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Hezbollah places forces in Lebanon on maximum alert: report

Israel sees Iran and Lebanese ally Hezbollah (pictured) as its greatest existential threat, a view shared by the leaders of the region's main Sunni Arab states
ANWAR AMRO (AFP/File)
Hezbollah said to instruct forces not to transfer weapons from Iran via Syria for fear of Israeli strikes

Hezbollah has reportedly placed its forces throughout Lebanon on maximum alert fearing threats from multiple countries, including Israel, as it finds itself caught in the middle of the latest round of tug and war between regional rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The Kuwaiti A-Rai newspaper reported Saturday that chief among Hezbollah's concerns are potential strikes by Israel, despite the Jewish State indicating that it has no intention of engaging in a conflict with the group.

The newspaper said that Hezbollah has issued instructions to its forces not to transfer any weapons being sent from Iran to Syria, where the group is fighting alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s regime forces.

Israel, which has long claimed that Iran is using its Lebanese proxy to assert further influence in the region, has carried out several airstrikes against Hezbollah weapons caches and convoys in Syria.

Hezbollah and Iran have accused Saudi Arabia of pressing Israel to launch such attacks against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

JACK GUEZ (AFP/File)

In an unprecedented interview with the Saudi-owned Elaf newspaper on Thursday, Israel Defense Force (IDF) chief-of-staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said that there is a "complete consensus" between Israel and Saudi Arabia on the issue of their mutual arch-rival Iran.

Eizenkot argued that Iran wants to take control of the Middle East by creating a Shi'ite crescent, "from Lebanon to Iran and then from the Gulf to the Red Sea" and expressed Israel's willingness to share intelligence with Riyadh in order to prevent this from happening.

At the same time, he said, Israel has no intention of initiating a conflict with Hezbollah despite "Iranian attempts at bringing about an escalation."

The rare interview by Israel's top general raised speculation of joint military action against Iran and its allies, though analysts say it appears unlikely.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Abdel al-Jubeir said that Riyadh was in the process of consulting with its allies about plans to disarm Hezbollah and oust it from its stronghold in southern Lebanon.

Ralf Hirschberger (dpa/AFP)

“Consultations and coordination between peace-loving countries and Lebanon-loving countries are underway to try to find a way that would restore sovereignty and reduce the negative action which Hezbollah is conducting in Lebanon,” Al-Jubeir said.

Speculation about a formal Israeli-Saudi alliance has been fueled by the election of US President Donald Trump, a vociferous critic of Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also spoken repeatedly and with pride about growing rapprochement with "moderate Arab states" without naming them, although he is assumed to be referring to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies.

Saudi Arabia's ambitious deputy ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, threw a match onto the tinderbox of Lebanese politics on November 4 with the reportedly engineered resignation of the country's prime minister, Saad Hariri, who was on an official visit to Riyadh.

The announcement -- in which Hariri cited Hezbollah and Iran's "grip" on the country as the driving factors behind his decision -- and his subsequent failure to return home to quit officially in person, fueled claims that he was acting under orders from his Saudi patrons.

(Staff with agencies)

Comments

(2)

Throughout our turbulent history we Jews have grasped at straws blowing in the wind falsely believing them to be good omens. Until and unless Islam undergoes a gut wrenching reformation there will never be a true peace between Moslem and Jew.

Of course Iran is transferring advance weapons to Hezbollah just like they are advancing in their nuke tech. The world choose to play dumb. What is going on w NoKo is a repeat of history with Iran.

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