Hezbollah, Israel preparing for new war , report

hezbollah training for war

BEIRUT, LEBANON- Under Israel’s wary eye, Hezbollah has ramped up the scope of its military training in east and south Lebanon, another sign that the militant group is girding for a future confrontation with Israel, which it has blamed for the assassination of a senior commander in Lebanon.

The camps, which include firing ranges, assault courses and urban warfare sites, are training thousands of new recruits to the organization. They are clearly visible from the air, a reversal of tactics by an organization that for two decades had trained covertly in order to avoid detection by Israeli spy planes.

The construction of new camps, one of which covers over 7 square miles of rugged mountains, underlines the expansion of Hezbollah’s fighting force since 2006 when it last fought openly with Israel. That they are an open secret in Lebanon, and elsewhere in this volatile region, speaks to the group’s apparent confidence that Israel is not about to launch a frontal attack, such as air strikes, for fear of sparking a new war.

“We don’t underestimate our enemy and we take care when we train. But let them [the Israelis] hit us and see what will happen,” says Hajj Ali, veteran Hezbollah combatant using his nom de guerre, or battlefield alias. He called it a “balance of terror” between the two sides.
While Israel does not seem to be targeting the camps, Hezbollah’s military commanders remain a target. Late Tuesday, Hassan Laqqis, a veteran commander, was shot dead outside his home in southern Beirut, a killing that the group has blamed on Israel. An Israeli Foreign Ministry official denied involvement.

Laqqis was the most senior Hezbollah military figure to be assassinated since the February 2008 car bombing that killed Hezbollah’s then-military chief, Imad Mughniyah.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah, which gets extensive support from Iran, has evolved from a band of resistance fighters three decades ago into a military powerhouse and a political organization with an extensive social welfare network. However, its main focus remains Israel, which it calls an illegitimate occupier of Arab lands.

In the 1990s, the organization confronted Israel’s military on a daily basis in southern Lebanon. On June 2, 1994, Israeli helicopters and jets swooped on an unprotected training camp in the Bekaa Valley in a surprise nighttime attack that killed over 40 recruits. It subsequently switched to using forested hillsides on the opposite side of the valley, abandoning permanent structures for tents and foxholes.

This covert pattern of training continued up until the month-long war in 2006. Since then, Hezbollah and Israel have maintained a wary calm along the border even as both sides prepare for a future clash.

Hezbollah recruits undergo initial training in Lebanon, learning how to use rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, as well as map reading, reconnaissance and ambush skills. More advanced training is carried out at military bases in Iran.

Western intelligence agencies first noticed the appearance of visible training facilities in areas under Hezbollah’s control in 2008. The initial camp in the eastern Bekaa included a small urban warfare site, a firing range and a suspected training track for drivers. The fact that the facility was clearly visible to Israeli spy aircraft and satellites raised speculation that it could have been a decoy site.

Since then, other training camps have sprung up across the Bekaa Valley and in south Lebanon. Although the camps are built in remote regions under Hezbollah’s control, they can be observed on Google Earth.

One camp lies sprawled across hills in southern Lebanon, the entrances barred by armed checkpoints. It includes several firing ranges, a suspected Improvised Explosive Device range, an assault course and numerous small accommodation buildings roughly the size of shipping containers and hidden beneath trees.

In 2010, a former defense attache at the Dutch embassy in Damascus attempted to access the camp, apparently out of curiosity, but was stopped by uniformed Hezbollah guards, according to diplomatic sources in Beirut. Also present, according to the sources, was an Iranian officer wearing the uniform of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps. The English-speaking Iranian officer sent the diplomat away.

Guerilla raids

The construction of simple urban warfare facilities may indicate that Hezbollah fighters plan to launch guerrilla-style raids into northern Israel in the event of another war. Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, hinted at this tactic two years ago.

“The major accomplishment of the Resistance is that it complicated the possibility of Israel occupying Lebanon,” he said in a February 2011 speech. “Even more, today, Israel is concerned that Hezbollah might liberate Galilee… I tell the Resistance fighters to be prepared for the day when war is imposed on Lebanon. Then the Resistance leadership might ask you to lead the Resistance to liberate the Galilee.”

Two propaganda videos released this year show Hezbollah fighters storming mock-up buildings decorated in Israel’s blue-and-white national flag. The exercise appears to have been staged at the Janta facility, based on comparisons of the footage and satellite imagery on Google Earth.

The largest urban warfare training facility was built in 2012 on the western flank of the Bekaa Valley. It includes two larger versions of a parallel “street” layout at the Janta facility, with multi-room roofless buildings. It also includes a mock up of a typical “Arab” village of roofless cinder block buildings, most of them single-story.

Syrian conflict

The timing of the Janta facility’s construction came as Hezbollah’s stepped up its involvement in Syria’s civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad, suggesting it was built for this purpose. The facility, which was observed at a distance by a Monitor reporter, lies in Hezbollah-controlled area and its existence is widely known by local residents.

Israel isn’t sitting by idly as Hezbollah rebuilds. Israeli bombers have staged at least five air strikes this year against arms storage sites in Syria. The attacks reportedly targeted advanced weapons systems, such as air defense missiles, long-range rockets, and anti-ship missiles that were believed to be awaiting transfer to Hezbollah.

However, Israel has refrained from striking targets in Lebanon, either because it cannot locate Hezbollah’s arms depots or out of concern that a strike could trigger a hotter conflict. While Hezbollah feels emboldened to build visible camps, its stash of rockets and missiles remain carefully hidden.
“We are masters of disguise otherwise all our weapons depots would be up in flames by now,” Hajj Ali says. “Sometimes we let the Israelis see something, and hide well what we don’t want them to see.”

CSM

  • 5thDrawer

    Sad that it’s the only game in town. Train for death.
    Could be why there’s no other job prospects …
    One could revise that quote, however …
    “Sometimes we let the World see something, and hide well what we don’t want them to see.”
    The world sees the Nazi salute. Nothing is truly hidden.

    • bypest

      You have seen too much Jewish movies of WWII and not enough of Rome to know that there is no such thing as a “Nazi salute.” We could call it, at that rate, an American salute.

      • 5thDrawer

        But you know why they changed it. And we all know why Hezzy uses it.
        As the article says, it became an embarrassment of humanity.

        • dateam

          The Kataeb party was formed in 1936 as a Maronite paramilitary youth organization by Pierre Gemayel who modeled the party after Spanish Falange and Italian Fascist parties[1][2] he had observed as an Olympic athlete during the 1936 Summer Olympics held inBerlin, then Nazi Germany.[3][4] The movement’s uniforms originally included brown shirts and members used the Nazi salute…

          • 5thDrawer

            Thank you Dateam … not exactly like the ‘Boy Scout’ movement. 😉

      • Guest

        The Hezbollah salute is not as erect as the Nazi fascist one. Heil Nazirilla.

  • 5thDrawer

    Sad that it’s the only game in town. Train for death.
    Could be why there’s no other job prospects …

    • bypest

      You have seen too much Jewish movies of WWII and not enough of Rome to know that there is no such thing as a “Nazi salute.”

      • 5thDrawer

        But you know why they changed it. And we all know why Hezzy uses it.
        As the article says, it became an embarrassment of humanity.

        • dateam

          The Kataeb party was formed in 1936 as a Maronite paramilitary youth organization by Pierre Gemayel who modeled the party after Spanish Falange and Italian Fascist parties[1][2] he had observed as an Olympic athlete during the 1936 Summer Olympics held inBerlin, then Nazi Germany.[3][4] The movement’s uniforms originally included brown shirts and members used the Nazi salute…

          • 5thDrawer

            Thank you Dateam … not exactly like the ‘Boy Scout’ movement. 😉

          • 5thDrawer

            Thank you Dateam … not exactly like the ‘Boy Scout’ movement. 😉

      • Guest

        The Hezbollah salute is not as erect as the Nazi fascist one. Heil Nazirilla.

  • tallo

    Hezis are training to kill more Sunni in Syria as well as in Lebanon now.

    • Peaceforleb

      Well, If the Sunni’s terrorists cant walk the walk, then maybe they should have never talked the talk. These animals asked for this. Now they need to prepare for the pain.

      • 5thDrawer

        If you consider it’s a 9 to 1 ratio, the Shiites need more and bigger weapons from Iran.

        • libnan1

          The proud the few.

        • Peaceforleb

          That won’t be a problem 5th. Plenty of weapons on hand.

  • tallo

    Hezis are training to kill more Sunni in Syria as well as in Lebanon now.

    • Peaceforleb

      Well, If the Sunni’s terrorists cant walk the walk, then maybe they should have never talked the talk. These animals asked for this. Now they need to prepare for the pain.

      • 5thDrawer

        If you consider it’s a 9 to 1 ratio, the Shiites need more and bigger weapons from Iran.

        • libnan1

          The proud the few.

        • Peaceforleb

          That won’t be a problem 5th. Plenty of weapons on hand.

  • Fauzia45

    Preparing for a new war??What folly!!!It seems those who have power understand ^exactly one thing ,violence^ as Chomsky said.Tragic indeed!!!!!!!

  • Fauzia45

    Preparing for a new war??What folly!!!It seems those who have power understand ^exactly one thing ,violence^ as Chomsky said.Tragic indeed!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I believe the the ever so popular false acusations and the provoketive acts which are hezzies exercising against israel could be a huge mistake as israelis are known they are an aggrassive nation and will not hesitate to strick in a sense which
    ( better now then then later of a growing threat )

  • Anonymous

    I believe the the ever so popular false acusations and the provoketive acts which are hezzies exercising against israel could be a huge mistake as israelis are known they are an aggrassive nation and will not hesitate to strick in a sense which
    ( better now then then later of a growing threat )

  • cook

    Hows liberation of Aleppo going bouhahahhaaha

  • Heraclitus

    Hows liberation of Aleppo going bouhahahhaaha

  • Heraclitus

    Hows liberation of Aleppo going bouhahahhaaha

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    The only adversaries the Jews have ever had were the pharaoh’s and all the others are just kidding themselves and the people. The Babylonian king Nabuchandeser, the Persian kings Darius and Cyrus all were in cahoots with the Jews, and till this day the Saudi’s and the Khomeini’s along with the western leaders all cooperate with the Jews. They sell their people and protect the jews, the rest is all a smoke screen like as if H.A is keeping Israel at bay….pull the other one.

    • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

      ….mmmmmmm As great as that would be, I think you have gotten the wrong end of the stick…just a little bit.

  • Maborlz Ez-Hari

    The only adversaries the Jews have ever had were the pharaoh’s and all the others are just kidding themselves and the people. The Babylonian king Nabuchandeser, the Persian kings Darius and Cyrus all were in cahoots with the Jews, and till this day the Saudi’s and the Khomeini’s along with the western leaders all cooperate with the Jews. They sell their people and protect the jews, the rest is all a smoke screen like as if H.A is keeping Israel at bay….pull the other one.

    • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

      ….mmmmmmm As great as that would be, I think you have gotten the wrong end of the stick…just a little bit.

  • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

    Israel is always preparing for war. It’s one of the perks of being almost universally despised in the region.

  • Adam Yonatan Ben Yoel

    Israel is always preparing for war. It’s one of the perks of being almost universally despised in the region.

  • Mike Rodriguez

    May Israel continue to be the toughest country in the world! Its enemies are like picnic ants.

  • Mike Rodriguez

    May Israel continue to be the toughest country in the world! Its enemies are like picnic ants.