Members of the independent High-Level Military Group (HLMG) include Iraq war veteran US Lt. General Michael D. Barbero, General Klaus Dieter Neumann, former commander of the German armed forces, Lord Richard Dannatt, former commander of the British armed forces, and Lt. General Kamal Davar, the former head of India’s Defense Intelligence Agency. Their report asserted that Hezbollah now represents “a threat that few countries, much less sub-state organizations, on the globe can mount.”
The report warns that war with Israel is “inevitable,” and warned that it is certain to be “more violent and destructive” than previous conflicts. It has been reported that Hezbollah has been withdrawing its forces from Syria in recent weeks, and transferring them toward Israel’s borders on the Golan Heights.
“Israeli intelligence estimates put the number of projectiles in Hezbollah’s possession today at well over 100,000,” the report, titled “Hezbollah’s Terror Army: How To Prevent A Third Lebanon War,” said. “The majority of these are short-range rockets, but thousands have a much larger range, up to 150 miles and more.”
HLMG’s report points out that Hezbollah’s participation in the defense of the Iranian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad improved the organization’s “ability to maneuver and carry out relatively large-scale ground attacks at the scale of company or battalion level.”
Further, the report emphasized that Iran played a decisive role in strengthening Hezbollah’s capabilities. “The upgrade in Hezbollah capabilities is one discernible result of Iran and Hezbollah’s ongoing project to equip the latter with more accurate longer-range missiles, so as to be able to more effectively menace Israel,” it said, and continued, “Hezbollah embeds its military assets among the Lebanese civilians it claims to protect, holds Lebanese politics and questions of war and peace hostage to its Iranian-led regional military imperatives, and has infiltrated Lebanese state organs, including the army, to utilize them for its aims.”
However, the report explained that “the international environment has changed since the previous war, and a defensive assault on Hezbollah, a terror organization now strongly associated with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, will generate full support not only from the United States, but likely also from other Western countries, in addition to tacit but increasing support from the Sunni Arab world.”
The report concluded by saying, “Hezbollah’s strategic concept, coupled to the gains Iran has made regionally … mean that Israeli decision makers are firm in the belief that they will have to respond with overwhelming force and at great speed to any escalation forced upon them.”