Hezbollah Leader Threatens Escalation With Israel But Stops Short of Declaring War

Chris Menahan
Nov. 03, 2023

Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said Friday during his much-hyped speech that "all options are on the table" but stopped short of declaring war on Israel.

From ZeroHedge, "Hezbollah Chief: US 'Directly Responsible' For Gaza Atrocities, Will Soon Pay 'Heavy Price'":
Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah's speech went for just under one-and-a-half hours, and while full of threats and ultra-provocative heated words aimed at Israel and the United States, this was not a declaration of war speech. But he emphasized that Hezbollah's full entry into war with Israel will be determined based on developing events in Gaza, and whether Israel halts its attacks on the Palestinian people. Shelling on the Israel-Lebanese border was reportedly ongoing through and by the end of the speech in Beirut (Nasrallah addressed his top officers via remote feed from a secure location). Some highlights from Nasrallah's speech...

All "Options" on the table

"I assure you all options are open on the southern front. They can be adopted anytime," he said. "I assure you it will not be the end, this is not sufficient."

"If you wish to steer away from a regional war, you must end the war on Gaza. This front will develop according to developments in Gaza."

"If Israel strikes Lebanon it will be the most foolish act in all of Israel's existence."

US sent message to Hezbollah, warning its ships & planes will attack

Nasrallah related that Hezbollah was warned soon after Oct.7 that US ships and war planes positioned in the Mediterranean would bombard southern Lebanon if Hezbollah fighters escalate attacks on Israel.

But Nasrallah said, "We will continue to infiltrate" and that Hezbollah's calculus will be "a civilian for a civilian" - meaning that attacks from southern Lebanon will be determined based on the intensity of Israel's attacks on Palestinians.

On prospect of major regional war

"To the Americans I say, focusing your threats on Hezbollah and the region are pointless," Nasrallah said. The US said it "would not only attack Lebanon but will attack Iran."

"Your fleets in the Mediterranean do not and will not cause us to fear. We have prepared for your fleet what it takes. You Americans remember your defeats from Lebanon (early 80s), Iraq, and Afghanistan... your humiliating retreat from Afghanistan. He praised the recent attacks by Iraqi Shia militias against US based in the region.

"If an all out war erupts your fleet will be no good, your warplanes will be pointless, you will pay a heavy price."

America oversees aggression on Gaza, and can stop it

“Only you Americans can end what is happening now in Gaza, since you started it. The only factor that will affect our position is the progression of the war.” US is "directly responsible".

"I tell Israel: Do not go any further. Many civilians have already died. I promise you: A civilian for a civilian."

Hezbollah attacks have forced Israel to pull military assets

At one point in the speech he laid out that Hezbollah's daily missiles and shelling of northern Israel (which have remained limited) have served to force Israel to deploy up to one-third of its military hardware and assets to its northern border.

Nasrallah explained that in doing so, Israel is not prevented from focusing its full firepower on attacking "resistance factions" (Hamas and PIJ) in Gaza.
Kuwait's Al-Jarida newspaper, citing Iranian diplomatic sources, reported on Friday that Nasrallah had delivered an ultimatum to the US demanding that Israel agree to a ceasefire in Gaza by Friday or else he will announce "a general mobilization of Shia units for war with Israel and will launch military operations against Israel from all directions."

Evidently, that was just a bluff.

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