Hezbollah’s Deadly Arsenal: A Closer Look at Lebanon’s Military Power

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The ongoing conflict in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and Iranian-backed groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, has seen a significant escalation since the October 7, 2023, terror attack by Hamas on Israel. This attack, which resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 people, has set off a series of near-daily hostilities involving Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, against Israeli targets. The persistent conflict has heightened concerns over a potential full-scale war, especially given Hezbollah’s substantial missile arsenal pointed at Israel.

Hezbollah’s Role in the Conflict

Since the attack by Hamas on October 7, Hezbollah has actively participated in the conflict by launching over 5,000 rockets, anti-tank missiles, and explosive unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at both civilian and military targets within Israel. Israel’s response has been robust, with over 4,500 strikes against Hezbollah positions in Lebanon and Syria, resulting in the deaths of more than 300 Hezbollah militants, including senior commanders. The conflict has also claimed the lives of ten Israeli civilians and up to 18 Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers and reservists due to Hezbollah’s attacks, in addition to those killed by Hamas.

In response to the escalating threat, at least 60,000 Israelis have been evacuated from the northern border regions. Hezbollah’s rocket attacks have also caused significant environmental damage, burning more than 2,700 acres, much of which was forest preserve.

Key Events and Escalations

The ongoing conflict has seen several significant incidents and escalations:

  • February 8: Hezbollah launched 30 rockets into northern Israel following an Israeli drone strike that killed a senior Hezbollah commander. This was in retaliation for a prior Hezbollah attack on an Israeli military base, which had injured three IDF soldiers.
  • February 12: Two Israelis were seriously wounded by a Hezbollah rocket in Kiryat Shmona.
  • February 14: A barrage from Hezbollah killed one person and injured at least eight in Safed and a nearby army base.
  • February 26: Hezbollah fired 60 rockets at an Israeli military base in the Golan Heights, following an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley that killed two Hezbollah terrorists.
  • March 12: Over 100 rockets were fired into northern Israel by Hezbollah.
  • June 11: Following the killing of senior Hezbollah official Abu Taleb and three other fighters, Hezbollah launched one of its heaviest barrages, firing 150 rockets into northern Israel.
  • June 20: After the death of a Hezbollah field commander in an Israeli drone strike, Hezbollah responded with 45 rockets.

Strategic Implications and Israeli Responses

Top Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened to take the conflict to Lebanon to push Hezbollah away from the border. The IDF’s Northern Command, led by Maj-Gen. Ori Gordin, has emphasized the need to alter the security situation in the north, ensuring the safe return of residents. The IDF has been preparing for an expanded offensive, indicating a readiness to escalate the conflict if necessary.

Political and Economic Landscape in Lebanon

Lebanon’s political situation is marked by instability, exacerbated by the powerful presence of Hezbollah. Decades of corruption and sectarian strife have crippled the country’s governance. The catastrophic Beirut port explosion in August 2020 led to widespread protests and the resignation of the Lebanese government in October 2020. Since then, Lebanon has struggled to form a stable government, with Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati attempting to establish a new cabinet for months.

The absence of a fully functioning government has deepened Lebanon’s economic crisis, leading to severe shortages of essentials like fuel, electricity, and medical supplies. This dire situation has sparked social unrest, with many citizens demanding systemic political reforms and an end to corruption and sectarianism.

Hezbollah’s Influence in Lebanon

Hezbollah wields significant political and military power in Lebanon. It has been part of the Lebanese political landscape since the early 1990s and has representation in the Lebanese parliament and the caretaker government. The group’s military strength, bolstered by Iranian support, has allowed it to maintain considerable influence over Lebanon’s affairs.

Despite its political involvement, Hezbollah’s actions often undermine Lebanese sovereignty. Its alignment with Iran positions it as a proxy in regional conflicts, using Lebanon as a base for its operations against Israel.

Connections Between Hamas, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Lebanon hosts a significant population of Palestinian refugees, with estimates of around 470,000 residing in the country. These refugees have lived in Lebanon for decades without citizenship, perpetuating their status as permanent refugees.

Hamas has been building its military presence in Lebanon, with hundreds of fighters trained, many of whom are of Palestinian origin. Notably, Saleh Al-Arouri, a founding commander of Hamas’s military branch, orchestrated the April 2023 rocket attacks from Lebanon before his assassination in January 2024 in a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut.

Iran’s Role in Supporting Hezbollah and Hamas

Iran’s support for Hezbollah and Hamas is a critical factor in the ongoing conflict. Iran provides financial aid, weapons, and training to both groups, using them as proxies to advance its interests in the region. For Hamas, Iran’s support is vital in maintaining its military capabilities, given the blockade around Gaza. Iran supplies Hamas with rocket technology and training, enabling it to launch attacks against Israel.

Hezbollah, founded in the early 1980s with Iranian backing, receives substantial financial and military support from Iran. This support includes advanced weaponry and training, allowing Hezbollah to sustain its operations against Israel and maintain its military presence in Lebanon.

Hezbollah’s Military Capabilities

Hezbollah is widely regarded as one of the most formidable non-state military actors in the world. According to various intelligence estimates, Hezbollah’s military arsenal includes:

  • Missiles and Rockets: Hezbollah reportedly possesses around 150,000 missiles and rockets of varying ranges and capabilities. These include:
    • Short-Range Rockets: Katyusha rockets with a range of 20-40 kilometers.
    • Medium-Range Missiles: Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles with ranges of 45-75 kilometers.
    • Long-Range Missiles: Zelzal-2 missiles with a range of up to 200 kilometers, and Fateh-110 missiles with ranges exceeding 300 kilometers. These long-range missiles are capable of reaching deep into Israeli territory, including Tel Aviv and other major cities.
    • Precision-Guided Missiles: Hezbollah has acquired precision-guided missile technology from Iran, allowing it to strike specific targets with greater accuracy, posing a significant threat to critical infrastructure in Israel.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs): Hezbollah operates a fleet of drones, including reconnaissance and armed variants. These UAVs are used for intelligence gathering and can carry out targeted strikes.
  • Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs): Hezbollah has a vast inventory of ATGMs, including the Russian-made Kornet, which has been effectively used against Israeli tanks and armored vehicles.
  • Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs): Although limited, Hezbollah possesses a range of SAMs, including man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) like the SA-7 and SA-14, which can target low-flying aircraft.
  • Naval Capabilities: Hezbollah has developed a modest naval capability, including anti-ship missiles such as the C-802, which was used to strike an Israeli naval vessel during the 2006 Lebanon War.
  • Ground Forces: Hezbollah’s ground forces are estimated to include between 25,000 and 30,000 fighters, with an additional 20,000 to 30,000 reservists. These forces are highly trained and experienced, having gained significant combat experience in the Syrian Civil War.

Detailed Scheme Table of Hezbollah’s Military Capabilities and Conflict Data

CategoryDetailsQuantity/Range/Numbers
Hezbollah’s Military Capabilities
Missiles and RocketsHezbollah reportedly possesses around 150,000 missiles and rockets of varying ranges and capabilities.150,000
Short-Range RocketsKatyusha rockets with a range of 20-40 kilometersRange: 20-40 km
Medium-Range MissilesFajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles with ranges of 45-75 kilometersRange: 45-75 km
Long-Range MissilesZelzal-2 missiles with a range of up to 200 kilometers, and Fateh-110 missiles with ranges exceeding 300 kilometers. These can reach deep into Israeli territory.Zelzal-2 Range: up to 200 km <br> Fateh-110 Range: >300 km
Precision-Guided MissilesAcquired from Iran, allowing Hezbollah to strike specific targets with greater accuracy, posing a significant threat to Israeli infrastructure.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)Fleet includes reconnaissance and armed variants used for intelligence gathering and targeted strikes.
Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs)Includes the Russian-made Kornet, effectively used against Israeli tanks and armored vehicles.
Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs)Limited range, including man-portable air-defense systems (MANPADS) like the SA-7 and SA-14, which can target low-flying aircraft.
Naval CapabilitiesIncludes anti-ship missiles such as the C-802, used to strike an Israeli naval vessel during the 2006 Lebanon War.
Ground ForcesEstimated to include between 25,000 and 30,000 fighters, with an additional 20,000 to 30,000 reservists.Active Fighters: 25,000-30,000 <br> Reservists: 20,000-30,000
Conflict Data
Oct 7, 2023Hamas terror attack on Israel kills over 1,200 people1,200+ deaths
Oct 8, 2023Start of Hezbollah’s near-daily attacks on IsraelOver 5,000 rockets, anti-tank missiles, and UAVs fired
Israel’s response with over 4,500 strikes on Hezbollah targets in Lebanon and Syria, killing over 300 militants, including commanders4,500+ strikes, 300+ militants killed
Casualties due to Hezbollah’s attacks on Israel10 Israeli civilians, up to 18 IDF soldiers/reservists killed
Feb 8, 2024Hezbollah fires 30 rockets at northern Israel after an Israeli drone strike kills a senior Hezbollah commander30 rockets
Casualties from prior Hezbollah attack on an Israeli military base3 IDF soldiers wounded
Feb 12, 2024Hezbollah rocket hits Kiryat Shmona, injuring two Israelis seriously2 Israelis seriously wounded
Feb 14, 2024Hezbollah barrage kills one person, injures at least eight in Safed and nearby army base1 killed, 8 injured
Feb 26, 2024Hezbollah fires 60 rockets at Israeli military base in Golan Heights60 rockets
Israeli airstrike in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley kills 2 Hezbollah terrorists2 militants killed
Mar 12, 2024Hezbollah fires more than 100 rockets into northern Israel100+ rockets
June 11, 2024Hezbollah fires 150 rockets into northern Israel after Israel kills Abu Taleb and three other Hezbollah fighters150 rockets
June 20, 2024Hezbollah fires 45 rockets at northern Israel after Hezbollah field commander is killed in an Israeli drone strike45 rockets
TotalTotal figures for the ongoing conflictOver 5,000 rockets, anti-tank missiles, UAVs fired <br> 4,500+ Israeli strikes <br> 1,200+ deaths <br> 10 Israeli civilians, up to 18 IDF soldiers/reservists killed

International Response and Future Prospects

The international community remains concerned about the potential for a full-scale war between Israel and Hezbollah. The ongoing hostilities risk further destabilizing the already volatile region. The United Nations and various countries have called for restraint and a de-escalation of violence.

The IDF’s campaign against Hezbollah aims to weaken the group’s military capabilities and push its forces away from the Israeli border. However, the deep-rooted nature of Hezbollah’s influence in Lebanon and its substantial military resources make this a challenging goal.

Hezbollah’s extensive arsenal and strategic operations continue to pose a significant threat to Israel and regional stability. The group’s sophisticated weaponry, backed by Iranian support, enables it to conduct sustained and effective military campaigns. As tensions persist, the potential for escalation remains high, necessitating vigilant monitoring and robust defense strategies from Israel and its allies.

This analysis highlights the complexity and danger of Hezbollah’s military capabilities, underscoring the ongoing challenges in achieving lasting peace and security in the region.


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