A war between Israel and the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah is inevitable and will likely be “more violent and destructive” than previous conflicts, according to a report released on Wednesday by former senior defense officials, known collectively as the High Level Military Group (HLMG).
In the report, Hezbollah’s terror army: How to prevent a third Lebanon war, the officials describe Hezbollah as being “widely considered to be the most powerful non-state armed actor in the world.” The terrorist organization, which is in complete political and military control of Lebanon, “has the political clout of a government, the firepower of an army and the strategic approach of a terrorist organization,” according to their assessment.
According to The Times of Israel, the report, released at an event at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, assesses both the IDF’s and Hezbollah’s strategies and capabilities 11 years after the Second Lebanon War, the last time Israel and Hezbollah engaged in all-out combat with one another.
The HLMG believes that a war with Hezbollah is not imminently on the horizon, as the terrorist group is still fighting at the behest of Iran in Syria, where the regime in Tehran is sponsoring Bashar al-Assad with weapons, money and fighters. However, the experts warn “its actions and propaganda suggest that it considers its ability to fight a war with Israel as a given.”
The HLMG further notes that “The timing of such a conflict is likely to be determined by miscalculation as much as decision-making in Iran and Lebanon.”
The group said that should such a war break out, it will be brutal and bloody for both sides, due to the improvements Israel and Hezbollah have made to their respective military capabilities in the interim.
The report further notes that Hezbollah’s expanded weapons stockpiles are embedded among the civilian population of Lebanon, a deliberate strategy which the defense experts call a “war crime.” In this context, the HLMG also expresses significant criticism of the United Nations for its “evident severe failure” to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.
The HLMG brings together several former army chiefs of staff from Western nations, including from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Colombia, India, and Australia.
[Photo: PBS NewsHour / YouTube]