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Looming War
Hezbollah Withdraws from the Syrian Border

Hassan Nasrallah’s latest anti-Israel blustering could be regarded as typical for the Hezbollah leader; on Thursday, he promised, as he so often does, that Hezbollah will rain destruction on Israel in any future conflict. The circumstances under which he made his latest threat bear keeping in mind. As Reuters reports:

Nasrallah said Hezbollah was pulling out of areas along the Lebanon-Syria border, suggesting that the group had helped make the area secure.

“Along the eastern Lebanese border there is no longer a need for our presence, so now we have dismantled and will dismantle (our) remaining military positions. The mission has been accomplished … from now on (this area is) the responsibility of the state,” he said. [….]

Nasrallah said Syria’s conflict had reached a “new and critical phase” with insurgents severely weakened, and that Damascus, Moscow, Tehran and Hezbollah were “in more harmony politically and militarily than at any time”.

While neither Hezbollah nor Israel appear to be keen for renewed conflict, Hezbollah’s eventual withdrawal from the Syrian war presents a strategic dilemma for Israel. By all accounts, Hezbollah’s fighters in Syria have been among the most effective in the conflict, and their return south of the Litani will greatly strengthen the group along Israel’s border. Their presence might just be enough to lend credence to Nasrallah’s threat that part of the next war might be fought on Israeli soil—a possibility that the IDF reportedly takes quite seriously and is preparing for.

As effective as Iron Dome may be against rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza, Hezbolla’s larger and more sophisticated arsenal may be able to simply overwhelm Israeli defenses. Another Israeli-Hezbollah conflict would certainly be more bloody than the last, but Israel will face a tough choice as its enemies regroup whether to strike sooner or risk facing a much more able foe later on.

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  • D4x

    The news so laconically reported by TAI is that, on Thursday, May 11, 2017, Hezbollah turned over border crossings to the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah is still part of Lebanon’s government. Yes, good news, but hardly proof of Hezbollah’s “eventual withdrawal from the Syrian war.”

    “…Hezbolla[h]’s larger and more sophisticated arsenal..”, is in complete violation of UNSC Res 1701, the ceasefire from 2006 that forbad Hezbollah’s re-arming. That complete disregard for the UNSC has led to as many 150,000 missiles, now with underground rocket factories, all financed by Iran, with a technical ‘assist’ from North Korea.

    If TAI can not bother to understand the nexus of Hezbollah-Iran-Syria-Jordan-Israel, might want to not insult subscribers with something some of us expect in the fiction section of the NYT.

    How long before a mainstream news source notices what happened Sunday night: “US, UK, Jordanian forces enter S. Syria” DEBKAfile Special Report May 15, 2017, 10:34 AM (IDT)

    “US special forces, together with British and Jordanian elite troops, moved into southern Syria late Sunday, May 14. They were acting
    to counter the Syrian-Iranian scheme to nullify the American plan for posting Jordanian forces in southeastern Syria, which timed for the days before US President Donald Trump’s trip to the Middle East.

    The US-led armored force with British and Jordanian units crossed from northern Jordan through the Tanf Border-Crossing between the Hashemite Kingdom, Iraq and Syria, and took up positions capable of consolidating their control of the main road between Palmyra and Baghdad. Some of their moves were coordinated with Israel.

    This push aimed at countering the drive in the last few days by hundreds of Syrian troops, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Hizballah’s Radwan special forces, with tanks and heavy equipment, to take over the town of Sabaa Biyar. Located in sparsely desert territory, this town lies 110km west of the Syrian-Iraqi border, 95km north of the Syrian-Jordanian border and 128km east of Damascus.

    On Sunday, too, the Israeli Defense Forces launched a large-scale military exercise in the Galilee and Golan regions close to its borders with Syria and Lebanon. The war game may well run over its final date in order to keep a substantial military force poised on along Israel’s northern borders, in case of attempts to disrupt the Trump visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel from May 22 to May 24.

    Other military movements in the region this week were taken by the Iraqi army and Iraqi Shiite militias under the command of Iranian
    Revolutionary Guards officers. Iran continued to pour additional troops into Damascus through the Baghdad-Damascus highway, on the one hand, while, on the other, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi offered Washington two of his army’s divisions, which would be sent into Syria to support US military operations in the southeast. …”
    http://debka.com/article/26055/US-UK-Jordanian-forces-enter-S-Syria

    Meanwhile, Hezbollah is still on the Golan, making the multi-lateral negotiation with Russia a huge issue:

    From May 11, 2017: “Moscow this week responded to Israel’s concerns about posting Iranian and Turkish officers on its borders to monitor the potential “de-escalation” zones Russia is proposing for Syria. In respect of those concerns, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources reveal that Russia agreed in high-level contacts in the last few days to replace them with Russian military officers in the Mt. Hermon region and the areas where Israeli, Lebanese and Syrian borders meet. The proposal also calls for the expansion of the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), which supervises the cease-fire between Israel and Syria on the Golan. …”
    http://debka.com/article/26047/Russian-monitors-for-Syrian-Golan—not-Iranians

    • ——————————

      Great article D4.
      Perhaps you should be writing the ME articles for TAI.

      BTW, there is no “fiction section” in the NYT. Accept for the ads, it is all fiction….

      • D4x

        TY, even though Debka is considered slightly unreliable. Other news reports are on the 24-nation military exercise in Jordan, but Gen. Dunford was on the ground, and there is no way Jordan, or Israel, or the USA, would allow Hezbollah on Jordan’s border. Plus, most likely still a lot of Druze there, around Deraa.

        It’s not just TAI. NYT’s fiction on Israel’s ME has become received wisdom throughout American media, supported by the ‘white male history evil imperialism/colonialism’ taught throughout academia.

        The dilemma now is writers not digging a bit for background; to see linkages. There are several news bits about Lebanon’s government for me to see the linkages. THIS story signaled that Lebanon had to reassert Lebanese Army legitimacy. The timing strongly suggests Tillerson-Lavrov-Trump-Putin, all talking about this the day before; made sure the Lebanese government did THIS.

        No one should make light of any war, not one where ‘bombing back to the stone age’ is a stated option, only one side is held to comply to UNSC dictates; and, the other side, Hezbollah, specializes in murdering U. S. Marines.
        Hezbollah translates: “Party of Allah”, party of the theocracy.

        Nasrallah does not “bluster”.

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