“Without the Resistance, the [Lebanese] army is nothing, and it’s the same with the Resistance,” a member of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, using a euphemism for the group, told NBC News on Saturday.
This would be the latest indication of the total political and military control Hezbollah exerts over Israel’s northern neighbor.
Since Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces [LAF] carried out joint operations against ISIS in northeastern Lebanon this past summer, “the LAF’s cooperation with Hezbollah was no secret,” NBC reported.
In addition to its threat to Israel, “at the behest of Iran, Hezbollah has been quietly training thousands of Shiite militiamen in Iraq and even Yemen, spreading its military might across the region and leading to concern that Iran might be trying to remake the Middle East, with Hezbollah as Iran’s enforcer,” the report observed.
A Hezbollah commander confirmed this assessment by saying, as he pointed to a makeshift map of the Middle East, “This is Iraq, and next to it is Syria. Before, Saddam was in Iraq, and then the Americans came, so that path was closed. Now we’re with the Hashd al-Shaabi [Shiite militias in Iraq], and we practically control Syria. The Shia Crescent they were so afraid of — we stepped on their noses and created it. There is now an open road from Tehran to Dahieh.” Dahieh is a southern suburb of Beirut that is controlled by Hezbollah.
Below is the the footage from NBC that shows members of Hezbollah near the border with Israel. This would be in violation of United Nations Security Council resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, The Times of Israel reported Monday.
Hezbollah’s threat to Israel has increased in recent years due to its participation in the Syrian civil war backing the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
“In the last five years, there is a huge, dramatic change in the tactical, but also operational capabilities of this organization as a fighting organization. You find yourself with an organization that is working with military formations – battalions, brigades – that has a command and control structure that has dramatically changed,” General (Res.) Eli Ben-Meir, the former Chief Intelligence Officer of Israel’s military told CNN.
Last month, the head of the IDF Intelligence Directorate, Maj.- Gen. Herzi Halevi, told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Hezbollah’s grip on Lebanon was tightening and that UN forces charged with enforcing the peace on the border of Israel and Lebanon needed to do a better job of preventing a new war from breaking out between Hezbollah and Israel.
The IDF Chief of Staff, Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, accused the UNIFIL’s leadership for failing to endorse its mandate, while Hezbollah is preparing a new for war, “arming itself with more lethal and accurate weapons to harm the Israeli home front.”
[Photo: NBC News]