Will Hezbollah Join the War Against Israel?

Scouts carrying Hezbollah flags while marching at a funeral for two Hezbollah soldiers who were killed by Israel Defense Forces in South Lebanon on October 10.
Daniel Carde/Getty Images

Will Hezbollah Join the War Against Israel?

While the world focuses on Gaza, don’t ignore Lebanon.

Israel has been at war with Hamas since Saturday. But will this war stay localized? Iran is the power behind Hamas. But Iran sponsors many other terrorist groups in the region. The one group Iran probably gives more to than any other is Hezbollah.

The war with Hamas in Israel’s south is already a catastrophe. But if Hezbollah invades from the north, Israel would be in its most serious existential crisis since the Yom Kippur War.

Will Hezbollah invade? What has Hezbollah already done to help Hamas? How would Hezbollah’s intervention impact Lebanon? These are all questions that need answers.

First, some statistics. Information on how terrorist groups are structured is difficult to verify. But a 2021 estimate suggested Hamas had about 30,000 troops. Roughly 1,000 of these fighters are part of Hamas’s ground operation. Iran gives Hamas tens of millions of dollars every year. Some analysts estimate Hezbollah has as many as 50,000 soldiers. In 2018, the United States government estimated Iran provides Hezbollah with over $700 million annually.

This sponsorship has made Hezbollah one of Israel’s most formidable terrorist foes. In 2021, the Center for Strategic and International Studies called Hezbollah “the world’s most heavily armed non-state actor.” It has been described as “a militia trained like an army and equipped like a state.” The Israel Defense Forces (idf) calls Hezbollah its “most complicated adversary.” Iran’s presence in Syria allows it to support Hezbollah more directly than it does Hamas in Gaza.

With all this in mind, what has Hezbollah done to support the invasion?

Hezbollah hosted the meeting where Iran gave Hamas the green light for the attack. The Wall Street Journal reported on October 8 that a meeting was held in Beirut between Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist groups finalizing the preparations on October 2. The report stated:

[Iran’s] broader plan is to create a multifront threat that can strangle Israel from all sides—Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the north and Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank, according to the senior Hamas and Hezbollah members and an Iranian official. …

Iran has been setting aside other regional conflicts, such as its open feud with Saudi Arabia in Yemen, to devote the [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’] foreign resources toward coordinating, financing and arming militias antagonistic to Israel, including Hamas and Hezbollah, the senior Hamas and Hezbollah members said.

Since Saturday, Hezbollah has been in brief skirmishes with Israel along the border. On Sunday, Hezbollah fired missiles and artillery at Israel. Tuesday night, Hezbollah shot an antitank guided missile on an Israeli armored vehicle and another on an Israeli Army post.

This could escalate past minor skirmishes. According to the Wall Street Journal, Egypt “has warned Israeli officials that a ground invasion into Gaza would trigger a military response from Hezbollah, opening up a second battlefront.”

The situation on the ground can change overnight. But there are reasons to suspect that Hezbollah may try to stay out of this battle. The main reason is that entering the battle could force Hezbollah from power.

Lebanon is in crisis. Its economy has been in meltdown for years. Nobody has been brought to justice over the 2020 Beirut blast—a blast caused by ammonium nitrate Hezbollah was storing—because Hezbollah has been stonewalling to prevent prosecutors from getting to the truth. Lebanon’s central bank governor just retired amid international sanctions and accusations of running “the largest Ponzi scheme in history” at the expense of the Lebanese people. Parliament has been unable to elect a ceremonial president since this time last year.

The Lebanese people are almost at a breaking point. The last thing they want is for Hezbollah to drag them into an unnecessary war with Israel. If war were to happen, rival militias could take advantage of the chaos, gain a following, proclaim revolution, and attack Hezbollah.

Hezbollah knows this. This is one reason when other terrorist groups attack Israel from Lebanon, Hezbollah often refuses to get involved. But Hezbollah also knows it could crumble just as easily if it loses its main benefactor, Iran. If it agreed to join Iran’s war in Israel and then backed out, that would be a huge insult to the Iranians. Iran could cut its support of Hezbollah, leaving it out to dry while Catholic militants seized their chance to control Lebanon.

The bottom line: If Hezbollah joins Hamas’s war, expect Lebanon to get sucked into a vortex of chaos.

Because of Hezbollah, Lebanon is aligned with Iran. But any one catalyst could spark a revolution that removes Hezbollah from influence, marking a complete change in the nation’s geopolitical orientation.

“Put simply,” we wrote in the October 2020 Trumpet issue after the Beirut blast, “if Lebanon is to survive as a nation it has two choices: Accept being a client state of Iran and the poverty that comes with it, or rise up against Hezbollah and get help from the outside world.”

In a 2014 Key of David episode, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said, “[T]here’s going to be now a civil war, a bloody civil war in Lebanon for control of Lebanon, and you’re going to see Lebanon and the European power prevail in that battle.”

Whatever happens with the war with Hamas, keep watching Lebanon. To learn more, read “The Beirut Blast: Catalyst for Biblical Prophecy.”