Hizballah last Thursday, Oct. 28, conducted a command exercise in all parts of Lebanon to test its armed militia's readiness for what its leaders called "zero hour" i.e. asserting its grip on Lebanon and "cornering" Prime Minister Saad Hariri. debkafile's military sources report the exercise took all day and led up to the sabre-rattling speech delivered by Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah that night, which was interpreted by all Lebanese factions as a declaration of war on their government and the prologue to heating up the border with Israel.
(To read our Oct. 30 report on the speech and its impact, click here.)
The Shiite terrorist group made no bones about the reasons for its war stance – just the opposite:
1. Hizballah found it necessary to answer the Israel Defense Forces' recent "electronic exercise," in keeping with a top-level Iranian-Syrian-Hizballah decision never to leave any American or Israel military step without response.
2. It was a practice for the military action planned for the hours leading up to the Special Lebanese Tribunal's issuance of indictments against Hizballah leaders for complicity in the assassination of Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri five years ago.
The "zero hour" exercise demonstrated, according to Hizballah sources, "the quick implementation on the ground" of the necessary deployment. They claimed that in "less than two hours" they were able to "maintain a security and military grip of large areas of Lebanon."
Our sources note that this is the first time Hizballah has leveled publicly about its plan for seizing control of Lebanon by force of arms – even without waiting for the STL indictments to be issued. The disclosure was made five days after the critical command exercise in order to establish a fact. It took advantage of a moment when its key opponents were otherwise engaged.
President Barack Obama has his hands full with the Democrats' sliding rating in polls ahead of the Nov. 2 midterm elections to Congress.
Saudi King Abdullah had an eye on an ambitious initiative to convene a national conciliation conference of all Iraqi factions for breaking the long impasse over the formation of a new government in Baghdad. The Saudi king was seeking an Arab breakthrough that would push Iran off the board.
And in Jerusalem, political circles in Jerusalem are full engaged in the trivia of domestic scandal, such as the illegal employment of a foreign worker at Defense Minster Ehud Barak's home or endless bickering over the stipends for yeshiva students with families.
Hizballah also feels it can safely send its gunmen out on the streets of Beirut and vent its ire on Israel without being jumped on by Western media because they are all totally absorbed in al Qaeda's bomb package plot and its intercontinental ramifications.