Monday, July 23, 2012

Hezbollah: The New Al Qaeda

All too often we have used the phrase “Prepared to fight the last war.” Regrettably it looks like we are about to go through a phase of resetting our Strategy and TTP to make sure we’ll be successful in the next Iraq or Afghanistan. While there are certainly aspects of lessons learned from these conflicts that will be applicable in the future, we also need to be developing our ability to anticipate the kinds of enemies we will face in the future and the trajectory of enemies we fight today.

After 9/11 the US was hell bent on bringing down Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden in particular. Over the past week as the Olympics gets ready to kick off in London on the 27th of July, I started giving some thought to what was lurking behind today’s headlines. I should add that I have been an Adjunct Professor for an on-line College for several years so I’m constantly dealing with new issues and trends raised by my students.

One of my students did their final project on Hezbollah’s ability to attack in and from Latin America. He did a very solid job of describing past attacks in Latin America notably in Argentina. Just about the same time the Wall Street Journal published an article: “Israel Says Intelligence Ties Hezbollah to Bulgaria Attack”. (see

Admittedly Bulgaria is not exactly Main Street, but the fact that such an attack could take place far from Hezbollah’s home base in Lebanon is an intelligence indicator that their capabilities should not be underestimated. 

Hezbollah stands for the proposition that nation states will support non-state actors that further their cause. This is especially true for states that don’t exactly have total freedom of movement such as Iran. Consequently we need to be more than vigilant, we need to be anticipatory so that we can put the appropriate strategy in place that will yield the TTP needed for kinetic and informational dominance in the conflicts of the future.

Photo source: Stratfor via Counterterrorismblog. org


Soldier-Cynic said...

Glad I did not drink my coffee before seeing this title. Hezbollah pre-dates AQ by 10-15 years depending on which dates you use for each organization's founding. In my opinion, Hezbollah is, and has been, more dangerous in the long run than AQ for several reasons. First, Hezbollah has state sponsorship as the protracted war proxy of Iran. With this sponsorship comes access to technology, material, and training on levels AQ has never had. Second, Hezbollah's thorough integration into the Lebanese government and society lends further access to support and resources. Third, Hezbollah is more than a terrorist organization in that it runs businesses and social infrastructure in and out of Lebanon giving it sources of revenue, access, and further popular support. Fourth, Hezbollah has a propaganda wing that includes a satellite television station (al-Manar), making the efforts of AQ look simplistic in comparison. Finally, Hezbollah has the one thing AQ lacked: strategic patience.

Lawrence Dietz said...

@ Soldier-Cynic - your response is precisely the reason I did the post. AQ has been all over the news while Hezbollah simply goes about their nefarious business.