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memri
April 30, 2015 No.
6039

Board Chairman Of Pro-Hizbullah Lebanese Daily: Hizbullah Has Established Resistance Infrastructure In Syrian Golan In Cooperation With Locals

On April 26, 2015, the Israeli Air Force eliminated four terrorists who were laying an explosive charge on the Israel-Syria border in the Golan. Two of the terrorists were former residents of the Druze village Majdal Shams in the Israeli Golan who had moved to Syria.

Two days after the incident, the board chairman of the pro-Hizbullah Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar, Ibrahim Al-Amin, wrote an article on the opening of a front against Israel in the Golan, and on the involvement of Hizbullah and of local Golan residents in this activity.

The following are excerpts from his article.[1]  


Ibrahim Al-Amin

Al-Amin: The Laying Of The Explosive Device Was An Expression Of A Decision To Open A Resistance Front In The Golan

Al-Amin implies that the April 26 operation was an expression of a decision by the resistance axis to open a front against Israel in the Golan,[2] and was part of ongoing activity by the resistance in that region. This activity came to light following the January 18, 2015 Israeli airstrike on two vehicles in the Quneitra region, which resulted in the death of several Hizbullah operatives and of an Iranian official, and following Hizbullah's retaliatory attack, on January 29, 2015, on an IDF convoy in the Sheba'a Farms area, in which two Israeli soldiers were killed.

Al-Amin writes: "...Now it is Syria's turn [to join the resistance]... What has happened and is still happening is part of a long chain [of events]. One of the links [in this chain] was the day when the enemy assassinated the martyrs of Quneitra [January 18, 2015], and the resistance's subsequent response on the ground in the occupied Sheba'a Farms [area], as well as the political response of Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, who spoke of opening a new front not just against Israel, but also for the resistance, which is now committed to more comprehensive action aimed at defending itself, enhancing its abilities, expanding the scope of its action, and carrying out operations that will be more painful for the enemy."[3]

Al-Amin says that, in contrast to Hizbullah's presence in other parts of Syria, which is intended mainly to defend Bashar Al-Assad's regime, its presence in southern Syria is part of a plan to expand the resistance against Israel to this region: "The main reason for Hizbullah's interest in the regions of southern Syria has to do with the front against the [Israeli] enemy, though Hizbullah is [also] actively and seriously involved in the struggle to defend Syria and its regime."

Hizbullah Has Established A Resistance Infrastructure In The Golan Based On Locals; Despite Fighting In Syria, Hizbullah Is Not Neglecting Struggle Against Israel

Al-Amin notes that Hizbullah operatives are present in the Golan and have established a broad and solid infrastructure there that includes forming units, training them and selecting targets. This infrastructure, he says, is based on locals from the Syrian and Israeli Golan that have enlisted to carry out attacks against Israel. He also assesses that the unit which had carried out the April 26 operation was affiliated with Hizbuallah. Al-Amin writes: "What poses a real problem for Israel, and for the Syrian armed [fighters] who support it, is that Hizbullah knows how to get the best results. Regardless of Hizbullah's connection to the heroes who were martyred the day before yesterday [April 26], what worries the enemy and helps the resistance is [the fact that] those carrying out the direct military action [against Israel] are local Syrians [from the Golan], whether they live in the part occupied by Israel or in the part [Israel] is occupying by means of the armed [rebels] who collaborate with it.

"Tomorrow, the definite findings of the investigation will reveal the flaw that had led to the discovery of the unit [that planted the explosive charge on the border], and reveal whether it was the result of a leak, some mishap on the ground, some special Israeli surveillance apparatus, or [the work of] collaborators with the enemy. The findings [of the investigation] will serve as a lesson for the people directing these operations, helping them to meet the next challenges, and will also compel the martyrs' comrades to [achieve] higher levels of skill and accuracy [in the future]."

"Moreover, if anyone says that this operation was a one-time [burst] of enthusiasm, or something of the sort, [there is no doubt that] what happened was the most powerful demonstration of...  what frightens the enemy, namely that the young in these region are showing readiness to carry out the most dangerous missions against the occupation forces. They not only defy the apathy that has prevailed on this front for the past decades, but prove that all the forms of normalization and oppression that prevailed in the Golan and its surroundings have not extinguished the fire of resistance in people's [hearts]. They also prove that the existence of Syrian collaborators sponsored by the [Israeli] occupation forces will not help [Israel] prevent the resistance fighters from arriving where they are needed. They prove that all the modern military and security means employed by the enemy in this region will not help [the enemy] to prevent the resistance fighters from reaching the areas closest to where the occupation forces are moving. This in itself explains the enemy's concern and its statements that the next operation [against it] is only a matter of time...[4]

The Other Tasks Of The Resistance Do Not Keep It From Its Mission Of Hurting Israel

According to Al-Amin, the April 26 operation, and other operations by Hizbullah, prove that despite this organization's involvement in fighting the rebels in Syria and in other Arab countries, it has not lost its way, as some of its opponents claim, and has not abandoned its ideology and the reason for its existence, namely the struggle against Israel: "...The enemy knows better than anyone else that, though the resistance is occupied with battles inside Syria, and though these battles require much [manpower] and gear, this does not distract [the resistance] from the mission of hurting [Israel]. This task will always find people to perform it, regardless of [what is happening] on other fronts. These people have enough time to reconnoiter, prepare units, train, choose targets and carry out operations. This in itself is the best and most powerful answer to those who delude themselves that the resistance has lost its way."

Hizbullah Holds The Initiative In The Golan

Al-Amin admits that opening the Golan to resistance activity constitutes a change in the status quo, and states that this move enables Hizbullah to surprise Israel, trap it and keep the initiative exclusively in its own hands: "The day the enemy attacked the vehicles of the Hizbullah resistance fighters near the occupied areas in Syria [i.e., the January 18, 2015 airstrike in Quneitra], [Israel's defense] minister Moshe Ya'alon said that this operation had thwarted Hizbullah's plan in the area. He knows, of course, that the martyrs were not on their way to carry out a military or security operation [on that day]. But what he and other interested parties realize is that the mere proximity of Hizbullah resistance fighters to the occupied Golan [is a fact that] has many implications..."

Al-Amin added: "Even if [Israel] wants to accept this reality [of a resistance front in the Golan], it is more interested in trying to lay down the rules of the game in this region. But the new [development] is that it no longer knows what the response of the resistance will be. This failure to formulate a full [intelligence] assessment may lead [Israel] to make foolish mistakes, which will enable the resistance not only to trap and ambush it here and there, but to deprive it of the exclusive initiative on this front - and that is the most important thing." 

 

 Endnotes:

 

[1] Al-Akhbar (Lebanon), April 27, 2015.

[2] This decision was taken by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah already in March 2013. On the activity by Hizbullah and by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in the Golan, see Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1138, "Following Killing Of Hizbullah Operative Jihad Mughniyah, New Information Comes To Light Regarding Hizbullah, Iranian Activity In Syrian Golan On Israeli Border," January 28, 2015.

[3] On Nasrallah's declaration about the unifying of the Lebanon and Syria fronts, and on the criticism it evoked in Lebanon, see MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis No. 1147, "Lebanese Elements Furious Over Hizbullah's Activity In Golan, Shebaa Farms, Critical Of Nasrallah's Statements About Uniting Lebanese, Syrian Resistance Fronts," March 11, 2015.  

[4] Probably a reference to statements made in January 2015 by Gen. Itay Baron, former head of the IDF Military Intelligence research section, that terrorist operations in the Golan are only a matter of time. Israelhayom.co.il, January 16, 2015.