Hezbollah armed strength

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Hezbollah has the armed strength of a medium sized army.[1] Hezbollah is the most powerful non-state actor in the world[2][3] and is stronger than the Lebanese Army.[4][5][6][7] The fighting strength of Hezbollah has increased substantially since 2006.[1][8]

Hezbollah's military strength is based somewhat on the quantity and quality of the rockets they possess,[9] which they use against their primary antagonist, Israel. Estimates of Hezbollah's total missile count range from 120,000 to 150,000,[10][11][12] which is more than most countries.[13][14] The majority of these are mortars and short range rockets, but thousands are medium-range and hundreds are long-range.[1]

Hezbollah has limited amounts of anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles, as well thousands of anti-tank missiles, which they are skilled at using.[15] The group does not have any aircraft, tanks,[1] or armored vehicles in Lebanon, instead relying upon technicals.[16][17] However, Hezbollah has armor in neighboring Syria, including T-55 and T-72 tanks.[18][19][20] The group has built a large number of weapons caches, tunnels, and bunkers.[21]

In 2016, Hezbollah had 45,000 fighters, with 21,000 of them in regular service.[1][10] They are financed by Iran and trained by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.[2] Up to 8,000 Hezbollah soldiers have been deployed to Syria,[22] which weakens Hezbollah somewhat in the short term, but may strengthen the group in the long term.[9] In 2016, Hezbollah's military budget was around one billion dollars.[10][23]

Hezbollah's fighting style against Israel is considered guerrilla warfare, aimed at causing attrition through short attacks and avoiding decisive battles. Though individual Hezbollah squads are comparable to Israeli squads,[9][21] Hezbollah as a whole is "quantitatively and qualitatively" weaker than the Israel Defense Forces.[21]

Hezbollah's armed strength is challenging to measure because the group maintains high levels of secrecy[24] and because the United States, Israel, and Hezbollah itself have reasons to misstate the group's strength.[9]

Training[edit]

Hezbollah's guerrilla forces were reckoned in 2006 "to be amongst the most dedicated, motivated and highly trained" in the world.[2] Voice of America reports that "Hezbollah fighters have been schooled from a young age to submit to strict military discipline and are nurtured in a culture of martyrdom, believing that God sanctions their struggles", adding that, "their military and ideological training is rigorous."[25]

Iran provides training and funding to Hezbollah, and Syria has permitted Iran to use Damascus as a waypoint to supply the group.[26]

Weapons[edit]

Small arms[edit]

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
Browning Hi-Power Semi-automatic handgun Belgium
AKM Assault rifle USSR
Type 56 Assault rifle China Chinese AKM clone
M16 Assault rifle United States Used by Hezbollah's elite units
M4 Assault rifle United States Used by Hezbollah's elite units
AKS-74U Carbine assault rifle USSR
Škorpion vz. 61 Submachine gun Czechoslovakia
PK machine gun Machine gun USSR
Dragunov Sniper rifle USSR
Steyr SSG 69 Sniper rifle Austria
Steyr HS .50 Anti-material rifle Austria Iranian clone

Anti-tank[edit]

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
RPG-7 RPG various USSR
RPG-29 RPG Syria USSR
9M14 Malyutka ATGM 500 Iran USSR may include Iranian Raad clones
9K111 Fagot ATGM 50 Syria USSR delivered 1998, probably second-hand
9M113 Konkurs ATGM 50 Iran and Syria USSR delivered 2006
9K115-2 Metis-M ATGM 50 Syria USSR delivered 2006
9M133 Kornet ATGM 50 Syria Russia
BGM-71 TOW ATGM 10 unknown United States built in 1970s, "unstable", delivered 1999 by Iran
Toophan ATGM Iran Iran Iranian TOW clone
MILAN ATGM Syria France
M40 Recoilless rifle United States 30,000 rounds in 2008

[15][27][28][29][30][31][32][33]

Hezbollah has also received many unreported weapons shipments from Iran and Syria.[29]

Air defense[edit]

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
SA-7 MANPADS 100 Iran USSR second-hand
SA-14 MANPADS dozens Iran USSR
SA-16 MANPADS Iran USSR
SA-18 MANPADS USSR
FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS Afghanistan United States via Iran
QW-1 Vanguard MANPADS dozens Syria China
Misagh-1 MANPADS Iran Iran Iranian QW-1 clone
SA-8 Surface-to-air missile system USSR
SA-17 Surface-to-air missile system Syria USSR
SA-22 Surface-to-air missile system Iran Russia
ZSU-23-4 Self-propelled anti-aircraft weapon Syria USSR operated in Syria

[29][34][35][36][37][38]

Rockets[edit]

Model Diameter (mm) Quantity Range (km) Warhead (kg) Notes
BM-21 Grad 122 40,000 40 21
BM-27 Uragan 220 35,000 40 100
Fajr-5 333 75 90
Zelzal-2 610 500 200 600
Fateh-110 250
Scud-D 880 10 700 985 supplied by Syria[29]

[39][40][39][41]

Hezbollah possesses the Zelzal-2 which has a range of 100 km.[42] The Iranian-manufactured missile could reach Tel Aviv from Lebanon. The missile can be fitted with a 600 kg high-explosive warhead and has a solid fuel system that allows it to be easily transported and prepared for firing. Although these are unguided missiles, they could cause serious damages if launched towards urban areas.

Armored vehicles[edit]

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
T-55 Main battle tank dozens Syria and South Lebanon Army USSR
T-72 Main battle tank Syria USSR operated in Syria, 1 or more T72-AV variant
BMP-1 Infantry fighting vehicle Syria USSR operated in Syria
M113 Armoured personnel carrier 3-20 South Lebanon Army United States captured
BTR-152 Armoured personnel carrier South Lebanon Army USSR captured
BTR-50 Armoured personnel carrier South Lebanon Army USSR captured
BRDM-2 Armoured personnel carrier South Lebanon Army USSR captured
2S1 Gvozdika Self-propelled howitzer 3+ Syria USSR operated in Syria
Safir Jeep dozens Iran Iran operated in Syria

In 2015 or 2016, Hezbollah was given 75 T-55 and T-72 tanks by Syria to use in the country, as well as other armored vehicles.[18][19][20] Hezbollah has also operated T-54 and T-55 tanks on behalf of the SAA.[23] Hezbollah captured unspecified armored vehicles from Israel following Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000.[43] Hezbollah also captured additional materiel from the South Lebanon Army.

Anti-ship[edit]

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
C-802 Anti-ship missile 5 Iran China delivered 2006, probably operated by Iranian forces[44]
P-800 Oniks Anti-ship missile Russia delivered post-2006[1]

On 14 July 2006, Hezbollah forces fired a C-802 anti-ship missile at the Israeli corvette INS Hanit, killing four sailors and inflicting substantial damage. A second missile sunk a Cambodian vessel crewed by Egyptian sailors, although no deaths were reported.[45] The Israeli military believes that Iranian advisers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) were present at the launch during the attack.[46] Iran denied involvement in the incident.[47]

Unmanned aerial vehicles[edit]

Iran has supplied Hezbollah with Mohajer-4 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).[45] These flew successfully into Israeli airspace in November 2004 and April 2005.

2006 Lebanon War[edit]

Map showing some of the Israeli localities attacked by rockets fired from Lebanese soil.
Main article: 2006 Lebanon War

During the 2006 Lebanon War Hezbollah fired about 3,699 rockets into Israel, killing 118 soldiers and 44 civilians.[48]

On August 6, 2006 (one week before the end of the conflict) Israeli officials believed that its operation destroyed the vast majority of Hezbollah's longer-range rockets and about a third of the shorter range rockets, such as Katyushas. The group did, however, still have many short-range rockets which are smaller and easier to hide or store underground, and can be set up and fired in a few minutes.[46][49]

On August 13, 2006, the day before the negotiated ceasefire was to come into effect, Hezbollah launched its fiercest barrage, firing 250 rockets into Israel.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f http://www.haaretz.com/st/c/prod/eng/2016/07/lebanon2/
  2. ^ a b c https://web.archive.org/web/20060822074836/http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/jwit/jwit060726_1_n.shtml
  3. ^ http://www.mei.edu/content/article/hezbollah-syria-long-haul
  4. ^ "UN: Hezbollah has increased military strength since 2006 war". Haaretz. October 25, 2007. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ Barnard, Anne (May 20, 2013). "Hezbollah's Role in Syria War Shakes the Lebanese". New York Times. Retrieved June 20, 2013. Hezbollah, stronger than the Lebanese Army, has the power to drag the country into war without a government decision, as in 2006, when it set off the war by capturing two Israeli soldiers 
  6. ^ Morris, Loveday (June 12, 2013). "For Lebanon's Sunnis, growing rage at Hezbollah over role in Syria". Washington Post. Retrieved June 20, 2013. ... Hezbollah, which has a fighting force generally considered more powerful than the Lebanese army. 
  7. ^ "Hezbollah Upsets The Balance in Lebanon". VOA. June 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ "UN: Hezbollah has increased military strength since 2006 war". Haaretz. October 25, 2007. Retrieved September 5, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d https://pando.com/2015/07/02/war-nerd-how-many-soldiers-does-hezbollah-have-and-why-it-so-hard-find-out/
  10. ^ a b c http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Analysis-Hezbollah-powerful-but-more-stretched-than-ever-457035
  11. ^ http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/03/03/hezbollah-claims-a-nuclear-option-in-tense-standoff-with-israel.html
  12. ^ http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/middle-east/israel-and-the-middle-east/after-a-decade-hezbollahs-weapons-arsenal-21730
  13. ^ http://www.weeklystandard.com/missiles-everywhere/article/2002770
  14. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20160615113054/http://www.thetower.org/3505oc-report-hezbollah-has-more-rockets-than-27-nato-countries-combined/
  15. ^ a b http://defense-update.com/analysis/lebanon_war_4.htm
  16. ^ http://militaryedge.org/armaments/assorted-vehicles/
  17. ^ http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/1.696801
  18. ^ a b https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htarm/20151002.aspx
  19. ^ a b http://www.alraimedia.com/ar/article/special-reports/2015/09/26/623237/nr/syria
  20. ^ a b http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4704278,00.html
  21. ^ a b c http://www.thetower.org/article/the-new-hezbollah-israels-next-war-will-be-a-godawful-mess/
  22. ^ http://www.wsj.com/articles/iran-foreign-legion-leads-battle-in-syrias-north-1455672481
  23. ^ a b http://www.reuters.com/article/us-syria-hezbollah-special-report-idUSBRE98P0AI20130926
  24. ^ http://militaryedge.org/armaments/assorted-anti-aircraft-artillery/
  25. ^ http://www.voanews.com/a/hezbollah-develops-new-skills-in-syria-posing-challenges-for-israel/3304664.html
  26. ^ Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism (2006-04-28). "Country Reports on Terrorism: State Sponsors of Terror Overview". Retrieved 2006-07-17. 
  27. ^ Dangerous But Not Omnipotent: Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East, Frederic Wehrey, David E. Thaler, Nora Bensahel, Kim Cragin, Jerrold D. Green, page 95
  28. ^ https://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htarm/20080827.aspx
  29. ^ a b c d http://www.defenddemocracy.org/content/uploads/documents/Schanzer_Badran_Daoud_Third_Lebanon_War.pdf
  30. ^ http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/A-Yearbook/2008/en/Small-Arms-Survey-2008-Chapter-01-EN.pdf
  31. ^ http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/H-Research_Notes/SAS-Research-Note-31.pdf
  32. ^ http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/values.php
  33. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20090227153717/http://cedarsrevolution.net/blog/?p=173
  34. ^ http://militaryedge.org/armaments/assorted-samsmissile-defense/
  35. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20090227153717/http://cedarsrevolution.net/blog/?p=173
  36. ^ http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/A-Yearbook/2008/en/Small-Arms-Survey-2008-Chapter-01-EN.pdf
  37. ^ http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/fileadmin/docs/H-Research_Notes/SAS-Research-Note-31.pdf
  38. ^ http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/values.php
  39. ^ a b "Hezbollah's rocket force". BBC. 2006-07-18. 
  40. ^ Harel, Amos (2010-04-13). "Syria is shipping Scud missiles to Hezbollah". Haaretz. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  41. ^ McGregor, Andrew. "The Jamestown Foundation: Hezbollah's Rocket Strategy". Jamestown.org. Retrieved 2011-01-27. 
  42. ^ http://www.jpost.com/Iranian-Threat/News/Iran-We-supplied-Zelzal-2-to-Hizbullah
  43. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2000/05/25/world/for-israeli-troops-a-mixture-of-happiness-and-pain.html
  44. ^ http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/values.php
  45. ^ a b "Hizballah Rockets". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 2006-08-01. 
  46. ^ a b Gardner, Frank (2006-08-03). "Hezbollah missile threat assessed". BBC. 
  47. ^ "Iran to supply Hezbollah with surface-to-air missiles". Agence France-Presse. 2006-08-04. 
  48. ^ "Middle East crisis: Facts and figures". BBC. 2006-08-31. 
  49. ^ Edward Cody and Molly Moore (2006-08-05) "Israeli Warplanes Hit Lebanon's Christian Areas," The Washington Post.