Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group is an army with ‘infantry, rockets, tanks, elite forces,’ building tunnels, military bases for future war
Hezbollah has more than 10,000 fighters in southern Syria ready to confront Israel, a commander for the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group has said.
“Hezbollah has over 10,000 fighters deployed in southern Syria. Hezbollah is an army of infantry, rockets, tanks, elite forces,” the Hezbollah officialtold the Middle East Eye website this week, amid tensions surrounding the shooting down by the Israeli Air Force on Tuesday of an Iranian-built drone launched by the group as it attempted to cross into airspace.
The commander said the fighters were based in areas surrounding the Golan Heights and that tunnels and military bases were being built for a possible confrontation with Israel
“We are operating as we do in south Lebanon, but of course in a veiled manner,” he said.
Speaking of the truce in southern Syria, under the auspices of Russia and the United Nations, the commander said that the “de-escalation plan is better for us. We are working with more freedom, there are no more bombings.”
The commander said that the next war with Israel may start from Syria but “what really matters is where will it end, will it be in Netanya, Haifa or Kiryat Shmona?”
On Tuesday, Israel used a Patriot missile to shoot down the drone launched by Hezbollah and scrambled fighter jets to the area where the device was set to cross into Israeli airspace, but ultimately did not need to use them as the interceptor missile was able to destroy the target.
The Patriot interceptor missile was launched from a military installation in northern Israel, near the city of Safed.
After the drone breached the “Bravo line” that marks the Syrian border and entered the demilitarized zone — but not Israeli airspace — the IDF “decided to intercept it,” army spokesperson Lt. Col. Yonatan Conricus said Tuesday.
In a statement, the IDF said it “will not allow any infiltration or approach toward the Golan Heights area by terrorist figures from Iranian forces, Hezbollah, Shiite militias or Islamic Jihad.”
According to Conricus, the air force monitored the unmanned aerial vehicle from its take-off at Damascus airport to the demilitarized zone that separates the Israeli and Syrian Golan Heights.
“We monitor everything that flies toward the State of Israel and follow it closely for any potential threat,” he said.
Conricus said Military Intelligence was able to identify the drone as Iranian-built and Hezbollah-launched based on the army’s arrays of sensors in the area and its years of experience monitoring the group.
The spokesperson said the drone appeared to be performing reconnaissance mission in the area. It was not immediately clear if the drone was armed.
Shortly after the incident, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned that any country or terrorist group that threatens Israel will “pay a dear price, very dear.”
The debris from the drone landed near the Syrian city of Quneitra so the IDF was not able to recover it, he said.
The Patriot missile system was designed by the United States to intercept incoming missiles and aircraft. It has been deployed in Israel since the 1990s, but first saw anti-aircraft combat during the 2014 Gaza war, when a battery shot down an unmanned Hamas aircraft over the port of Ashdod.
Israel has long been concerned by its nemesis Iran’s ongoing efforts to establish itself in southern Syria, near the Golan Heights.
Jerusalem fears that the Iranian presence in that area would serve as a springboard for terrorist groups to attack Israel in the future.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly been negotiating with his counterparts in the United States and Russia to establish an Iran-free area around surrounding the border, but to no avail yet.
Earlier this month, tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers participated in the largest military drill since 1998, simulating war with Hezbollah for 10 days.
Soldiers run to a helicopter during an exercise in northern Israel simulating a war with the Hezbollah terrorist group in September 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
The exercise was named “Or HaDagan” after Meir Dagan, a former Mossad chief and IDF general who died last year.
Israel last fought a full-scare war with Hezbollah in 2006’s Second Lebanon War, and tensions have remained high even as the northern border has remained relatively quiet since.
This exercise was touted as a chance to practice failures or military shortcomings exposed during the war.
Led by Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah is believed to have an arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 short-, medium- and long-range missiles and a fighting force of some 50,000 soldiers, including reservists.
While Israeli military officers often discuss a future conflict with the terrorist group as a matter of “when, not if,” the assessment of the IDF is that Hezbollah is not currently interested in renewed warfare with Israel at present, due to its active involvement in the Syrian civil war, which have caused it significant strategic problems.
A common but mistaken reading of the current strategic situation in the Middle East presents the region as approaching the end of a period of instability. The “return of the Arab state” is one of the more arresting refrains that this perspective has produced.
According to this view, the wars in Syria and in Iraq are drawing to a close. The defeat of the Islamic State in these countries represents the eclipse of the political ambitions of Salafi jihadi Islamism for the foreseeable future. Assad is set to restore his repressive but stable rule in Syria. In Iraq, the firm reaction by the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to the Kurdish bid for independence has ended prospects of the imminent fragmentation of the country. In Lebanon, attempts by Sunni jihadis to export the Syrian war have failed, and all is quiet.
In July 2016, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria (pictured in front at center)—the leader of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church—hosts Ignatius Aphrem II (left), patriarch of Antioch and All East of the Syriac Orthodox Church, and Aram I, head of Lebanon’s Catholicosate of the Great House of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
While Christianity traces its birthplace to the Middle East, that region has been arguably the most hostile area for the religion in recent years. A new report by the Christian charity group Open Doors has found that most of Israel’s neighbors, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinian territories, are among the world’s most dangerous places for Christians.
Kingdom says Jerusalem agreed to pay compensation over deaths of three people, in order to end diplomatic standoff
Jordanian protesters wave national flags and chant slogans during a demonstration near the Israeli embassy in the capital Amman on July 28, 2017, calling for the shutting down the of the embassy, expelling the ambassador, and canceling the 1994 peace treaty with Israel. (AFP PHOTO / KHALIL MAZRAAWI)
Israel is paying $5 million in compensation to the families of two people shot dead by an Israeli embassy guard last year, as well as a Jordanian judge killed in a 2014 incident, diplomats in Jordan told the al-Rai newspaper Saturday.
Ultra-Orthodox women and children attend a ceremony to welcome new Torah scrolls in a neighborhood of Jerusalem, Oct. 1 2014.
Reuven K., who is about 30 years old, is an ultra-Orthodox Hasidic man who lives in Betar Illit, one of Israel’s most prominent ultra-Orthodox localities. Reuven studies in a yeshiva, a Jewish school for Talmudic learning, but works half of each day as a wholesale merchant selling religious ritual supplies. His wife, Bracha, works as a bookkeeper in a governmental institution.
Palestinian boss Mahmoud Abbas recently declared that Israel is “a colonial enterprise that has nothing to do with Jewishness.” Moses, King David and thousands of years of Jewish history would disagree. Israel and the Jews are part of the story of human civilization. Over 50% of the human race has a holy book that tells of the Jewish journey to Israel. That includes Mohammed’s own copy of the Koran.
Israel isn’t a “colonial enterprise.” Palestine is.
Anyone who wants to find out where the name Israel comes from can open the Book of Genesis 32:29. The story even appears in Islamic hadiths. But where does “Palestine” really come from?
It may not be a shooting war. For the most part. (Though don’t tell that to some Republicans at a charity game practice who were targeted by a Bernie Sanders supporter.) But it’s a war all the same.
The war is still being fought with paper and protests. But it’s based on irreconcilable differences between parts of the country. Much like the ones that brought on the war between brothers.
This is a topic that I’ve written about quite often over this past year. Rush Limbaugh saw fit to read and promote some of those pieces. And now I’ll be giving a talk on the subject at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Conference in Myrtle Beach, SC. It’ll take place from Jan 20-22. I’m scheduled to speak on the 21st, but there are plenty of other great speakers there.
The speech was loud and clear. It wasn’t just the “may your house be demolished” curse that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas fired at the leader of the strongest world power. It was the utterly delusional ideology, with false claims that only make the Palestinians sink deeper into a path of delusions and collapse.
The reactions were predictable: We have to understand him. He’s under a lot of pressure. He has no political horizon. The Palestinians are desperate. He didn’t really mean it.
A document drafted by members of the global Christian community convening at the 3rd International Christian Forum held in Moscow, detailed how over the past 10 years the Middle East’s Christian population has shrunk by 80 percent and warned that unless current trends are reversed Christianity “will vanish” from its ancient homelands in a few years’ time. Around the year 2000, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, whereas today there are only 100,000, roughly a 93 percent drop, the document notes. In Syria, the largest cities “have lost almost all of their Christian population.”
Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, has delivered a speech triggered by his rage at the President of the United States Donald Trump, going so far as to hurl the most bitter curse in the Arabic language at the POTUS: “May your house be destroyed.”
This imprecation does not merely relate to someone’s present home, but to all the members of his family being thrown into the street to lead lives of destitution, humiliation, and shame. Only someone familiar with Middle Eastern culture understands the real significance of this curse.
The 1964 presidential election was the second in which I voted. Lyndon Johnson who had succeeded John Kennedy was running against Barry Goldwater. I didn’t like either candidate: Johnson’s personal characteristics were obnoxious, though he had achieved much, especially in the area of civil rights; Goldwater’s personal characterizes seemed fine, but I disapproved of his conservative political views.
I was shocked to read an article in Fact magazine, based on interviews with more than 1,000 psychiatrists, which concluded that Goldwater was mentally unstable and psychologically unfit to be president. It was Lyndon Johnson whose personal fitness to hold the highest office I questioned. Barry Goldwater seemed emotionally stable with excellent personal characteristics, but highly questionable politics. The article was utterly unpersuasive, and in the end, I reluctantly voted for Lyndon Johnson. Barry Goldwater went back to the Senate, where he served with great distinction and high personal morality. Lyndon Johnson got us deeply into an unwinnable war that hurt our nation. The more than 1,000 psychiatrists, it turned out, were dead wrong in their diagnosis and predictions.