Sunday, January 18, 2015


Israeli towns that are potential targets of Hezbollah
If you are not closely following developments in the Middle East, you should know that an Israeli Air Force helicopter-borne missile strike attacked two armored vehicles in the Quneitra area of the Syrian Golan Heights today (Sunday). This action, which was reportedly conducted by Israel to eliminate an anticipated terrorist attack on targets in the Israeli Golan, is believed to have resulted in a total of ten Lebanese and Iranians killed in action.

Reports from the region are incomplete, but this much is known:

(1) The dead include at least five members of Hezbollah, including a high-ranking officer, whose identity has not yet been released, but who is believed to be Mohammed Issa a/k/a Abu Issa, a senior field commander in Syria. Inasmuch as Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, recently publicly denied that his organization had any troops in the Golan, the disclosure that the attack killed four other Hezbollah agents of military age will probably be received poorly in Lebanon.

(2) One of Hezbollah dead is Jihad Mugniyah, known to be in charge of Hezbollah activities in the Golan involving Israel. he is the son of Imad Mugniyah, the former senior Hezbollah military commander, whose targeted death, in Damascus in 2008, has been attributed to Israeli action. The US had a $25m reward posted for the capture of Imad Mugniyah, who was responsible for at least 20 terrorist operations, including the bombing of the US Embassy and Marine Barracks.

(3) Others in the list of those deceased include a general in the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps Al-Qods Force (IRGC), and other IRGC soldiers. The colonel was reportedly a senior advisor to Hezbollah. He has been identified by Iran as General Mohammed Ali Allahdadi. There are also unconfirmed reports that the IRGC intelligence chief for all foreign territories was also among the dead.

Hezbollah has declared many times, since 2008, that Mugniyah's death will be avenged, and the question arises: was this Hezbollah's intended response ? It has declared a three-day period of mourning, regarding the deaths in Quneitra. Internal politics, from within Hezbollah, will pressure the leadership to respond with military action.

Add this to what Israeli commentators have stated is a realignment of Hezbollah troops, placing them directly opposite the Israeli portion of the Golan, as a prelude to possible terrorist attacks against Israel, and you have a perfect storm of risk: Hezbollah military attacks, on two fronts, from Lebanon, and from Syria. Other experts state that The Assad Regime in Syria has intentionally displaced Al Nusra fighters in the region, so as to give Hezbollah sufficient area in the battle space to operate against Israel in the Syrian Golan.

Though Hezbollah is burdened with its role in the existing conflict in support of Assad, it is doubtful that it will ignore this latest action, and Israel will them be compelled to to respond. Already, Israel has increased its alert status; the looming national elections in Israel may also cause the present government to make it a hard reply, leading to escalation, and possible full-scale war, between Israel and Hezbollah.

I recently warned our readers that Lebanon stood on the brink of armed conflict in 2015, and that the next Israeli-Hezbollah war will result in widespread damage to Lebanon's financial center, both involving infrastructure, as well as communications, interfering with its ability to connect with the global financial structure. if you have any ongoing relationship with Beirut banks, or your major clients do, it is suggested that you have contingency plans in place, should yet another war break out on the southern border of Lebanon, and your assets, or receivables, be in jeopardy.

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