Israel National News (Link) - Gavriel Queenann (June 22, 2011)
Lebanese terror organization and political force Hizbullah is preparing for a possible war with Israel as a means of shifting Western pressure away from the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, the Lebanon Daily Star reported Wednesday.
Citing sources close to the radical Shiite terror organization, which has a powerful militia armed by Damascus and Iran, the Star said Hizbullah is watching the unrest in Syria with alarm and is determined to prevent Assad, their ally and protector, from being ousted from power.
Hizbullah supported pro-democracy movements that toppled Western-backed leaders in Tunisia and Egypt as a means of furthering radical Islam, but officials close to the movement say it will not stand idly by as international pressure mounts on Assad to yield to protesters.
�This is a battle for existence for Hizbullah and it is time to return the favor of Syria�s support. It will do that by fending off some of the international pressure [on Syria],� A Lebanese official close to the movement recently told Reuters.
�When the [Lebanese] regime is against Israel, that is when the group is in harmony with itself. It is clear about its standards,� another official who spoke to the press on condition of anonymity said. �For the Resistance [Hizbullah -- ed.] and Iran, the partnership with Syria is a principal and crucial issue, there is no compromise. Each time Syria is targeted there will be a response.�
Hizbullah, established nearly 30 years ago during the first Israel-Lebanon War, fought an inconclusive 34-day war with Israel in 2006. It has since rearmed for a second such war and is reportedly operating out of Hamas-run Gaza.
Localized Rather Than Regional War
Regional analysts generally rule out the possibility of a full-scale regional war involving Syria, Iran and Lebanon against Israel in the immediate future, but most agree a war pitting Hizbullah against Israel was much more likely.
�There might be limited wars here or there but nobody has the interest [in a regional war],� Lebanese analyst Oussama Safa said.
Hizbullah inflicted serious damage and casualties by firing missiles deep into Israel during the 2006 conflict, and was able to sustain weeks of rocket attacks on Israeli population centers despite a major Israeli military incursion into Lebanon.
Western intelligence sources say the movement�s arsenal has been more than replenished since the fighting ended, with European-led UN peacekeepers in southern Lebanon powerless to prevent arms from entering, mostly from Syria.
Syria, which borders Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey and Jordan, has regional influence because of its alliance with Iran and its continued role in Lebanon, despite ending a 29-year military presence there in 2005.
�If the situation in Syria collapses it will have repercussions that will go beyond Syria,� the Lebanese official said. �None of Syria�s allies would accept the fall of Syria even if it led to turning the table upside down -- war with Israel could be one of the options.�
The Lebanese official added, �All options are open including opening the fronts in Golan (Heights) and in south Lebanon.�
Israel and Syria are technically at war, but their frontier had been calm since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israel repelled a Syrian assault on the Golan Heights. �
Islam ~ Israel