Gérard al-Khoury was an armored officer in the SLA. After he was wounded and recovered, he was appointed Ordnance Officer of the Eastern Brigade of the South Lebanon Army. During his tenure, the SLA numbered 3,500 soldiers and officers, most of them Christians and a minority Shiites, Sunnis and Druze. The SLA disbanded when Israel withdrew from Lebanon in May 2000.
Documentation: IDF attacks Hezbollah terrorist targets in southern Lebanon// IDF Spokesperson
Al-Khoury says that villages near the border with Israel have a Christian majority, but he fled north when the Iron Sword War broke out. "They fled because Hezbollah soldiers enter their homes and shoot from inside, so Israel returns fire to the sources of fire and they are hit. The villagers, of course, cannot resist Hezbollah soldiers. Those who did not manage to flee are now dealing with Hezbollah, which does not allow them to leave because it uses it as a human shield, as Hamas does in Gaza. They know that the IDF is a moral army and they know very well that the IDF will not fire at civilians unless a launch comes from that house. From time immemorial, and further in the future, they will use civilians. Hezbollah doesn't care if the residents die."
Jarrar says that even though Hezbollah effectively controls Lebanon, they still use the worldview of guerrilla forces that go out to fight from within the local population and return to seek refuge from the people. Although Hezbollah cynically uses the civilian population, a large part of the Shiite population provides them with the necessary backing because Hezbollah, with Iranian funding, provides the residents with food and medicine, and some are even connected to these residents by family ties.
How is it possible that Hezbollah has amassed so much power among our neighbor to the north?
Al-Khoury explains: "Now in Lebanon there is no state, there has been no president for a year, there is nothing. Iran effectively rules through Hezbollah, and Nasrallah takes the country wherever he wants. He controls the ports, the airport, the land border crossings into Syria, everything. It has a military force whose significance is beyond the order of its forces. His soldiers fight not out of loyalty to the party, but out of religious faith.
Nasrallah. "His people are asking for death," Photo: Reuters, Photo: Reuters
"We must remember that we are not fighting against a state, but against religious fundamentalists. As far as the soldier in front of us is concerned, he has no problem dying. On the contrary - he has in his mind that if he falls in battle, he ascends to the sky where 72 virgins, food and alcohol are waiting for him. That's what they pushed into his head from the age of 5. He didn't fight for Lebanon or Nasrallah or anything. He fought for God."
Sam of the Martyrs
"You have to go deep into religion and understand. He asks for death. That's why the suspect arrest procedure doesn't apply here. Why would he stop? We do not act against ordinary people, but against people who are not afraid to die – quite the opposite. Moreover, Nasrallah, like Haniyeh, distributes captagon (pentylene), the "martyr's drug" found in the bodies of Hamas terrorists who carried out the massacre in the south. My son is also in the army, and I don't want to worry anyone, but that's the situation."
You actually managed to worry a little. So what should we do?
"There are generals bigger and more experienced than me, I say only my opinion. We must not enter Lebanon directly on the ground. We must remember that 23 years have passed in which Nasrallah, with Iranian funding, dug tunnels and accumulated many anti-tank missiles. We need to think of some kind of tactical deception. Nor should the war last more than a year. We have already learned that it is forbidden to sink into the Lebanese mud."
Throughout the entire interview, Al-Khoury reiterates that if we enter Lebanon, we must do so with a clear mission, so that the mistakes of previous times will not be repeated. "The mission cannot be to 'eliminate Hezbollah,' because Hezbollah is a belief. In 2006, we interviewed a commander who said, 'Did we kill 1,000 people? So now our women will get pregnant and we will have 5,000 soldiers. This perception is dangerous for humanity, not just for Jews."
So if we don't eliminate Hezbollah, what is our goal?
"The operation must be both military and diplomatic. Hezbollah cannot be eliminated, but it can be weakened. Today, Christians and Druze no longer support Nasrallah. The Sunnis are not with him at all, either, because in the civil war in Syria he was against them. In Lebanon's constitution, the prime minister must be a Sunni, the head of the Shiite parliament and the president Maroni. Once Lebanon was a country ruled by the president and was essentially Christian.
Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei. Full control of Hezbollah, photo: Reuters, Photo: Reuters
"We must remember that Lebanon's politics are controlled from the outside: Saudi Arabia controls the Sunnis in the country. We need to do diplomacy with the Sunnis through Saudi Arabia and help them gain power. Lebanon can't do anything without Saudi Arabia, Syria and the U.S. That's why there's no president now. The political influence will be from outside. If we weaken Hezbollah, we will also get support from 30% of Shiites, who neither support the party nor support the Shiite Amal organization. Weakening Iran in this region will restore quiet and control to Lebanon."
We don't want war
"There are many voices in Lebanon who do not want war with Israel. They claim, rightly, that Israel did nothing to them, returned all the land it occupied, and there is no reason to attack. In Lebanon, everyone knows that the Shebaa Farms, ostensibly the root of the conflict between us and Hezbollah, belong to Syria in general and that Nasrallah uses them as an excuse."
Hanna Nura served as an intelligence officer in the SLA for 17 years. "Because I worked in intelligence, we did research on Hezbollah, how it fights, what it is. The organization came into being in 1982 after the Peace for Galilee War, which eventually became the First Lebanon War. A few months later, Hassan Nasrallah, Imad Mughniyeh and 40 other people went to Iran, where they founded Hezbollah. Since then, they have been training in Iran, funded by it, armed by it, and all their orders come from it."
Nura says that at the beginning Hezbollah did not have significant weapons, but its power grew over time. "Today Hezbollah is very strong, but if Israel attacks Hezbollah at zero hour, it will succeed in destroying 70-60% of its force, because Israel has a Hezbollah target bank.
"Hezbollah has gained experience." Hanna Nora, Photo: Michelle Dot Com
"If Israel has to enter Lebanon, we will have to enter like we entered Gaza. Flatten it, turn it into a rubble. Most of the civilians fled the villages north. But if Israel attacks, it should attack all four Shiite areas, because Shiites are equal to Hezbollah. It must remember that Hezbollah soldiers gained a lot of experience in the civil war in Syria."
Hezbollah took it all
Nura claims that while Shiites support Hezbollah, Sunnis and Christians oppose it and do not want war. "They know that Hezbollah is responsible for the whole mess in Lebanon. Hezbollah takes all of Lebanon's money, controls drugs, takes products imported from Europe and sells them in Syria at a profit. Because of this, there is no money in Lebanon and the economy is shattered. Once the dollar was worth 1,500 Lebanese pounds, now it's 30,<>. Why is that? Only because of Hezbollah. They took everything."
Both Nora and Gérard refused to reveal their faces in this article because they feared for the fate of their families who still live in Lebanon. "I'm afraid for my brothers," Nora said. "Thank God they fled, because now the shelling is right inside my village."
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