Hizbullah actions may not follow rhetoric: analysts

By Sultan al-Barei in Riyadh

Hizbullah supporters wave flags as Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech on a screen in Beirut's southern suburbs on January 5th. [Anwar Amro/AFP] 

Hizbullah supporters wave flags as Hassan Nasrallah delivers a speech on a screen in Beirut's southern suburbs on January 5th. [Anwar Amro/AFP] 

Despite its bombastic rhetoric, Lebanon's Hizbullah is not likely to follow through with its threats to carry out acts of vengeance following the killing of top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, security experts said.

Though Hizbullah is backed by Iran and is affiliated with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) militias in the region, it understands that any such act would have severe negative repercussions on it, they told Al-Mashareq.

Any act of retribution would directly harm Hizbullah's presence and interests in both Lebanon and the region.

Hizbullah is not likely to engage in any malign actions outside its current area of operations due to many considerations, said political analyst Abdul Nabi Bakkar, who specialises in Iranian affairs.

These include its lack of desire to expand the geographic area and scope of ​​its current military operations, in which it would become fully engulfed were it to make such a move, he told Al-Mashareq.

There are many other considerations, he said, including concerns that the Lebanese people, including its own supporters, could turn against Hizbullah and Iran's influence in the event of an attack on US forces in Syria and Iraq.

Current political pressures on Hizbullah preclude it from embarking on any course of action that could lead to its exclusion from the political arena, in which it has spent more than three decades establishing itself, Bakkar said.

Lacking in military strength

Hizbullah is the main, practical engine of all IRGC proxies throughout the region, and is very close to decision-making circles in Tehran.

But it does not possess the same level of military strength as its adversaries in the region, said Iranian affairs researcher Sheyar Turko, pointing to the recent reinforcement of US land and maritime forces in the region.

Meanwhile, he said, the IRGC and its proxies will face a period of confusion and instability without Soleimani, who controlled all details, at the helm.

Soleimani's successor, Brig. Gen. Esmail Qaani, will need quite some time to consolidate the same level of influence and control as his predecessor, he added.

For all these reasons, Hizbullah will not take any escalating steps that will draw heat to it and open closed doors, despite the direct threats issued by Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah, said military expert Yahya Mohammed Ali.

The current balance of power leans in favour of the US and allied forces, he told Al-Mashareq, despite Iranian propaganda that attempts to assert otherwise.

The current situation was preceded by a reinforcement of US land, sea and air bases in the Gulf, which ensures the US now has the upper hand, he noted, while the IRGC is considerably weakened.

Hizbullah has drawn its power from Soleimani, he said, noting that it may take a long time to establish an effective relationship with his successor.

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Whoever defies Hezbollah will lose a lot.


Don’t you feel ashamed?! An Arab analyst who is belittling the capabilities of the Lebanese Arab Hezbollah and that of the Iranian Arab Revolutionary Guards forces that honoured Islam! You even brag about America and its power and how it’s more powerful! O, brainless Arab analyst, don’t you read the Quran? Haven’t you heard about the Quranic verse that says “How many a small company has overcome a large company by permission of Allah”?! Second: It’s the resistance forces that are calling for revenge for the pure blood. And no nation that has pledged to God to fight against injustice and oppression may deviate from this course, as you did, o, Al Saud who are poor in souls and great deeds.


Wrong analysis.