Expert: Hizbullah Unlikely to Attack Israel after Assad’s Death

Published June 13th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Hizbullah is unlikely to initiate an unprovoked attack on Israel in the immediate future, reported the daily Jerusalem Post Tuesday, quoting Swedish political export, Magnus Ranstorp.  

Ranstorp, who has written a book on Hizbullah and has interviewed several of its leaders, believed it would not be in the interests of the organization, certainly not following the death of Syrian president Hafez Assad, said the daily.  

"I do not see Hizbullah engaging in any overt hostilities against Israel in view of the uncertainty at the moment over the situation in Syria and because it would not wish to disrupt the transition of power to Bashar Assad," he was quoted as saying.  

Ranstorp noted that Syrian patronage had been of great importance to Hizbullah, quite apart from the fact that all arms and equipment sent by Iran went via Damascus.  

Hizbullah commanders were generally given a free hand to conduct operations against the Israeli army and the South Lebanon Army (SLA), but large-scale offensives and particularly Katyusha attacks were not carried out without prior consultation with Syria, he said.  

"The links between Hizbullah and Syria could be described as a mixture of subservience and independence, especially remembering that Hizbullah is funded and guided by Iran, which has instructed and trained the organization both in its military activities and more especially in winning public support on the social, welfare, and political levels," said Ranstorp.  

"Nevertheless, Hizbullah is aware of the need for stability at the moment and not to do anything that could endanger the transition of power in Damascus and thereby upset its own relations with Syria."  

Ranstorp did not, however, rule out the possibility of some sporadic incidents along the border by Palestinian organizations, which might be feeling threatened because of Assad's death.  

Ranstorp is a senior lecturer on international relations at St. Andrews University in Scotland and deputy director of the center based there for studying terrorism and political violence, said the daily -  



© 2000 Al Bawaba (

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