Friday, January 4, 2019

UANI Resource: Perspectives on Lebanon and Hezbollah

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 Perspectives: Lebanon and Hezbollah 

January 4, 2019

Perspectives: Lebanon and Hezbollah, is a UANI weekly resource highlighting developments in Lebanon and the activities of the terrorist group Hezbollah.  
Israel and Hezbollah

IDF Forms New Battalion to Protect Northern Israel from Hezbollah
Israel announced the formation of the "Gates of Fire" reserve battalion on Tuesday, to operate as the first line of defense against Hezbollah and protect Israeli communities along the northern border with Lebanon. The new battalion - given the number 9300 - is made up of reservists recently released from the Golani Brigade's elite reconnaissance battalion, and will operate under the IDF's Western Galilee regional division - the Baram Brigade.

Baram Brigade commander Col. Roi Levi said the new battalion would have a dual purpose: to defend Israel's northern communities, and to attack Hezbollah inside Lebanon.

IDF Intel Chief: Israel May Not Find all of Hezbollah's Attack Tunnels
IDF Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Tamir Heyman said this week that Operation Northern Shield might not uncover and destroy all of Hezbollah's attack tunnels. Heyman said that the goal of the operation, rather, should be to "thwart Hezbollah's primary attack plan," which he said was to "conquer villages on the Northern Border" and prevent Israel from unleashing a strong military force into Lebanese territory or focusing its attacks solely on the Lebanese side of the border.
Cabinet Formation
Lebanon Remains Without Government, as Efforts to Break Deadlock Continue
Eight months after conducting its parliamentary elections, Lebanon remains without a government. A recent compromise proposal to break the cabinet formation impasse - which arose over the demand of pro-Hezbollah "Independent Sunnis" to be part of Prime Minister Saad Hariri's government - failed after six pro-Hezbollah Sunni MPs could not agree on a consensus candidate from outside of their grouping to represent them in the cabinet.

Lebanese officials have renewed efforts this week to find a way out of the impasse, with 
caretaker Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil conducting talks with various Lebanese political leaders. Though a new compromise solution has yet to be proposed, sources seemed optimistic that a government would be formed soon. Both Hezbollah and sources within the Lebanese Presidential Palace in Baabda indicated that a government would be formed by the end of the week. However, Lebanese officials have expressed such optimistic sentiments in the past, only to see government formation efforts fail at the last minute.

Lebanon's Maronite Patriarch Tells Visiting Hezbollah Delegation Their Party is Blocking Government Formation
The Patriarch of Lebanon's Maronite Church, Beshara al-Rahi, openly blamed Hezbollah for the continued delay in the formation of a Lebanese government. Al-Rahi made his comments to a delegation from the Shiite party, headed by Political Council Vice-Chairman Mahmoud Qmati, who were visiting the Patriarch to offer Christmas and New Year's holiday greetings. Al-Rahi accused the group of disrespecting the Lebanese constitution, inventing new norms to delay cabinet formation, and recklessness towards Lebanon's dire economic and social situation. The Hezbollah delegation defended their party's stance, blaming Prime Minister Saad Hariri for the impasse.

Lebanese Security

Lebanese Army Arrests ISIS Cell
The Lebanese army reportedly arrested an ISIS cell on Wednesday. According to a Lebanese Army statement, the cell consisted of four Syrians, and was operating between the Metn and Northern Lebanon regions. The statement said the cell had been in contact with ISIS leaders. 

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