحرب مفاجأة تدمير البارجة «ساعر» على الهواء بالتزامن مع خطاب السيد نصرالله.

– معادلة الحرب في سورية كانت، ستندمون على رهان استنزافنا، فسنخرج من هذه الحرب أشدّ قوة، ولن تصرفنا عنكم فما أعدّ لكم يزداد ويتراكم، رغم الحرب في سورية، معادلة ثبتت باعترافات «الإسرائيليين» اليوم عن تعاظم قوة حزب الله، والأهمّ منها في وعيهم ولا وعيهم معادلة قرار الحرب في سورية وعنوانها سنكون حيث يجب أن نكون، ويقيسها «الإسرائيليون» على مقارنة تخطّي الحدود نحو سورية وتخطّيها لاحقاً نحو فلسطين، فيستخلصون التحسّب لجدية التهديد بالعبور البري إلى الجليل أو إلى الجولان، أو لكليهما، وها هم يقومون بإسقاطات حسابية وجغرافية وعسكرية لعملية جرود عرسال على كلّ من مزارع شبعا والجولان.

حاويات الامونيا

– في خطاب النصر مرّر السيد نصرالله عبارة من وحيّ تفكيك حاويات الأمونيا مضمونها، فكّروا بديمونا فهو أخطر. وهي تحتلّ عناوين الصحف والقنوات التلفزيونية، وقد بدأت تتحوّل إلى معادلة الحرب النفسية المقبلة، وأهميتها التاريخية والاستراتيجية، أنها تصيب العقيدة العسكرية «الإسرائيلية» التي أسّسها بن غوريون على نظرية امتلاك كلّ سلاح فتاك تعويضاً عن قصور الجغرافيا في منح «إسرائيل» فرص خوض حرب متكافئة مع جيوش المنطقة، فكانت القنبلة النووية هدف بن غوريون لحماية «إسرائيل»،

واليوم يسود الخبراء «الإسرائيليين» منطق يقول إنّ المدى الجغرافي الضيّق يفرض على «إسرائيل» التخلص من السلاحين النووي والكيميائي، لأنّ استهدافهما سيجعلهما وبالاً على «إسرائيل» التي لن تستطيع استعمالهما في أي حرب مقبلة.

– مقاومة تصنع المعادلات، لأنها تصنع الحرب، ولأنها تأسّست وتواصل مسيرتها بصدق ومصداقية، خطة حربها هي أصل حربها النفسية، وواضع الخطتين قائدها، وهنا مكمن سحره وتفوّقه بما يختزن من خصال الصدق والمصداقية ومن رمزية الحرب والنصر، وتراكم التناوب بين القول والفعل وبين حرب وحرب.

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Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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