As the conflict in Syria winds down, Hezbollah is itching for a new fight. Israel is always their favorite target. Although about 2,000 Hezbollah terrorists were killed in Syria in support of Bashar Assad, it is estimated that 15,000 (excluding “reservists”) still exist. They have been “hardened” by the war in Syria.
Hezbollah is also flush with arms and missiles from Iran. Israeli officials report that Hezbollah has 17 times more rockets than it did in the 2006 war against Israel – known as the Second Lebanon War. During that war, a total of 3,970-4,228 rockets, mostly Katyusha, were fired at Israel. Hezbollah fired over 100 rockets per day over a 34-day period. Not only does Hezbollah have many more rockets, but it has many more with a much longer range. Hezbollah’s chief terrorist Hassan Nasrallah boasts that he has rockets that can reach anywhere in Israel including its nuclear reactor in Dimona.
Hezbollah has been a bad actor in the Middle East since it bombed America’s Marine barracks in 1983, killing 241 American GIs. In the Second Lebanon War of 2006, Israel contained Hezbollah (Israel lost 121 soldiers, including the hero Roi Klein who jumped on a grenade to save his platoon, including former MK Yoni Chetboun), but it did not destroy them. In order for peace to take hold in the region, Hezbollah must be removed from the scene once and for all. Israel has bombed weapons shipments to Hezbollah from Iran on occasion. Israel has stepped up this practice of late. Israel bombed shipments to Hezbollah in March of 2014, bombed a weapons depot near Damascus Airport in April 2017, and recently bombed supply lines from Iran to Hezbollah in November 2017.
In order for peace to take hold in the region,
Hezbollah must be removed from the scene once and for all
Iran has also stepped up its shipments to Hezbollah ever since President Obama gave over 100 billion dollars of sanction relief as part of the terrible Iran Deal. Iran currently is trying to divert attention from its internal problems. Hezbollah is their main proxy in the area. Iran may just use them to “wag the dog” to take the heat off of the uprising in Iran. Iran is the main sponsor of terrorism worldwide. Dealing with Iran will ultimately be the linchpin to Middle East stability.
Support for the uprising in Iran is essential. The United States had the opportunity in 2009 with the Green Revolution, but President Obama did not capitalize on the situation. President Trump has a unique opportunity now. In the meantime, Israel has to keep an eye on Hezbollah as Iran begins to divert attention. President Trump is up to the task.
I believe that just as the Iron Curtain fell under President Reagan, Iran’s mullahs will fall under President Trump. The world will be a much safer place when that happens.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.