Hezbollah held a “military” style drill and it invited the media to show off its forces on Sunday, holding “training” in several areas in southern Lebanon. The display of the terrorist arsenal is an example of how Hezbollah operates openly, as a kind of terrorist army, or state-within-a-state in Lebanon, openly violating UN resolutions, international law as well as norms.
Hezbollah showed off multiple rocket launchers during the drills, an attempt to show off only a sliver of its full arsenal. Hezbollah, a terrorist group backed by Iran, has more than 150,000 rockets as well as drones and precision-guided munitions.
The rocket launchers on display on Sunday looked like either 122 Grad rockets, 107mm rockets or other types that are not as dangerous as the more sophisticated long-range rockets and maneuvering munitions that Hezbollah claims it has.
Hezbollah practicing scenarios?
Yossi Mansharof, an expert on Hezbollah and regional Shi’ite politics, noted in a tweet that “in a recent military maneuver conducted earlier today, it appears that Hezbollah practiced scenarios involving the kidnapping of one or several Israeli soldiers.”
In a recent military maneuver conducted earlier today, it appears that Hezbollah practiced scenarios involving the kidnapping of one or several Israeli soldiers. https://t.co/a4OLl3xSdH pic.twitter.com/8H6Gmxdj2T— Yossi Mansharof (@Yossi_Mansharof) May 21, 2023
According to the Associated Press, “masked fighters jumped through flaming hoops, fired from the backs of motorcycles, and blew up Israeli flags posted in the hills above and a wall simulating the one at the border between Lebanon and Israel.”
The drill is supposed to coincide with the anniversary of Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000. However, Hezbollah pretends that it is still the “resistance” against Israel’s supposed occupation of part of the Shaba farms area, known as Mount Dov, meaning that it’s an apparent contradiction for Hezbollah to celebrate Israel leaving, when it claims that Israel has never left.
Al-Mayadeen media, considered sympathetic to Hezbollah, said the drill was held to broadcast to international media “the accumulated capabilities of the resistance in Lebanon, and its special and diverse formations, while the Israeli media focused on the party’s use of combat and suicide marches, and the timing and implications of the maneuver.”
This was very much a drill that was intended to get coverage, to show how openly Hezbollah can operate and also to gauge Israel’s response. This is why media close to Hezbollah focused on Israel’s media coverage, as if to indicate that they had gotten Israel’s attention. This is how they launder a drill like this, they do it for the media, not for military or terrorist reasons; but to get coverage and then legitimize themselves through the coverage.
AL-Mayadeen reported that “during the maneuver, which Hezbollah had previously invited the media to attend, and which witnessed extensive media coverage from Lebanese, Arab and international media, a number of snipers fired at targets on which the Star of David was painted, while gunmen on motorcycles fired live bullets at targets of different military formations.”
The very fact that they used gunmen on motorcycles shows how unserious this drill was. No military today uses gunmen on motorcycles to achieve military goals or success. Hezbollah is a terrorist army, backed by Iran, but it has no real use for men with guns on motorcycles, except to harass civilians. For instance, Hezbollah waylaid UN vehicles and murdered a member of the UN in December. Its motorcycles serve no purpose in a conflict against actual militaries. Overall, the show that Hezbollah put on was designed primarily as propaganda, but it also showcases how openly the group operates today.