Killing Samir Kuntar.8:04 PM, Jul 29, 2015 • By LEE SMITH
Israeli media is reporting that an IAF strike on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border killed several pro-Assad fighters today. One of them is believed to be Samir Kuntar. Many are hoping that it is.
The 53 year-old Kuntar killed a four-year girl with the butt of his rife and shot her father to death on an Israeli beach in 1979. He was held in Israeli prisons for 29 years and was released in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed and captured by Hezbollah. Kuntar, from a Druze family, was celebrated in his native Lebanon and throughout the Arab world as a hero of the resistance to the “occupation.” Al Jazeera threw a birthday party for him in 2008. Hezbollah gave him a job.
Kuntar was responsible for recruiting Druze from Syrian villages on the Golan to partake in Hezbollah operations on the Israeli border. Kuntar is believed to be responsible for inciting a gang of Israeli Druze to attack an IDF ambulance and lynch the two wounded Syrians the vehicle was carrying. More generally, Kuntar seems to have been tapped to lead Hezbollah Syria, the Party of God’s sister outfit, a post that was once filled by Jihad Mughniyeh, before he was killed by an Israeli strike in January.
The Golan is key strategic ground that Israel is loath to see Iran and its allies turn into a second front from where it can launch missile and rocket attacks. Accordingly, Israel has been coordinating with various Syrian rebel units in order to keep the Iranians and Hezbollah off the Golan. This morning’s strike is likely the product of intelligence provided by Syrian rebels.
It’s not yet clear how the Obama administration will react to today’s news. Surely there are no Samir Kuntar fans in the White House, and yet Kuntar was a significant part of Iran’s regional security architecture. The Iranians therefore are not going to be happy, and they may cause problems for the administration.
John Kerry says that the White House can and will push back against Iran, but that’s delusional. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is structured so that Iran pushes the buttons and controls the levers—if they don’t like what the White House is doing, or isn’t doing, they can threaten to cheat on the deal, or trash the agreement entirely. The White House is heavily invested in making sure the regime in Tehran is pleased with the new arrangements. What will the White House think about Israel bumping off Iranian assets?
10:20 AM, Jun 23, 2015 • By LEE SMITH
In response to yesterday’s Bloomberg View report that Iran’s forces and the United States share bases in Iraq, Senator Tom Cotton has issued a strong
3:45 PM, Jun 17, 2015 • By LEE SMITH
Immediately after the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship Tuesday night with a 105-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, one of the commentators asked Golden State coach Steve Kerr who he was thinking about. “Lute Olson,” said Kerr, referring to the legendary University of Arizona coach whom Kerr played for in the mid-80s.
Unfortunately, they're right.3:37 PM, May 6, 2015 • By TONY BADRAN
Last week, the Israeli Air Force struck a cache of long-range missiles belonging to Hezbollah and put the Shia militia on notice.
A better way forward in the Middle East.Apr 20, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 30 • By MAX BOOT and MICHAEL DORAN
The ouster of ISIS fighters from Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s hometown, has been widely celebrated. Although this victory was brought about in no small part by American airpower, it was a triumph for Iran more than for the United States. The vast majority of fighters on the front lines belonged to Shiite militias, many of them trained, equipped, and advised by the Iranians. Their de facto commander is Gen. Qassem Suleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force, which is charged with exporting the Iranian revolution.
Is Iran’s Lebanese client losing its grip? Feb 2, 2015, Vol. 20, No. 20 • By LEE SMITH
Last week Hezbollah buried one of its princes, Jihad Mughniyeh, the 22-year-old son of the late Imad Mughniyeh, a legendary Hezbollah commander implicated in such infamous operations as the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. The assassination
12:10 PM, Oct 10, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Experts continue to debate whether the explosion at an Iranian military base at Parchin earlier in the week was an act of sabotage.
The tunnels of Hamas and Hezbollah.Aug 4, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 44 • By LEE SMITH
During the first two weeks of the Gaza conflict, Hamas landed at least two significant punches. In firing missiles at Ben Gurion Airport, Hamas convinced the Federal Aviation Authority and European air carriers to temporarily suspend flights to Israel. The fact that relatively primitive rockets falling far short of their targets are nonetheless capable of at least briefly severing an advanced Western democracy with a leading tech economy from the rest of the world is a psychological blow.
Jun 2, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 36 • By LEE SMITH
Last month the president of the Syrian Opposition Coalition went to the White House. Ahmad Jarba and the Syrian rebels want American weapons, in particular the shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles that might neutralize Bashar al-Assad’s air force and stop it from dropping barrel bombs loaded with chlorine gas canisters. What Jarba got instead was a handshake and platitudes.
Talking to Matthew Levitt about his new book 'Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God.'1:19 PM, Feb 13, 2014 • By LEE SMITH
Six years ago Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated when the headrest in his car was detonated in Damascus. While Israeli intelligence neither denies nor confirms its involvement, the Mossad is generally believed to have been responsible for his death. And yet there is no shortage of Western as well as Arab intelligence services that wanted Mughniyeh dead—including the CIA, whose station chief William Buckley Hezbollah abducted, tortured and killed in 1985. Moreover, Mughniyeh was responsible for the April 1983 bombing of the American embassy in Beirut that killed 17 Americans, and the Marines barracks bombing in October of that year that killed 244 American marines, sailors, soldiers and airmen. As founder and director of Hezbollah’s terrorism apparatus, Mughniyeh left a long wake of blood across the world. And even six years after his death, Mughniyeh’s legacy of terror lives on, as Hezbollah has recently plotted operations on several continents, including Europe, Asia and Africa.
Why Hezbollah is fighting alongside Bashar al-Assad—and almost didn’t.3:58 PM, Feb 12, 2014 • By MATTHEW LEVITT
Remember a few years ago when Iranian officials had to intervene to prevent Hezbollah gunmen from turning on their Syrian patrons? Few people do. Today, the "axis of resistance" is as strong as ever, with Iran and Hezbollah fully committed to fighting for the survival of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, despite battlefield losses and the political costs of siding with a brutal dictator who gasses and bombs his own people.
An exclusive interview with Lebanon’s former prime minister on the eve of the trial against the four Hezbollah members who murdered his father.12:20 PM, Jan 17, 2014 • By LEE SMITH