Hezbollah, feeling cornered, may start war with Israel this summer, report says

Unnamed diplomats say that the terror organization feels besieged and may try to break out by engaging the IDF.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Due to its internal problems in Lebanon, the Hezbollah terror organization could unleash war on Israel this summer, the Saudi Arabian paper Okaz reported on Thursday.

According to the article, unnamed Western diplomats say that “all data and reports indicate the possibility of a war” because the Iran-backed group “feels that it is besieged.” Moving on Israel, they told the daily, could be a way of “turning the tables and shuffling the deck.”

As part of the Lebanese government, Hezbollah is facing an unprecedented crisis as the country is reeling economically. The Lebanese pound has lost over 40 percent of its value on the black market, and banks have clamped down on the amount of money people can withdraw since they don’t have enough currency in their reserves.

For the first time in history, Beirut defaulted in March on its sovereign debt payments, with government officials saying it was more important to have money for food and medicine for their people

The most recent blow was the start of new American sanctions on Syria last week, which penalize any country that does business with Bashar al-Assad’s government. Reacting to the implementation of the U.S. Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah said that it would force Lebanon even deeper into financial crisis, as Syria is Lebanon’s only land-based trade route to the world as well as a vital trading partner in and of itself.

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He blasted the United States, saying it was trying to use these economic means to force Lebanon into falling in line with American policy and pressure Hezbollah into giving up its weapons, which he vowed they would never do.

“Our weapons will remain in our hands. We will not go hungry and we will kill you,” he said angrily but ambiguously during a televised speech that lasted over an hour and a half.

The diplomatic sources in the Okaz report said that a summer confrontation on Israel’s northern border could include Syria as well.

Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed forces are known to be on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, presenting a danger even if Bashar Assad is not that interested in opening another front while still engaged in battles to reunite his country.

Israel has regularly struck their military installations, such as factories where the terror group is trying to add precision guidance components to their vast collection of missiles so that its strikes would be exponentially more deadly than in the past.

The IDF ground forces have also not been standing idly by. Just last month, its paratrooper brigade carried out an intense, four-day exercise in the North, and it was no secret that it was to prepare for war against Hezbollah.

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The war game “attempts to simulate the challenges that we will experience on the battlefield, in context of the enemy, the terrain, and also in the mental, professional, and cognitive aspects,” paratrooper commander Oded Ziman said at the time.

On the go for 96 hours, the soldiers practiced taking over built-up areas and neutralizing rocket positions, while taking into account the tunnels that are assumed to crisscross southern Lebanon and the possibility that Hezbollah forces will try to infiltrate Israeli villages across the border.