A comprehensive assessment of Hezbollah’s military capability.
Christian Science Monitor Beirut correspondent Blanford (Killing Mr. Lebanon: The Assassination of Rafik Hariri and its Impact on the Middle East, 2006, etc.) provides a detailed account of the origins and development of the irregular military force called Hezbollah, which calls itself Lebanon's “national resistance,” but is under at least partial strategic direction of Iran and its Revolutionary Guard. Documenting a different kind of capability than that usually associated with terrorist groups, Blanford argues that Iran has spent billions on Hezbollah to expand its own deterrence posture and retaliatory options. It is a capability Ariel Sharon's former security advisor Giora Eiland says “we cannot defeat” without defining Lebanon as Israel's enemy. In the area south of Beirut, different generations of weapons systems have been developed and tested since the 1980s, and elicited counter efforts by Israel as a proxy for Western technology. After each round of open war, Hezbollah has been re-equipped after drawing the technological and military lessons from what preceded. Blanford argues that present capabilities, maintained in violation of UN disarmament resolutions, are more advanced than ever. New types of missiles and anti-aircraft systems have been deployed since 2006, made possible by treaties with Syria and Iran from 2005. There is also Hezbollah's increasing political involvement in Lebanon, especially now that the organization has been implicated in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
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