Reflects Arab unease with Iran’s Lebanese proxy
This is pretty big political news, signaling a larger Arab versus Iranian divide.
The Arab League had just declared that Hezbollah, the Iranian proxy which dominates Lebanon and fights for Assad in Syria, is a terrorist organization.
The Arab League has declared Lebanese movement Hezbollah a “terrorist” group, only days after the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) adopted the same stance.
The move came during the Arab League foreign ministers’ meeting at the organisation’s seat in Egypt’s capital Cairo on Friday.
Nearly all 22 Arab League members supported the decision, except Lebanon and Iraq which expressed “reservations”, the bloc said in a statement read out at a news conference by Bahraini diplomat Wahid Mubarak Sayar.
“The resolution of the League’s council [of foreign ministers] includes the designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group,” the statement said.
Hezbollah, a Shia political organisation with an armed wing, fights in neighbouring Syria to support the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Hezbollah has amassed a reported 100,000 plus rockets and guided missiles, hidden in civilian areas in Lebanon:
As Israel prepares for what it sees as an almost inevitable next battle with Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese organization that fought a monthlong war against Israel in 2006, Israeli military officials and experts are warning that the group has done more than significantly build up its firepower since then.
Maps and aerial photography provided to The New York Times by Israeli military officials this week illustrate, they say, that Hezbollah has moved most of its military infrastructure into the Shiite villages of southern Lebanon and around their perimeters. Israel says this amounts to using the civilians as a human shield….
Effectively, the Israelis are warning that in the event of another conflict with Hezbollah, many Lebanese civilians will probably be killed, and that it should not be considered Israel’s fault….
Israel says the situation is similar in the Gaza Strip, where, it says, Hamas is using the same tactic of hiding its forces among civilians.
“Historically, armed forces have separated themselves from the population, in uniform,” the senior Israeli military official said. “This is not the case here or in Gaza.” He accused Hezbollah of cynically using civilians.
Israel also seems to be trying to pre-empt or deflect the inevitable international censure that comes with civilian casualties.
Hezbollah recently has threatened to target ammonia tanks in Haifa harbors to kill tens of thousand of Israelis, and also to invade northern Israel in the next conflict.
Israel, for its part, has threatened retaliation far more massive than the 2006 war it Hezbollah starts trouble, IDF can put Lebanon back 300 years if Hezbollah attacks, officer tells Saudi paper:
A senior IDF Officer told a Saudi newspaper on Monday that “the IDF could put Lebanon back 300 years and in parallel conquer the Gaza Strip and destroy all of its infrastructure.” The officer told journalist Majdi Halbi of the Elaph news site that despite the IDF capability, the army is subject to the political echelon that in the officer’s estimation will not order such action.
Regarding Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s threat to target the ammonia plant in Haifa, the officer said Israel was prepared for such an attack and was aware that its strategic infrastructure could be cut off during a confrontation with the militant Shi’ite organization.
“The organization [Hezbollah] and its leader know very well what Israel’s reaction will be, so it will not set out on such an adventure,” he said.