Israel said it responded to a missile attack by Hezbollah in southern Lebanon last week, but the group has distanced itself from the initial aggression and blamed Tel Aviv of essentially looking for a fight.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Israel’s military said it targeted areas in the southern region of Lebanon. The Journal reported that three of the missiles believed to have been launched by Hezbollah fighters landed in Lebanon and 10 were shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome. The six other missiles landed in vacant areas in Israel. The report said Hezbollah said that it unleashed dozens of 122mm rockets in response to strikes from Israel a day earlier.
The Trends Journal has reported on the shadow war being played out between Israel and Iran. Israel sees Iran as an existential threat. (SEE: “ISRAEL TARGETS IRANIAN OIL SHIPMENTS TO SYRIA.”) Last week, in an article titled, “ISRAELI-LINKED TANKER ATTACKED BY DRONE: IRAN BLAMED,” we reported that an armed drone thought to be operated by Iran conducted a deadly strike on a tanker off Oman.
Israel considers Hezbollah its most dangerous rival in the region, but reports indicated that no group took responsibility for the initial attack. The New York Times reported that there were no injuries on either side and the brief conflict seemed to fizzle quickly. Hezbollah struck open fields that seemed intended to limit the response from Israel.
Hezbollah distanced itself from the attack and said in a statement that the missiles seemed to be launched by fighters in a remote area. Ajaj Mousa, a resident from Kfarchouba, which is in the vicinity of the rocket fire, told the Associated Press, “We lived a similar period in the 1970s, when Palestinian fighters were carrying out guerrilla attacks against Israel. We are now in the same status and this is causing tension.”
The AP reported that Tel Aviv believes Hezbollah has over 130,000 rockets that can hit anywhere in the country. An Israeli official told the news wire that Israel is planning for more options after the recent aggression.
“To sit tranquilly in Tehran and to set the entire Middle East on fire from there—that’s over,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told a group of soldiers near the country’s border with Lebanon, The Times reported. He continued, “Iran knows the price that we exact when someone threatens our security.”
Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Hezbollah movement, vowed a “suitable and proportionate” response to any future aggression from Tel Aviv.
“Our response was linked to the Israeli airstrikes that occurred in South Lebanon for the first time in 15 years,” he said on Saturday in a televised speech, according to Al Jazeera. He was celebrating Hezbollah’s self-declared victory in the 2006 Second Lebanon War against Israel.
“We wanted to tell the enemy that any airstrike by the Israeli Air Force on Lebanon will inevitably draw a response, though in a suitable and proportionate way, because we want to serve the purpose of protecting our country,” he said.
Nasrallah called the airstrikes by Israel a dangerous development but said he has no interest in war. The report said the last time Israel launched airstrikes in the country was in 2014.
The Times of Israel reported that Nasrallah said his group chose to launch the rockets during the daytime hours in order to prevent “terrifying Israeli residents.”
“We chose the [Shebaa Farms, which is outside the town of Kafr Shouba] farms because it is a military zone without any civilian farmers. There are other open areas with agricultural workers—we chose everything precisely,” he said.
The report pointed out that Lebanon has been “undergoing a spiraling economic and political crisis” in recent months with some “observers warning the ever-fragile state could collapse entirely.” The Journal also pointed out that Hezbollah is facing “multiple crises” due to the collapse of Lebanon’s economy that is “living through a once-in-a-century economic meltdown.”
The report pointed to the massive explosion in the Port of Beirut in 2020. The report said thefts are up 62 percent and brawls have broken out in supermarkets over bread and sugar due to hyperinflation that topped 400 percent. The World Bank reported that its GDP was down 40 percent from 2018 to 2020. The bank said it could take the country up to 20 years to recover.
Hezbollah is closely aligned to Iran but their ambitions “do not always align symmetrically, the Middle East Institute said.
“Hezbollah’s regional adventurism is most pronounced in its expeditionary forces deployed in Syria and elsewhere in the region, but no less important are the group’s advanced training regimen for other Shi’a militias aligned with Iran, its expansive illicit financing activities across the region, and its procurement, intelligence, cyber, and disinformation activities,” Matthew Levitt wrote. “Together, these underscore the scale and scope of the group’s all-in approach to transforming from one of several Lebanese militias into a regional player acting at Iran’s behest.”
Tensions between Israel and its neighbors are high after recent attacks at sea.
Mercer Street, which is a Liberian-flagged product tanker, was attacked while in the Arabian Sea on 29 July. Two crew members were killed. There was no cargo on board, according to CNN. The report said the ship is Japanese-owned but managed by a company owned by Israeli shipping tycoon Eyal Ofer. The U.S., U.K., and Israel have blamed Iran for the attack.
“All available evidence clearly points to Iran,” the G-7 foreign ministers said Friday. “There is no justification for this attack.”
The Times reported that tensions between Israel and these Iran-backed groups are at a high after the drone attack. The paper pointed out that there have been similar attacks in recent months that have not received international attention. An Emirati merchant ship was boarded by eight or nine armed men. The Guardian reported that “maritime security sources” blamed Iran, but Tehran has denied the charge.
“According to information from security sources, Iran’s armed forces and all branches of the Islamic resistance in the Middle East have nothing to do with the incident in the Gulf of Oman,” Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said in a statement, according to The Guardian. Iran said the allegations are an attempt by Israel to “prepare the public opinion of the international community for hostile action against the honorable nation of Iran.”
The U.S. Central Command released images of the drone parts and said evidence points to Iran. The Journal reported that officials from the European Union assigned blame to Iran and called it a “deliberate and targeted attack, and a clear violation of international law.”
The Journal reported that there was a joint statement that said, “All available evidence clearly points to Iran. There is no justification for this attack.” The paper reported that the U.S. could not pinpoint where exactly the drones originated but the distance “from the Iranian coast to the locations of the attacks was within the range of documented Iranian one-way attack UAVs.”
TRENDPOST: “All available evidence,” like the little vile of nothing that U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, flashed at the United Nations to deceive the world that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Once again, the U.S. is ready to incite and support more wars.
Will Israel attack Iran? Read “Major Israeli Strike Imminent?” in the Featured Article section of this issue, by Daniel McAdams, Executive Director, Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.
TREND FORECAST: Should military tensions between Israel and Iran escalate and war breaks out between the two nations, oil prices will spike to well over $100 a barrel, which will, in turn, spike inflation rates and trigger a global equity market crash. It will also mark the beginning of World War III.