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November 4, 2014 12:42 pm

Hezbollah Threats to Israel ‘Emboldened’ by Improved American-Iranian Ties, Expert Says

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Photo: Wiki Commons

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah has delivered a fiery speech emphasizing that the Lebanese Shi’a terrorist group is ready for a renewed war with Israel, despite the fact that much of its military resources are being consumed in its defense of Bashar al Assad’s regime in Syria.

“Israel’s threats of another war on Lebanon do not stem from its power because it has lost hope and is concerned,” Nasrallah said in a televised address to hundreds of thousands of Shiites gathered in Beirut’s southern suburbs following the traditional march to mark the Ashura holiday.

On the contrary, “the resistance is a real threat to Israel,” he said, according to a report on the Naharnet website.

Nasrallah reiterated that Hezbollah “is fully ready in southern Lebanon” despite the presence of the party’s fighters in Syria.

Hezbollah’s secretary-general also pledged that the Shiite organization’s rockets would force Israel to close its sea ports and main airport in the next conflict.

“Israelis are saying in the media that they would have to close down the Ben Gurion Airport and the Haifa port and yes, that’s true,” said Nasrallah, Lebanon’s Daily Star reported.

“You should close all of your airports and your ports because there is no place extending on the land of occupied Palestine that the resistance’s rockets cannot reach.”

A leading Middle East analyst in Washington, DC told The Algemeiner that Nasrallah’s brazenness was partly triggered by the improvement in relations between the US and Iran, Hezbollah’s main sponsor.

“Clearly, the new regional environment created by an American detente with Tehran has not tamed Hezbollah’s worst instincts, but is emboldening them,” said Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and an expert on Iran and Hezbollah.

Asked if Nasrallah’s threat should be taken seriously in military terms, Ottolenghi observed that Hezbollah has “long range missiles, and has been getting better and better over the years in terms of military capability.” Ottolenghi pointed out that the failure of the United Nations to disarm Hezbollah in accordance with successive Security Council resolutions is another worrying factor.

“But the real problem is political – we are in a situation where the US is acquiescing to Hezbollah’s defense of the Assad regime in Syria,” Ottolenghi continued. “Rather than countering Iran and its proxies, the US is giving them free rein, which is why they are so bold in their statements.”

Hezbollah’s most recent attack on Israel took place on October 7, when two Israeli soldiers were wounded by a bomb planted along the Lebanese border. In a statement to the media after the attack, Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem called the incident a message, noting, “Even though we are busy in Syria [defending the Assad regime] and on the eastern front in Lebanon [battling Sunni militants], our eyes remain open and our resistance is ready to confront the Israeli enemy.”

Analyzing the meaning of the October 7 attack, Dr. Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy noted in a briefing that the message behind the bombing “was likely aimed at Hezbollah’s domestic audience as much as Israel.” Wrote Levitt: “The Lebanese public may be forgiven for thinking that the group’s attention is focused solely on Syria at the moment. Nasrallah has issued numerous statements affirming Hezbollah’s commitment to the war next door, and while he has been careful to note that the group is ‘defending Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria,’ it is difficult to sell the idea that fighting Sunnis in Syria constitutes defending Palestine.”

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  • Matt

    Back to the old line of why Hizbullah existence resistance to Israel protection of Lebanon. It has been a hard sell the intervention in Syria the mounting loss. So it is rally the base. They tried to link the two defense of the Syrian regime and Hizbullah core values to limited effect. One thing as with Qaddafi when these groups or regimes are in trouble they direct rhetoric and aggression toward Israel or the Palestina conflict. Hasan has little say as to whether Hizbullah fights in Syria or when Israel goes to war with Lebanon. It is all Iranian fingerprints. .

  • Michael Fox

    ISIS would like to take a big bite out of Mullah Nasrallah and Hezbollah. Hard to know which Islamic terrorist organization is worse. My vote is for a long sustained war between the two.

  • Helena

    Arabs, therefore Hezballah also, always have this kind of language. I would not take it seriously. They will just continue as they always did.Hezballah is too busy in Syria and it would be madness to start a new war at this moment. What happens later , when the Syrian war is over, is another matter.Even then , they will have to renew their energy etc. before they start something new.

  • Dr.M.Otero

    We’d like to believe that a Republican win would ultimately change the direction of US foreign policy on Israel, but this appears to be a policy devised long before O’s administration. The apparent mismatch between Mr. O and Bibi was a bit of theatre and a genuine fear that Israel would attack Iran and spoil the US plans to drop Egypt,Saudi and Israel. Anticipating this eventuality, Israel has been developing its startup inventive successes in Japan, India and China. The only US concern will be a resumption of a Russia/Egypt arrangement which may be bought off with military equipment and some transfer of needed technologies.

  • Jonah

    Jeremiah 30:7