By Keith Preston
Hezbollah is one of the most unique political organizations in the world and has the distinction of having forced the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to withdraw from southern Lebanon on two separate occasions. The first of these was in 2000, ending Israel’s 18-year occupation of the region. The second was during the 2006 Lebanon War following a renewed assault on Lebanon by the IDF. Hezbollah is also considered to be a model “fourth generation warfare” organization by theorists of generational warfare, such as William S. Lind. Fourth generation warfare theory argues that the nature of war has been transformed since the end of World War Two. Because of the invention of nuclear weapons, international warfare between states has largely become cost prohibitive. Consequently, the waging of war has become a matter of conflict between states and non-state actors primarily.
Non-state actors may include any organization that engages in armed conflict outside of the state system, such as guerrillas, insurgents, or terrorists. However, non-state actors also include organizations that provide functions usually considered to be the prerogative of states (such as the provision of social services, education, public infrastructure, or public security), or focal points of public loyalty other than states, such as movements, causes, religions, ideologies, or gangs. Fourth generation warfare theory indicates that many people around the world are transferring their primary loyalties away from traditional national patriotisms toward fourth generation forces of many kinds. For example, rather than considering themselves to be a patriotic citizen of their nation, a person may first consider themselves to be a loyal Muslim, socialist, or devotee of animal welfare. Hezbollah is considered by fourth generation warfare theorists to be the most sophisticated fourth generation model because of its ability to provide traditional state functions on a significant scale, and Hezbollah’s having superseded the Lebanese military as the “national defense” force of Lebanon.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement downplays threats of a military action against Syria, ruling out a potential direct confrontation between the US and Russia or a wider war in the Arab country.
“We rule out the situation developing into a direct American-Russian clash or a wide state of war,” Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem told Lebanese daily al-Joumhouria in an interview published on Friday.
“The conditions do not point to a total war happening … unless (US President Donald) Trump and (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu completely lose their minds,” he said.
Hezbollah, along with Russia and Iran, has been helping the Syrian army in its battles against terrorists.
The US and its allies have been threatening Damascus with military action since April 7, when a suspected chemical attack on the Syrian town of Douma, Eastern Ghouta, reportedly killed 60 people and injured hundreds more.
The possibility of an attack grew larger on Wednesday, after Trump warned Russia, one of Syria’s key supporters in the fight against foreign-backed militancy, to “get ready” to shoot down American missiles over Syria soon.
The US, however, later muddied the threats as a number of its major European allies, including Germany, said they would not join such a military action.
Syria has firmly denied any links to the chemical attack. Both Moscow and Damascus have invited the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to send a fact-finding mission to Douma and investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons there.
Damascus has destroyed its entire chemical weapons stockpile under a UN-brokered program overseen by the OPCW.
Syrians shrug off US threats
On Thursday, some Syrians in the capital Damascus shrugged off the possibility of a US strike against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
A Damascus resident said “Russia will respond” and another one dismissed the idea of missile attack saying US is “afraid of Russia and China.”
“They are only threats. They always threaten us. It is not the first time. It is not something new. We got used to it. Russia will respond,” said Eugenie Saadeh.