Video: Robert Spencer Gives Three Lessons From Islamic History for Today’s Policymakers

  1. Jihad has always been a mainstream feature of Islam. Jihad is not a modern development.
  2. There has been no organized internal resistance or majority of moderate Muslims trying to stop Jihad violence. Islamic reform means adhering to fundamentalist Islamic doctrine. Any reformers advocating changing Islamic doctrine have been killed or marginalized.
  3. Jihadis have always had help from infidels.

Jihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, September 19, 2018:

If these lessons were heeded, we would avoid numerous foreign and domestic policy mistakes.

On September 13, 2018, I spoke at the Freedom Center’s Wednesday Morning Club in Los Angeles. Introducing my new and bestselling book, The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS, I discussed three lessons from Islamic history that are unknown in the West today, and are often outright denied by those Leftists who are rewriting history in service of contemporary political agendas. I show how these lessons, if heeded, have massive implications for American foreign and domestic policy.

Order The History of Jihad From Muhammad to ISIS here now.

Google Employees Discussed Tweaking Search Results to Counter Trump Travel Ban

Breitbart, by Allum Bokhari, September 20, 2018:

Google employees brainstormed ways to tweak the tech giant’s search functions to encourage users to push back against Trump policies following the President’s proposed travel ban on certain countries in 2017, according to a report on Tucker Carlson Tonight that was also confirmed by the Wall Street Journal. 

Via the WSJ (paywalled):

Days after the Trump administration instituted a controversial travel ban in January 2017, Google employees discussed how they could tweak the company’s search-related functions to show users how to contribute to pro-immigration organizations and contact lawmakers and government agencies, according to internal company emails.
The email traffic, reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, shows that employees proposed ways to “leverage” search functions and take steps to counter what they considered to be “islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, ’Iran’, etc.” and “prejudiced, algorithmically biased search results from search terms `Mexico’, `Hispanic’, `Latino’, etc.”

According to the WSJ, the email chain was “sprinkled with cautionary notes about engaging in political activity,” but nonetheless discussed ways to use the company’s power over search as a response to Trump’s proposed travel ban on certain Muslim-dominated countries.

The report follows Breitbart News’ release of a leaked recording of Google’s post-election meeting in 2016. The video shows company executives, including co-founder Sergey Brin and CEO Sundar Pichai, lamenting the election of Trump, and brainstorming ways to ensure that the president’s election and the populist movement were just a “blip” and “hiccup” in history.

Google did not deny the existence of the emails, but insisted that none of the ideas discussed were ever acted upon.

“These emails were just a brainstorm of ideas, none of which were ever implemented,” a company spokeswoman said in a statement. “Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology—not in the current campaign season, not during the 2016 election, and not in the aftermath of President Trump’s executive order on immigration. Our processes and policies would not have allowed for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies.”

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to allumbokhari@protonmail.com.

***

***

Also see:

Killing Free Speech

Gatestone Institute, by Judith Bergman, September 21, 2018:

  • The OIC’s media strategy encourages “accurate and factual portrayal of Islam. Emphasis should be directed at avoidance of any link or association of Islam with terrorism or the use of Islamophobic rhetoric… such as labeling criminal terrorists as ‘Islamic’ fascists, ‘Islamic’ extremists.”
  • That part of the strategy has already had much success across the Western world, where authorities and media do not want to label Muslim terrorists as Islamic, but routinely describe them as “mentally ill.”
  • The OICs highly ambitious plans to do away with freedom of speech go severely underreported in the West. Mainstream journalists do not appear to find it dangerous that their freedom of speech should be supervised by the OIC, while Western governments, far from offering any resistance, appear, perhaps for votes, to be cozily going along with everything.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is trying to curb your freedom of speech — yet again[1].

In June, the first “I 1st Islamic-European Forum for examining ways of cooperation to curb hate speech in the media,” initiated by the OIC, ironically but sadly took place at the Press Club Brussels Europe.

The director of the information department of the OIC, Maha Mustafa Aqeel, explained that the forum is part of the OIC’s media strategy[2] to counter “Islamophobia”:

“Our strategy focuses on interacting with the media, academics, and experts on various relevant topics, in addition to engaging with Western governments to raise awareness, support the efforts of Muslim civil society bodies in the West, and engage the latter in developing plans and programs to counter Islamophobia.”

Unlike almost all other intergovernmental organizations, the OIC wields both religious and political power. It describes itself as:

“…the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents. The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world… espousing all causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims of the world.”

According to the OIC’s Charter, one of the objectives of the organization is “To disseminate, promote and preserve the Islamic teachings and values based on moderation and tolerance, promote Islamic culture and safeguard Islamic heritage,”[3] as well as “To protect and defend the true image of Islam, to combat defamation of Islam and encourage dialogue among civilisations and religions.”[4]

At the 11th Session of The Islamic Summit Conference (Session of The Muslim Ummah in The 21St Century) in Dakar, Senegal (13-14 March 2008), the member states of the OIC decided to “renew our pledge to work harder to make sure that Islam’s true image is better projected the world over…”[5] and to “seek to combat an Islamophobia with designs to distort our religion”[6].

In 2008, the OIC published its 1st OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia. This document listed a number of interactions that OIC representatives had with Western audiences — including the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and academics and others at universities such as Georgetown and Oxford — and stated:

“The point that was underscored in all these interactions was that Islamophobia was gradually gaining inroads into the mind-set of the common people in Western societies, a fact that has created a negative and distorted perception of Islam. It was emphasized that Muslims and Western societies would have to address the issue with a sense of commitment to ending Islamophobia… Islamophobia poses a threat not only to Muslims but to the world at large.”[7]

Since that 1st OIC Observatory Report on Islamophobia, the OIC opened its Permanent Observer Mission to the EU (in 2013) and also cooperates with the OSCE and the Council of Europe “to combat stereotypes and misunderstandings and foster tolerance.”[8] In December 2017, the OIC and the EU agreed on strengthening bilateral cooperation, when they held their second Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) at the OIC headquarters, during which both sides agreed on “strengthening bilateral cooperation through concrete actions”.

The OIC was concrete in its demands to the West. In a statement delivered at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OIC Secretary General called for Europe to “Prosecute and punish for racial discrimination… through the framework of appropriate legislation” and also to “Strengthen existing legislation on discrimination and discriminatory and ‘unequal treatment’ adopted by EU council directives”[9].

Today, many Western European governments are prosecuting their own citizens for criticizing Islam or Muslims in, for example, SwedenGermany and the UK, although it is unclear, whether or how much of this development can be directly attributed to the OIC.

In Sweden, for instance, pensioners especially have been prosecuted for making critical comments about Islam on Facebook. A 71-year-old woman referred to so-called unaccompanied minors as “bearded children” and said — not inaccurately (here and here and here) — that some seem to be “engaged in rape and demolishing their [asylum] homes”. In February 2018, a Swedish court sentenced her to a fine for “incitement of hatred against an ethnic group”.

In Germany, a journalist, Michael Stürzenberger, was handed a six-month suspended jail sentence for posting on his Facebook page a historical photo of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, shaking the hand of a senior Nazi official in Berlin in 1941. The prosecution accused Stürzenberger of “inciting hatred towards Islam” and “denigrating Islam” by publishing the photograph.

In addition to cultivating high-level contacts with Western actors, the OIC also is pursuing a comprehensive media strategy, agreed upon in Saudi Arabia in December 2016 and focused on the West.

This OIC media strategy claims as one of its goals:

“To increase the interaction with media outlets and professionals, while encouraging accurate and factual/portrayal of Islam. Emphasis should be directed at avoidance of any link or association of Islam with terrorism or the use of Islamophobic rhetoric in the war on terror, such as labeling criminal terrorists as ‘Islamic’ fascists, ‘Islamic’ extremists.”[10]

Part of that strategy has already had much success across the Western world, where authorities and media do not want to label Muslim terrorists as Islamic, but routinely describe them as “mentally ill.”

The OIC also notes that it would like media professionals and journalists “to develop, articulate and implement voluntary codes of conduct to counter Islamophobia”[11], while at the same time engaging Western governments “in creating awareness against the dangers of Islamophobia by addressing the responsibility of media on the issue”[12]. The OIC additionally states that it would like to train foreign journalists to “deal with the phenomenon of hatred and defamation of the Islamic religion”[13]— as exemplified by the recent European-Islamic Forum, where attendees were introduced to the OIC’s “Program for Training Media Professionals on Redressing Stereotypes about Islam”.

As maintained earlier here, European journalists — helped along by the EU — are already very adept at censoring themselves, which means that the OIC’s work is probably already more than half-done when it comes to Europe.

Finally, the OIC media strategy calls for fostering a “network of high profile western public figures supporting efforts to combat Islamophobia in politics, journalism and civil society” as well as teams of scholars academics, and celebrities, who will be the faces of the campaign.[14]

The IOC mentions the following, among others, as examples of mass media campaigns it aims to launch as part of its media strategy[15]:

  • Television and advertising campaigns “targeting public transport (bus and metro) famous newspapers and magazines for each country two times in one year”.
  • Arranging three talk shows per year in key TV channels in US and Europe about Islam with the participation of selected members from Muslim countries.
  • 10 lectures per year in each country (universities, unions and suggested important centers) “about Islamic role in building cultures and connect between religions”.
  • Visits to schools and universities by OIC “specialist teams”.
  • Hosting 100 “Western activists” from various fields in selected Muslim countries where they “can interact with intellectuals, politicians, media figures, and religious scholars”.
  • Produce one-hour documentary “examining the growth of Islamophobia in the West and its impact on Muslims around the world and interfaith relations” for broadcasting “on mainstream networks such as Britain’s BBC and Channel 4 or America’s PBS”.

The OIC is being assisted in all these efforts by “prestigious public relations companies such as UNITAS Communications which is based in London, UK and Golden Cap based in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”[16].

The OIC promises that it will also create a fund to support local anti-Islamophobia initiatives, and monitor media and place commentary and news stories in key Western publications.

It is important to note that in the years 1998-2011, the OIC sought to advance an agenda in the UN, banning “the defamation of religions”, but the OIC gave up on the ban after realizing that there was not sufficient support there for the proposal. “We could not convince them,” said Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the Turkish head of the IOC at the time. “The European countries don’t vote with us, the United States doesn’t vote with us.”

Instead of pursuing the ban on defamation of religions, the OIC shifted its focus to UN Resolution 16/18 [17] which calls upon states to take concrete steps to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, “foster religious freedom and pluralism,” and “counter religious profiling which is understood to be the invidious use of religion as a criterion in conducting questionings, searches and other law enforcement investigative procedures.”

Andrew C. McCarthy, a critic of Resolution 16/18, maintains that:

“Sharia forbids any speech — whether true or not — that casts Islam in an unfavorable light, dissents from settled Muslim doctrine, has the potential to sow discord within the ummah, or entices Muslims to renounce Islam or convert to other faiths. The idea is not merely to ban gratuitous ridicule — which, by the way, sensible people realize government should not do (and, under our Constitution, may not do) even if they themselves are repulsed by gratuitous ridicule. The objective is to ban all critical examination of Islam, period…” [Emphasis in original]

The OICs highly ambitious plans to do away with freedom of speech go severely underreported in the West. Mainstream Western journalists do not appear to find it dangerous that their freedom of speech should be supervised by the OIC, while Western governments, far from offering any resistance, appear, perhaps for votes, to be cozily going along with everything.

Judith Bergman is a columnist, lawyer and political analyst.


[1] See also “Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s ‘Islamophobia’ Campaign against Freedom” and “The OIC vs. Freedom of Expression”

[2] See also “The OIC/NGOs cooperation in combating Islamophobia” from the International Conference on Islamophobia, Istanbul 2007.

[3] OIC Charter Article 1(11)

[4] Ibid., Article 1 (12)

[5] 11th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference, Dakar Declaration, p 4

[6]Ibid., p 4

[7] 1st OIC observatory report on Islamophobia (May 2007 to May 2008) p 24 (section 4.5.)

[8] 1st OIC observatory report on Islamophobia (May 2007 to May 2008) p 30. (sections 4.5.7 and 4.5.8)

[9] Ibid., p 30 (Section 4.5.8)

[10] OIC Media Strategy in Countering Islamophobia and Its Implementation Mechanisms, p 2, (section I (2))

[11] Ibid., p 4, Section III (1)

[12] Ibid., p 4, Section III (3)

[13] Ibid., p 5, Section III (7)

[14] Ibid., pp 3-4, Section II(2) and (7)

[15] Ibid., pp 8-9, Section 7

[16] Ibid., p 6

[17] Resolution 16/18 on Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against, persons based on religion or belief. The resolution was passed in the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 with support from both OIC member countries and Western countries, including the United States.

Investigating Islam

The United West, by Steve Kirby, September 19, 2018:

Folks who are concerned about Islam often ask what they can do.

Here is what you can do:

1) Educate yourselves so that you are able educate others about the reality of Islam;

2) Step out of your comfort zone, look for opportunities to talk about Islam with family, friends, and religious and secular leaders; and

3) Go to events where presentations on Islam are being made and ask the hard questions, based on the information you have gained from authoritative Islamic sources.  When you go to these events, take along some like-minded, knowledgeable friends so you won’t feel all alone.  Hold Muslims and non-Muslims accountable for accurately presenting Islam.

Here is how you can get started.  I spent the latter half of my 31 ½ years in law enforcement as a detective investigating white collar crimes and public corruption.  For each investigation I put together a case file of information.  Below is a link to a case file you can create so that you can investigate Islam yourself, learn about the reality of Islam and then take your case file with you when you talk about Islam and go to Islam-related events:

Investigating Islam: Creating a Case File

https://islamseries.files.wordpress.com/2018/09/investigating-islam-creating-a-case-file.pdf

Knowledge is power, but only if that knowledge is used!

Steve Kirby
IslamSeries@gmail.com
IslamSeries.org

If you wish to join Steve Kirby’s distribution list, please sign up at this link: http://eepurl.com/c59_Zv

***

Also see the United West’s Webinars:

Mosques playlist:

***

Sharia Crime Stoppers Webinar, Week 1: THE TRAINING PURGE AND PLAGUE OF SELF-CENSORSHIP:

***

Sharia Crime Stoppers Webinar, Week 2: THE CURRENT THREAT:

***

Sharia Crime Stoppers Webinar, Week 3: SHAR’IA LAW AND WOMEN:

Pedophiles Do Not Get to Hide Behind “Religious Freedom”

Understanding the Threat, by Stephanie Ameiss, September 20, 2018:

American are always justifiably horrified when those in authority over children grossly abuse their positions and mistreat the children.  The sex abuse scandal by some Catholic Priests is a recent example.

But where is the outrage about the accepted and lawful practice of pedophilia in Islam?   Perhaps Americans are not shocked because they are unaware that sharia (Islamic law), which is the law muslims are required to follow under penalty of death, allows muslim men to marry young girls.

Why?  Because Islam’s prophet Mohammad is the al Insan al Kamil – the perfect example of a man – in Islam and he married a six (6) year old (Aisha) and consummated the relationship when she was nine (9).

“Ye have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.”

Koran 33:21

“The Prophet engaged me (Aisha) when I was a girl of six years…Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.”  (Bukhari volume 5, book 8, hadith 234, narrated by Aisha)

Mohammad is the perfect example, therefore, it is a capital crime in Islam to suggest any of his behavior is wrong.  Unfortunately, in the United States an adult male marrying a six or seven year old is illegal and we put people in jail for it.

This is one glaring place where sharia and U.S. law contradict at the ground level, and why sharia cannot be tolerated.

For muslims and their collaborators  to defend pedophilia under the guise of  “religious freedom” is disgusting and absurd on the face of it.

U.S. Islamic school texts teach “Islam is not a religion, however, but a complete way of life,” which is odd since Islamic leaders in America demand religious accommodations based on the fact Islam is a religion.  If this is true, why do Islamic schools teach 12 year olds Islam is not a religion?

U.S. Islamic school texts also teach “The law of the land is the sharia of Allah…Anyone who dies in jihad automatically goes to paradise..The duty of Muslim citizens is to be loyal to the Islamic State.”

America was founded on one primary principle: our liberty comes from God.  “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

No man nor government has the right to take our liberty from us because God gave us these rights.  We have a duty and an obligation to defend them.

America is the longest standing Constitutional Republic in the history of the world! We need to fight for it!

If we truly love all people, then we have duty to defend innocent muslim children from predatory behavior that is accepted and lawful under sharia.  This is abuse at so many levels inside the Islamic community.

Encourage people to Understand the Threat.

If you can take time to explain that Islam is the problem, you might be surprised and they might open the door to engage in a conversation.

Share UTT’s Research and Resources page and encourage other to follow UTT.  We must work to get others to understand Islam/sharia is the threat.

The most important thing we can do is speak truth boldly in love about real threats.

Join us at Understanding the Threat as we put FREEDOM back on the offensive where it belongs.

State: Iran’s Proxy Hezbollah Operating Across Western Hemisphere, Including U.S.

AFP ANWAR AMRO

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, September 20, 2018:

The “world’s preeminent state sponsor of terrorism” Iran and its proxy Hezbollah maintain an operational presence across Latin America and in the United States, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) reported this week.

For years, State and the U.S. military have warned against Iran and Hezbollah’s growing activities in Latin America, including the terrorist group’s involvement in drug trafficking and money laundering.

According to State’s Country Reports on Terrorism for 2017 released Wednesday, which tracks terrorist activities across the world, Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism with a “near-global reach.”

While briefing reporters about the terrorism reports on Wednesday, Nathan Sales, the State Department’s ambassador-at-large and coordinator for counterterrorism, declared:

Iran is the world’s preeminent state sponsor of terrorism, and it brings to its terrorist activities the resources of a state. We have seen Iran’s and its proxies’ terrorist-related activities across the globe. There are active fundraising networks in places as far afield as Africa, in South America. We’ve seen weapons caches planted around the world. We’ve seen operational activity not just in Lebanon by Hizballah, but by Iran-backed terrorists in the heart of Europe. Iran uses terrorism as a tool of its statecraft. It has no reservations about using that tool on any continent.

The annual Country Reports on Terrorism for 2017 added:

Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism worldwide remained undiminished through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force [IRGC-QF], its Ministry of Intelligence and Security, and Tehran’s proxy Hizballah, which remained a significant threat to the stability of Lebanon and the broader region

State noted that authorities across the Western Hemisphere, including the FBI in the United States, arrested several Hezbollah (or Hizballah) operatives and disrupted various plots last year.

“As far as Iran-backed terrorist organizations are concerned, we’ve arrested a number of operatives who allegedly were casing targets in support of Iran-backed terrorist organizations, and they’re now facing charges in federal court,” Sales told reporters.

In early June 2017, the FBI arrested Ali Kourani, 32, of the Bronx, New York, and Samer el Debek, 37, of Dearborn, Michigan, on charges linked to their alleged activities on behalf of Shiite Hezbollah.

Referring to one of the defendants, State noted:

In addition to its financial and fundraising activities in the Western Hemisphere, Hizballah also maintained interest in the region during 2017. A Hizballah operative was arrested by the FBI in the United States in June 2017. Among other accusations, he was allegedly involved in surveilling U.S. and Israeli targets in Panama.

Latin American authorities also arrested several Hezbollah jihadis and disrupted some plots linked to the Shiite terrorist group last year.

DOS reported:

[B]olivian security services previously uncovered and disrupted a Hizballah cache of explosive precursors in the La Paz area. The Peruvian government’s prosecution of a Hizballah member arrested in 2015 is still ongoing, with the Peruvians successfully appealing a ruling acquitting this operative of terrorism charges.

With the help of U.S. counterparts, Paraguayan law enforcement officials arrested multiple Lebanese Hizballah-linked suspects in the Ciudad del Este area who were engaged in money laundering and drug trafficking activities, some with links to the United States.

“Panama cooperated with U.S. law enforcement on various counterterrorism cases this year, including individuals linked to Hizballah,” State added.

A local Peruvian news outlet reported in 2016 that Shiite Iran’s terror proxy Hezbollah had registered as an official political party in Peru’s Abancay province, home to the nation’s largest Muslim community.

In previous terrorism reports, State acknowledged that the socialist country of Venezuela, which is hostile to the United States, provides “a permissive environment” that benefits known terrorist groups like Hezbollah.

State reiterated in its latest report:

In May 2017, for the twelfth consecutive year, the U.S. Department of State determined, pursuant to section 40A of the Arms Export Control Act, that Venezuela was not cooperating fully with U.S. counterterrorism efforts. The country’s porous borders offered a permissive environment to known terrorist groups.

Politico found last year that former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration “derailed” a DEA operation targeting Hezbollah’s drug trafficking activities in Latin America to secure approval of the controversial Iran nuclear deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, which has taken a tough stance against Iran, pulled out of the nuclear deal and is expected to reimpose sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Under the deal, Iran was expected to reduce its nuclear weapons activities in exchange for sanctions relief.

While financial support for Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies by the heavily sanctioned regime may be drying up, the terrorist group is believed to be generating hundreds of millions of dollars from drug trafficking.

Moreover, the terrorist group is believed to be laundering billions of dollars. Forbes this year deemed Hezbollah the richest terrorist organization with an annual income of $1.1 billion, generated primarily by “aid funding from Iran, drug manufacture and trade.”

Breitbart News has learned that Iran is operating up to 100 so-called cultural centers across Latin America manned by Hezbollah and IRGC recruiters.

Hizballah’s Growing Partnership with Lebanon’s Army Provides Operational Cover

by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
September 20, 2018

Hizballah and Lebanon’s official military – the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) – are increasingly cooperating with one another, Israeli military sources say, and this relationship is helping the Iranian-backed terrorist organization run southern Lebanon.

“We actually see them working together,” an IDF official said earlier this month during a briefing to reporters near the Lebanese border. “We see them go the same villages together. We know who is who. Sometimes the Hizballah personnel wear LAF uniforms. The LAF, of course, are allowed to be here.”

The cooperation also takes the form of joint vehicle patrols, and the LAF never enters a southern Lebanese village without gaining prior Hizballah approval.

This relationship helps Hizballah get around UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which forbids it from moving armed units into south Lebanon.

Resolution 1701 does, however, permit the LAF to be in the area, enabling the Lebanese military to act as a cover for Hizballah’s activities.

With the Syrian civil war beginning to wind down, Hizballah, armed with a formidable rocket and missile arsenal, is preparing to bring its highly trained units in Syria back home to Lebanon. Many will head to the southern Lebanese front with Israel, according to IDF assessments.

The close cooperation with the LAF could allow the Shi’ite organization to deploy its forces even more effectively, as they prepare for potential war with Israel.

“The LAF has lost its independence a long time ago,” Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, a former IDF Military Intelligence research division chief, and a former director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

“Not just LAF – but all of the Lebanese security apparatus – has lost independence. We see it in ongoing cooperation in intelligence, operational, and security activities – in all of these fields. This is an area of concern,” he said.

Many in the international community “want to think about the LAF as a body that is part of the system that can be worked with, and which is not contaminated by terrorism,” Kuperwasser said. “But in reality, there are many doubts that this is in fact the situation. That should worry everyone, because no one wants to see Hizballah get more capabilities than it already has.”

Kuperwasser noted that, despite their growing cooperation, Hizballah and the LAF do not view everything eye to eye. The LAF has a commitment to the Lebanese state, while Hizballah has many identities, he noted, including Lebanese, Shi’ite, jihadist, and Iranian, as well as being heavily invested in Syria.

“Hizballah operates on many fronts. Hence, as soon as it becomes connected with the LAF, this projects on the LAF’s conduct,” the intelligence expert said.

“We see an Iranian willingness to assist the LAF. We see that the LAF is supposed to be the organization deployed in southern Lebanon, according to Resolution 1701, and ensures that there is no Hizballah presence in the area. But in actuality, because of the cooperation with Hizballah, this has turned into a fiction,” he added.

Due to such trends, Israel has repeatedly warned that it can no longer make a clear distinction between Hizballah and the Lebanese state or the LAF.

Should any potential security escalation occur, the IDF source said during the briefing earlier this month, the IDF’s response would “mostly depend on how the LAF behaves.”

“If we see the LAF move back and give us space, we will not attack them. If they take part in hostilities, we will have to attack,” he cautioned.

On a regional level, the Hizballah/LAF cooperation has also caused significant damage to Lebanon’s relationship with the Sunni Arab powers, particularly Saudi Arabia.

Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah maintains cooperation with Yemen’s Houthis forces, who are engaged in a major armed conflict with the Saudis.

“Nasrallah does not care about the Lebanese state. From Lebanon, he operates in a way that endangers the Sunni moderate states, and the U.S.,” said Kuperwasser. “And all of this happens in Lebanon with the knowledge of the LAF. This must cast a shadow on the willingness of the West and the pragmatic Arab states to cooperate with Lebanon.”

Hopes that further cooperation with Lebanon can “save the situation, and foster a different attitude, making the LAF act differently” still exist in the international community, said Kuperwasser. “But Hizballah does not read the situation this way, and neither do the Lebanese, who are continuing their cooperation with Hizballah.”

Hizballah’s three components

Hizballah’s cooperation with the LAF is just one aspect of its larger Lebanese military operations, which are made up of three main components.

The first involves defensive units, embedded in every southern Lebanese village, and in open areas. These units are tasked with challenging a potential Israeli ground offensive and also have access to underground bunkers and tunnels. The units maintain war readiness, equipment, and weapons.

A second component is Hizballah’s offensive firepower, which is estimated to exceed 120,000 missiles, making it one of the largest collections in the world. This arsenal places almost every area in Israel within range. Hizballah is expected to focus its heaviest firepower on northern Israeli border regions and Israeli military targets, but it can fire thousands of rockets at greater Tel Aviv, and beyond, paralyzing the Israeli home front.

Its third component is an elite ground attack force, called “Radwan,” which would seek to use newly gained battle experience from Syria, and cross the border into Israel, where, according to IDF assessments, its mission would be “to kill as much as they can in villages and bases, and symbolically attack in Israel, so that after the war, Hezbollah can claim: ‘We won.'”

The IDF is closely studying these threats and drawing up preparations of its own, designed to crush Hizballah in an unprecedented manner should a conflict erupt.

The fate of the LAF, it would seem, in any such scenario, would depend on its ability to stay out of the fighting.

Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is the Israel correspondent for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.

***