Bibi vs. Hezbollah?: The Latest Israel-Lebanon Standoff
Amidst multiple skirmishes and a hail of airstrikes, Hamas’ religious scholars have a message they’d like “Bibi” (the colloquial nickname given to Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu) to hear:
"Allah, grant victory to Jihad warriors in Palestine, guide their strikes and gunfire upon the Jews' throats, stabilize the warriors' legs and bring forth their stabbing blades into their hearts.
Allah, instill them into your soldiers' arms and enable them to kill the army of Jews, destroy the Jews' weapons, capture Jewish soldiers, and destroy the Jews.
Allah, paralyze their organs and freeze the blood in their arteries, give them a brutal defeat. Allah is great and victory is to Islam. Praise Allah."
This type of violent rhetoric is being referred to as a “fatwa.” A “fatwa” is a formal ruling or interpretation of Islamic law–sometimes a call to action. You may, for example, remember the term “fatwa” from the Salman Rushdie assault in 2022.
In reality, a fatwa is not usually harmful, violent, or pejorative like this is. Instead, a fatwa typically provides guidance to Muslims seeking to live in accordance with their faith. These legal opinions can cover various aspects of life, such as dietary laws, marital issues, and ethical questions.
There are more extreme edicts, however.
Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, for example, issued a “fatwa” against writer Salman Rushdie in 1989–calling for his execution over his published novel “The Satanic Verses,” which was considered heresy by parts of the Islamic community.
Decades later, Rushdie sustained grave injuries–which he ultimately survived–in a brutal stabbing, allegedly at the hands of twenty-four-year-old New Jersey resident Hadi Matar. According to The New York Post, Matar had previously expressed sympathies for the Iranian government (though no official motive has been established yet).
With all of this in mind, a “fatwa” is clearly an invocation not to be taken lightly, as they carry dire consequences for the condemned. Though we’ll expand upon this later, we must first address a more immediate issue–the involvement of Hezbollah in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how the issuance of a “fatwa” escalates the situation further.
Table of Contents
Iran – So Far Away.
The Score, To Be Settled.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Quran. (Image courtesy of Unsplash)
In Arabic, "fatwa" means “explanation” or “clarification.” Typically, this means to clarify or explain a point in Islamic law. Most commonly, this would be akin to a minister or priest referencing the Christian Bible for passages to guide one through a spiritual crisis or everyday problem.
Rarely would a fatwa call for death or incite violence, as fatawa (the plural form of “fatwa”) are generally innocuous. For example, if a Muslim man found himself conflicted on choosing between career paths, the man could seek clarification on how he should best continue living in the light of his faith, while finding balance in the modern world.
Note that a fatwa can only be issued by a religious scholar, much in the same way one would seek the opinion of a local priest–i.e., a subject matter expert. Similarly, it falls on Islamic scholars to provide edification in areas where Quranic doctrine is ambiguous or silent altogether.
Of course, while the prophet Muhammad was alive, these answers were easier to divine–one could simply consult their prophet. And after his passing, followers would turn to the prophet’s family members for clarification of the text.
In modern times, this duty is entrusted to Islamic scholars, who ensure followers are thriving in Allah’s (God’s) good graces, and remain unentangled in sin. Muslims, after all, consider violating righteous conduct as an egregious offense–one that could jeopardize their eternal spirit.
And while Muslims are under no obligation to blindly follow a fatwa’s declaration, the seriousness of such a statement requires deep contemplation. Within this context, fatawa containing violent rhetoric–however rare they may be–carry enormous consequences.
This is because such invocations may push moderate followers to choose a side. And while the overwhelming majority of Muslim worshippers are just as peaceful and understanding as any other human being, these calls to violence remain highly concerning–perhaps just as concerning as Hezbollah’s involvement in the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Hezbollah, in its infancy. (Associated Press)
Historically, Hezbollah has maintained deep ties to Hamas. While Ahmed Abdul-Hadi, the head of Hamas’ political branch, claims that the group did not coordinate their initial assault on October 7 with Hezbollah, sources say they are working together closely on the next steps of their fight against Israel.
Both Hezbollah and Hamas are backed by Iran, a regime with a deep-seated distaste for Israel and the West in general. This is because they perceive Israel as a political and existential threat to the stability of their culture, and the Middle East as a whole.
But what exactly is Hezbollah, the militant group oft-confused with Hamas?
The organization first emerged during Lebanon’s fifteen-year long civil war, which was stoked over religious disagreements stemming from a 1943 political treaty. Essentially, Lebanon’s power was divided amongst its dominant religious influences.
This division resulted in a Sunni Muslim prime minister, a Christian as president, and a Shiite Muslim as parliament speaker. Historically, extreme tensions have existed between these groups–to say the least. Then, in 1975, this acrimony came to a head, when war broke out.
A group of Shiites found a friend in Iran. Consequently, Iran’s Shiite dominated government came to power in 1979. This, notably, was the same year as Iran’s “Islamic revolution,” which gave rise to the Ayatollah Khomeini’s status as supreme leader.
This bloody revolution established Iran as it is commonly perceived today: a powerful theocracy, at odds with the western world. At this time, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps would provide funds and training to the emerging “Party of God” to counter Lebanon’s Shiite government.
This would secure Hezbollah as an effective proxy and asset for Iran, with Tehran supporting attacks such as the 1983 suicide bombing of a U.S. and Frenchbarracks in Beirut–killing over 300 people.
In this way, Hezbollah billed itself as a Shiite resistance movement–beliefs that would be cemented in a 1985 manifesto that vowed the expulsion of western influence from Lebanon. In this dictum, Hezbollah called for the destruction of Israel, and pledged loyalty to Tehran.
Hezbollah also loudly supported Iran’s Islamic regime, but made clear the need for the Lebanese people to maintain their own autonomy. In this, they would advocate for the execution of the group's core philosophy: freedom to determine their own destiny.
So while Iran supported and essentially created Hezbollah, they have their own agenda to adhere to: an agenda soaked with intolerance and blood.
The Ayatollah Khamenei (Image courtesy of AFP)
Iran–So Far Away.
Much as the Islamic Revolution gave rise to Iran’s infamy as we know it today, it also birthed a continued resistance against Israel.
While Israel and Iran do not share a border, distance has not mitigated hostilities. Case in point: Iran challenges Israel’s claim of sovereignty over its lands–as well as its very right to exist in the first place.
Here, it’s important to note that Iran’s governing body operates with a deep sense of religious mission. Accordingly, they rebuke Israel’s claim that Palestine is the historical home of the Jewish people. In line with other Arab countries, Iran claims that Israel is serving imperialist agendas, and decries its “Zionist” values.
As is common knowledge, Iran has no love for America. And the U.S.’s continued support of Israel–as well as its vocal condemnation of Iran’s policies–have only stoked the country’s hatred.
From this perspective, Iran has gone so far as to call Israel “America’s unlawful son”–making it its mission to oppose any American-led peace calls, and feeling great responsibility to resist any claims of legitimacy in regards to Israel’s statehood.
Iran views the success of Palestinian campaigns against Israel, and the formation of Hezbollah, as proof that their beliefs are valid and just. In their estimation, these groups are a tribute to the country's influence, and evidence of their god-given authority.
Most notably, the Ayatollah Khameini views Palestinian resistance as the pinnacle of their dogmatic doctrine. In this way, Tehran believes their Arab brethren are representing Islam as a whole–directly opposing Zionist and Western conspiracy.
Perhaps most worrying of all, however, is Iran’s nuclear capabilities (which, it should be noted, have not been confirmed). Their alliance with Hamas and Hezbollah gives rise to the question: “Will they supply these groups with nuclear weapons?”
Prime Minister “Bibi” Netanyahu delivers a speech regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities. (Image courtesy of Jack Guez/Getty)
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has presented the world with a worrying question: Will we see nuclear weapons used? With Israel’s increasing airstrikes, militants are feeling increasingly pressured to respond with overwhelming force. Iran’s potential capabilities–and its close ties to militant groups–make the question all the more relevant.
In 2011, with the help of America’s long-time rival, Russia, Iran completed its first nuclear reactor. Most of Iran’s nuclear program has been centered around the claim that it wishes to enrich uranium for the sole purpose of nuclear energy.
Such a claim, of course, has drawn international ire and speculation, as Iran has a storied history of behaving extremely erratically in regards to any form of regulation. In fact, Iran has even gone so far as to bar several inspectors from performing their duties to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
To explain, the IAEA is an international watchdog and regulatory agency that oversees atomic programs. By denying them access to facilities and enrichment complexes, Iran broadcasts to the world that they are not interested in playing by the rules with their nuclear materials.
Perhaps muddying these waters is Israel’s deliberate ambiguity towards their own nuclear weapons. Though the country will neither confirm nor deny that they are holding such capabilities, it is widely believed the state is holding a stockpile of 80-400 weapons.
Iran, meanwhile, claims that they are using their nuclear materials for the sole purpose of civil infrastructure through nuclear power plants. It’s not any stretch of the imagination, though, to see why they would be very interested in having a few nukes lying around.
Perhaps emboldening this paranoia was the introduction of the Stuxnet virus in 2010. This virus was delivered to Iranian nuclear power facilities with the intention of disrupting their enrichment capabilities. Widely considered the first cyber-warfare weapon, Stuxnet caused Iranian nuclear centrifuges used for uranium enrichment to fail, and, in some cases, to become physically damaged.
Though there has been no official confirmation, it is believed that this virus caused between 900-1000 centrifuges to become degraded–setting Iran’s nuclear enrichment program back decades.
One might ask: “So? What does that have to do with Israel?” Well, a virus as complex as Stuxnet would have required extensive, monumental knowledge to create and implement. As such, Iran has long maintained its claim that the U.S. and Israel conspired to sabotage them.
So while Iran continues to fume over Israel’s nuclear proliferation, as well as Israel’s purported involvement in the Stuxnet fiasco, Hezbollah has a score to settle. But before we address this, we must understand how Hezbollah rose to such infamy.
Hezbollah supporters rally during the 2022 elections. (Image courtesy of AFP/Getty)
The Score, To Be Settled.
After Hezbollah’s inception, the group began a series of phases to expand their power. Firstly, from 1982-1991, the group focused on kinetic warfare to expel Western and Israeli forces from Lebanon.
In 1982, following the attempted assassination of an Israeli ambassador, Israel invaded Lebanon. Though the assassination attempt was carried out by a rebel cadre loosely affiliated with the Palestine Liberation Organization, Israel sought to crush any and all Palestinian militant operations–including those launched from nearby Lebanon.
The conflict resulted in over 17,000 dead. Although Israel would ultimately prevail via a U.S.-brokered agreement in 1983 which facilitated the PLO’s retreat to Tunisia, Israel would continue their occupation of Lebanon.
Consequently, Israel created a “militarized security zone” in southern Lebanon, which it maintained until the year 2,000. Israel claimed this buffer zone would allow them to appropriately defend against Lebanese militants by disrupting their movements.
This militarized zone would see its fair share of conflict, spilling over onto both sides. Though fighting at this front became an unfortunate staple, attacks against Jews would not be constrained by borders.
In 1994, Hezbollah was blamed for a series of car bombings at a Jewish community center in Argentina that left eighty-five people dead. Hezbollah was also responsible for a bombing of the Israeli Embassy in London.
Following Israel’s withdrawal from the militarized zone in 2000, Hezbollah reengaged in skirmishes with Israel along the Shebaa Farms border countless times. And most recently, Israel exchanged fire with Hezbollah along the border, directly following the Hamas attack in early October 2023.
During this time, Hezbollah began to creep into the Lebanese government, in hope of gaining a foothold with lawmakers. Accordingly, from 1992-2000, Hezbollah entered candidates into general elections.
Ultimately, they succeeded in securing eight seats, but never relented in their active warfare against Israel. Indeed, during this time, Hezbollah launched a guerilla campaign, resulting in the deaths of over 900 Israeli soldiers.
This campaign would eventually weaken Israel’s public support of southern Lebanon’s occupation. Hezbollah, meanwhile, succeeded in the expulsion of Israeli forces in mid-2000.
Next, Hezbollah, emboldened by its “victory” over Israel, attempted to further cement its foothold in Lebanon. However, now that Israel had been “defeated,” many citizens asked whether Hezbollah should remain as powerful as they were. After all, other Lebanese militias had surrendered their weapons following Israel's withdrawal.
Hezbollah politely declined.
Undeterred, Hezbollah would go on to trigger a thirty-four day long war in 2006 by abducting Israeli soldiers. The war ended in a stalemate, with 1,100 Lebanese and 160 Israelis dead. And as these conflicts began to compound, the Arab world grew more impressed with Hezbollah.
Here was a militia directly confronting, engaging, and at times defeating Israel. Accordingly, their popularity skyrocketed, as the popular sentiment amongst religious extremists was: “People were impressed that it stuck a finger in Israel’s eye and lived to tell the tale.”
Hezbollah fighters conduct a military exercise near Lebanon’s border, 2023. (Image courtesy of Anwar Amro/AFP)
Recently, Iran has called Hezbollah to prepare for an Israeli ground offensive. As such, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Abdollahian issued a statement proclaiming: “Lebanese and Palestinian soldiers loyal to Tehran are ready to pull the trigger, in case of an Israeli ground operation in Gaza.”
This statement is made all the more worrying in light of recent events, as Israel’s bombardment beginning on October 28th has turned Gaza into a “ball of fire.”
Indeed, Israeli Defense Forces on the ground in Gaza and northern Israel are currently reporting entrenched skirmishes in the region. There have, for example, been several anti-tank guided missiles launched at the Israeli town of Metula, which is surrounded on three sides by Lebanon–areas under the direct control of Hezbollah.
Between airstrikes, forces report they are encountering sniper fire, dense rocket attacks, and are exposed to routes that would facilitate a ground invasion. The rockets being used are purported to have been supplied by Iran.
These are referred to as PGMs, or precision guided rocketry. The current worry is that with Iran and Hezbollah working so closely together, one could fairly easily draw a line between the possibility of nuclear arms being affixed to these precision guided rockets.
While no evidence of such collaboration exists at the moment, Iran’s flouting of inspectors, failure to report progress, and Israel’s own provocation are enough to raise eyebrows and force protection conditions around the globe.
It is within this context that “Bibi,” or Prime Minister Netanyahu, delivered a rousing speech at the UN in September, just weeks before Hamas attacked. In this speech, the prime minister proclaimed that “Iran must face a credible nuclear threat.” He added: “As long as I'm Prime Minister of Israel, I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.”
Naturally, Iran responded with a further ominous rebuke, stating: "We will not hesitate to exercise our legitimate and inherent rights to defend our national interests.”
What rights might Iran execute? And what could that mean in this conflict, given that Iran is openly using Hezbollah as a proxy for its interests?
Continuing conflict. (Image courtesy of China Global TV Network)
One very important factor to note in all of this uncertainty is the U.S. and Europe’s involvement in this conflict. For context, both America and Europe have faced previous retaliatory attacks from Hezbollah in the past, directly related to Israel and its incursions.
Likewise, both the United States and Europe have openly voiced support for Israel–but also support for the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. We can only hope that our leadership remains impartial and involved in mitigating this crisis, while not inviting harm upon the rest of us.
While we can only pray that our leadership makes the right decisions, we too can make our own choices and better prepare ourselves and our families for any secondary or retaliatory attacks from Hezbollah or other terrorist groups.
At this very moment, there is no credible threat in regards to a nuclear attack against the U.S. or Europe from either Iran or Hezbollah. However, with how fast developments are flooding in from the region… it would be incumbent upon all savvy survivalists to hope for the best, while preparing for the worst.
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War is hell. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)
While our collective hearts continue to break as we watch the Israeli-Palestinian conflict devolve into frenzied skirmishes and frighteningly devastating airstrikes, a seasoned survivalist remains stoic.
Though we allow ourselves to feel empathy for those affected, we cannot become lost in our own anxieties. This is not to say we should close our hearts to the conflict, however. Rather, one would be best advised to open your heart to the atrocities–to truly feel the plight of the Israeli and Palestinian people.
To view the current conflict with sympathetic eyes, and think to yourself: “What if this was happening to my family? To my friends? To my country?”
What if Hezbollah were to directly threaten us? Spoiler: They have.
“If the U.S. intervenes directly, all U.S. positions in the region will become legitimate targets of the resistance axis and face our attacks. And on that day there will be no red line.”
– Hezbollah spokesperson
As far as we’re concerned, that’s a battle line drawn. That’s an invocation to be ready–to arm ourselves, to remain in the light of our own safety. Let MIRA Safety do the research for you, as we continue to bring you the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and continue to bring you the most in-depth and concise product information available.
Stay savvy, survivalists.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you've ever dived into Israeli politics, you've probably heard the name “Bibi.” That's because that’s the longtime nickname of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been at the helm of Israel as Prime Minister for quite a stretch. During this time, supporters and critics alike have referred to him as “Bibi.” Often making waves with his conservative views, “Bibi” Netanyahu has recently found himself at the center of a corruption trial, which sparked nationwide protests.
Love him or not-so-much, when you're chatting about the political scene in Israel, “Bibi” is definitely a name that comes up.
As previously mentioned, “Bibi” is the nickname given to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In Israeli culture, many politicians and noble people are referred to by their nicknames. This is a result of Israel being a very informal country.
There is a common misconception that Bibi is a meaningful word in Hebrew–it is not. Israeli culture is very comfortable with nicknames for formal reference, especially amongst those who have served in a military position.
Simply put, an airstrike can be any form of attack or deployment of a weapons system from an air-based vehicle. These offensive operations are a critical tenant of many militaries, as they can allow for precise and devastating neutralization of targets with minimal dangers presented to an aerospace platform. In contrast, airstrikes can also be used to cause widespread damage in the form of carpet bombings, kinetic bombardment, and even laser weapons.
A skirmish is something of a mini-battle, or a quick face-off between opposing sides, usually during a bigger conflict. Picture it: two sides testing the waters, but not diving headlong into a major showdown. Skirmishes can be strategic moves or just the warm-up act for the main event.
Skirmish is a formal warfare term often confused with the phrase “scrimmage”. Whereas scrimmage denotes an exhibition sporting event, the term skirmish refers to a fight involving smaller bodies of troops. If a battle refers to larger proportions of organized units like battalions or squadrons, a skirmish would be composed of lesser units like squads or platoons. These encounters are typically brief, but can serve as tinder for larger conflicts to come.
You might've come across the name Hassan Nasrallah if you've been keeping tabs on the Middle East. As the leader of the political party and militant group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah has played a central role in the organization's political and military activities. With a reputation for fiery rhetoric and a steadfast dedication to his cause, Nasrallah often addresses his followers through televised speeches, making significant announcements and delineating Hezbollah's stance on relevant issues.
In short, guerrilla warfare is all about having the locals on your side, really knowing the lay of the land, and maintaining some solid communication. Get these right, and it can seriously shake things up in the bigger war picture.
Skirmishes in guerrilla warfare? Think of them as the little jabs before a big punch. Small, agile groups taking quick shots at the big guys. It's all about quick hits, tiring out the enemy, and not sticking around too long for a full-blown fight.
When we talk about the recent war scene, airstrikes have really been game-changers. This is because they've been used to target key military assets, disrupt supply lines, and gain a tactical advantage. In this way, airstrikes force both sides to adapt their tactics and reevaluate their positions, making the whole conflict feel like an ever-shifting chessboard.