March 4, 2013
Intelligence Bulletin March 4, 2013
Information Date: March 4. 2013
Information Details: A new militia has been formed in South Lebanon aimed to “Free the Shaba’h Farms occupied by Israel.” The Militia consists of dozens of militants who have been trained over the past few months north of the Litani River in Lebanon.
Source: Media Platform
Source Reliability: Unknown
Information validity: Unknown
Relevant information: Shaba’ah farms is a small complex of deserted agricultural farms scattered over a small area on the northwest slopes of Mt. Dov, in the region of Mt. Hermon in the triangle border region of Israel-Syria-Lebanon.
Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite organization, argues that the farms are located in Lebanese territory allegedly occupied by Israel. Thus Hezbollah is using that argument as an excuse to continue the fight against Israel.
Historical facts do not comply with Hezbollah’s argument; though the farms were partially cultivated by Lebanese workers during the 1950’s and the 1960’s, Shab’ah Farms are located in an area that was part of Syrian territory prior to the 1967 war.
The farms are presented on formal Syrian stamps from that time period and the area is formally included in a demographic census conducted by the Syrian government prior to 1967.
Assessment: If the information is accurate, it is likely to assume that this militia is in fact a “Ghost” militia – a façade – for Hezbollah activity.
I base my evaluation – that this “militia group” is in fact Hezbollah – on the following reasons:
a) According to UN Security Council Resolution 1701 following the 2006 war, Hezbollah’s is not allowed to deploy its military forces south of the Litani River. Thus, using the term “North of the Litani River” in the report, hints that the militia is in fact a façade.
b) Hezbollah defies Resolution 1701 and maintains a military presence south of the Litani River as well – yet they keep a low profile. Like most Lebanese villages in south Lebanon, the villages located in the Lebanese territory near Shab’ah Farms are well known to be influenced by Hezbollah. Though other militant organizations are operating in South Lebanon, and some have been involved in launching sporadic rocket attacks on Israeli territory, Hezbollah is the dominant power in south Lebanon; it is unlikely such a militia would train, practice, be armed and operate without Hezbollah’s knowledge and approval.
c) As Hezbollah sinks deeper in the Syrian mud (read more about it in my previous articles published in the Lebanon Category of my blog) and the scenario of the percolation of the war in Syria into Lebanon seems to be more and more real, it is possible that Hezbollah is seeking to generate an escalation along the Israeli-Lebanese borders by again using the issue of Shab’ah Farms as an excuse.
That way Hezbollah may try to ease the pressure they are experiencing as a result of their involvement in the war in Syria.
It is unlikely that Hezbollah would claim formal responsibility for such an escalation; rather they will use a sub-contractor in the form of a “Ghost” militia.
End of Bulletin