FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Is Israel Winning “The War Between The Wars” with Hezbollah/Iran?

by

Israeli commanders, stationed along Syria’s southern border and the Golan Heights and Quneitra Valley, with some of their forces now operating daily more than 14 km inside Syrian territory, are reportedly expressing a fair bit of confidence these days.

One reason is that they believe that Iranian-Hezbollah forces are losing the high stakes struggle to win the hearts and minds of Syria and Lebanon’s civilian population. A conflict referred to by Israel and some others in the region as the “war between the wars.”  A contest which has undergone some dramatic changes in recent months. The idea of the war between the wars involves Tel Aviv’s calculation that Israel needs to operate, far beyond Israel’s borders if necessary, to contain Iran and Hezbollah.

And as tensions escalate across the Syria-Israel border, the IDF is trying to win over some of its Syrian civilian population enemies. On 11/1/2017 the Israeli military announced that henceforth it will protect certain Syrian Druze towns such as Hader, located just across the Israel-Syria border from Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights. Whether the attacks on the Druze villages are by jihadists or pro-government militia. The Druze communities in Syria, Lebanon and Israel have publicly welcomed this protection while some pro-Zionist groups are claiming another ‘hearts and minds’ victory for Palestine’s occupiers.

Another element related to “the war between the wars” was reiterated last week by members of the US Congressional Israeli lobby explaining that Israel is now able to stop virtually all of Iran’s arms shipments to Hezbollah in Lebanon. And additionally that Israel’s military knows the location of hundreds of small-sized Hezbollah military/weapon bases across Lebanon and monitor them hourly. More than 122 attacks on Iran-Hezbollah convoys or weapon depots over the past few years being mainly small signature, late-night-early morning bombings are claimed to be major successes. Lobby spokespersons emphasize that Israel will continue this measure with likely impunity because serious retaliation from Hezbollah or its allies would mean major escalation which Tehran cannot risk.

In addition to claiming that Iran and Hezbollah are now largely contained in Syria, Israeli officials apparently believe that time is on Israel’s side during a cold war but not during a hot one.  This, as the war in Syria continues to kill evermore Iranian and Hezbollah fighters creating political problems for both among their population bases.

Israel, as part of the cold war is also expanding its recruitment of additional intelligence sources. The alleged intensive spy recruitment is focusing on Hezbollah neighborhoods across Lebanon as many in the formerly supportive population continue losing faith in the “Resistance “and succumbed to large sums of cash-no questions asked- being offered by Washington and Tel Aviv. Several claimed Israeli spies have been arrested by Hezbollah and Lebanese intelligence agents. In the past year hundreds of Israelis have started making pilgrimages to holy sites in Lebanon using special “Palestinian passports” issued with the cooperation of Israel’s government and accepted by Lebanon’s. Groups comprising approximately 50 people, spend a week in Lebanon on trips discretely organized under the radar by Christian clergymen.

Hezbollah suspects that some of the ‘pilgrims’ may be spies and their movements, from the moment of arrival at Beirut’s Hariri airport are closely monitored. Especially when the Israeli’s make ‘side-trip’ contacts with Lebanese Christian ‘ Pilgrimage representatives’ or while on ‘shopping trips.’

Israel is also recruiting spies among Syrians, particularly in South and North Syria and recently has taken to revealing ID’s and personal information of Hezbollah and Iranian commanders that earlier would not be disclosed. One example is last week the IDF “outed” Munir Ali NaimShati, (known in this observers Dahiyeh neighborhood of Haret Hreik as Hajj Hashem) the head of Hezbollah’s southern command in Syria. Mr. Shati is in charge of Hezbollah’s

3000-plus fighters in southern Syria and of the “Resistance” project to establish a military base near the Israeli border in the Golan Heights.

Several Iranians IRCG officers, as well as Hezbollah’s Jihad Mughniyeh (son of Imad, Hezbollah’s military commander killed in Damascus in 2008 by a joint CIA-Mossad operation) and Samir Kuntar, were killed in 2015 allegedly by Israeli air strikes. Some claim both were killed by friendly forces for political reasons. Some hold Iran’s Al Quds force of responsibility for the killings in order to send a message to Hezbollah’s leadership about towing the Tehran line more assiduously. Another claimed victim of the same Tehran-Dahiyeh tension was Mustafa Badreddine, whose role was being in charge of Hezbollah forces since the beginning of the rebellion in 2011 when Hezbollah quickly entered Syria. He was allegedly killed in May of 2016 on orders of Iran’s IRGC commander Qassim Soleimani. Badreddine reportedly complained that Al Quds commander Qassim Soleimani, a political rival of Nasrallah’s, was sending Hezbollah fighters needlessly to their death in Aleppo’s front to spare risks to Tehran’s IRGC fighters.

Some of Hezbollah’s recent actions involving its erstwhile unquestioning Shia supporters in Lebanon have also encouraged Tel Aviv in ‘the war between the wars.’ One example was documented on 10/23/2017  when Lebanese police, green-lighted by Hezbollah, raided unlicensed street vendors near the main headquarters of Hezbollah, resulting in vitriolic expressions of discontent targeting the Party of God. Lebanon’s  politicized Internal Security Forces (ISF) supportive of Hezbollah, was instructed to use bulldozers to demolish stores in the Hay al-Sollom neighborhood, where the residents for years have sold coffee and mobile phones. In reaction to the destruction of their livelihoods, scores of mainly Shia residents poured into the streets and began burning tires and blocking roads. Several of the protesters were shown on Lebanese media cursing, not the Lebanese government, but rather condemning Hezbollah and its leader Hassan Nasrallah, who they blamed for the loss of their livelihoods and involvement in Syria’s civil war. One woman addressed Nasrallah directly after she discovered her shop — her family’s only source of income – a pile of rubble: “We all provided martyrs for you in Syria. I have three injured sons. And this is how you’re treating us?” Another man yelled at the camera, “Syria can go to hell, along with Hassan Nasrallah!”

One veteran Lebanese journalist, HaninGhabber explained recently: “It is no coincidence that this exceptional act of revolt occurred in one of Dahiya’s poorest neighborhoods. As much as the Syria war has changed Hezbollah militarily and expanded its regional role, it has also changed the Lebanese Shia community and its perceptions of the group. Class divisions in Dahiya are more drastic than ever — the poor neighborhoods are providing fighters while the upper middle class and rich neighborhoods are benefiting from the war. “

Some Lebanese analysts argue that Hezbollah is paying the price for getting involved in Syria on orders from Tehran. And part of that price is its lost image as a “Resistance” organization as well as costing the lives of thousands of young Shia men. And since Hezbollah became focused on fighting in Syria, it could no longer offer law and order given the growing number of the drug cartels, petty criminals, and illegal construction and growing lawlessness. Shia street clashes are increasing in Dahiya and criticisms of Hezbollah are escalating. Lebanese Shia seeks a reasonable livelihood and basic services and have little interest in Hezbollah’s battle against so-called “Takfires” in Syria.
Israel’s accelerating “Hearts and Minds” initiatives in South Syria are also undermining support for Hezbollah and Iran. In early 2013, seven injured Syrians appeared at the border fence separating Syria from Israel, pleading for help. Israeli forces, after deliberations that reportedly reached some top military and government officials decided to treat the Syrians who reportedly would have died without immediate emergency medical care.

Four years later, the IDF claims it is providing medical and food assistance and various types of humanitarian aid to thousands of Syrians both inside Syria and within Israel as part of what it calls its “Good Neighbor” policy. An Israeli official defines this initiative as intended to assist desperate Syrians ravaged by years of civil war, and in the process stabilize the border region by showing Syria’s heretofore enemy population that Israel is not, in fact, the devil. Reportedly, no ID’s are asked for by Syrian’s arriving at the border and medical teams are advised not to inquire about patients political affiliations.

The destitute population in South Syria, some rebels and some supporters of the government, as well as increasing numbers who claim to be apolitical, plus countless thousands of internally displaced Syrians, are learning of Israel’s “Good Neighbor” policy. Consequently, the number seeking and receiving aid is growing.  One reason is the failure over the past seven years of the International Community to deliver humanitarian aid including food, water, clothing, and medical aid to Syria’s besieged civilian population.

Whether this is a significant advantage for Israel in its still cold war against Iran and Hezbollah remains to be seen, but it is unlikely to be a game changer given the deepening involvement in Syria of regional and global powers.  As well as the fact that all sides continue to largely ignore the Syrian civilian population unless a clear political advantage is certain to result.

More articles by:

Franklin Lamb volunteers with the Lebanon, France, and USA based Meals for Syrian Refugee Children Lebanon (MSRCL) which seeks to provide hot nutritional meals to Syrian and other refugee children in Lebanon. http://mealsforsyrianrefugeechildrenlebanon.com. He is reachable c/o fplamb@gmail.com.

November 20, 2017
T.J. Coles
Doomsday Scenarios: the UK’s Hair-Raising Admissions About the Prospect of Nuclear War and Accident
Peter Linebaugh
On the 800th Anniversary of the Charter of the Forest
Patrick Bond
Zimbabwe Witnessing an Elite Transition as Economic Meltdown Looms
Sheldon Richman
Assertions, Facts and CNN
Ben Debney
Plebiscites: Why Stop at One?
LV Filson
Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine
Thomas Knapp
Impeachment Theater, 2017 Edition
Binoy Kampmark
Trump in Asia
Curtis FJ Doebbler
COP23: Truth Without Consequences?
Louisa Willcox
Obesity in Bears: Vital and Beautiful
Deborah James
E-Commerce and the WTO
Ann Garrison
Burundi Defies the Imperial Criminal Court: an Interview with John Philpot
Robert Koehler
Trapped in ‘a Man’s World’
Stephen Cooper
Wiping the Stain of Capital Punishment Clean
Weekend Edition
November 17, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Thank an Anti-War Veteran
Andrew Levine
What’s Wrong With Bible Thumpers Nowadays?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb
Wendy Wolfson – Ken Levy
Why We Need to Take Animal Cruelty Much More Seriously
Mike Whitney
Brennan and Clapper: Elder Statesmen or Serial Fabricators?
David Rosen
Of Sex Abusers and Sex Offenders
Ryan LaMothe
A Christian Nation?
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Finger on the Button: Why No President Should Have the Authority to Launch Nuclear Weapons
W. T. Whitney
A Bizarre US Pretext for Military Intrusion in South America
Deepak Tripathi
Sex, Lies and Incompetence: Britain’s Ruling Establishment in Crisis 
Howard Lisnoff
Who You’re Likely to Meet (and Not Meet) on a College Campus Today
Roy Morrison
Trump’s Excellent Asian Adventure
John W. Whitehead
Financial Tyranny
Ted Rall
How Society Makes Victimhood a No-Win Proposition
Jim Goodman
Stop Pretending the Estate Tax has Anything to do With Family Farmers
Thomas Klikauer
The Populism of Germany’s New Nazis
Murray Dobbin
Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?
Jeiddy Martínez Armas
Firearm Democracy
Jill Richardson
Washington’s War on Poor Grad Students
Ralph Nader
The Rule of Power Over the Rule of Law
Justin O'Hagan
Capitalism Equals Peace?
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: From the Red Sea to Nairobi
Geoff Dutton
The Company We Sadly Keep
Evan Jones
The Censorship of Jacques Sapir, French Dissident
Linn Washington Jr.
Meek Moment Triggers Demands for Justice Reform
Gerry Brown
TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?
Robert Fisk
The Exile of Saad Hariri
Romana Rubeo - Ramzy Baroud
Anti-BDS Laws and Pro-Israeli Parliament: Zionist Hasbara is Winning in Italy
Robert J. Burrowes
Why are Police in the USA so Terrified?
Chuck Collins
Stop Talking About ‘Winners and Losers’ From Corporate Tax Cuts
Ron Jacobs
Private Property Does Not Equal Freedom
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail