Analysis: Hezbollah renews threats in publication, fails to make an impression

Hezbollah publication: ‘O Zionists, you have military and security targets inside your cities.’

Last week, Hezbollah renewed its threats by publishing a video showing Israel Defense Forces (IDF) military sites embedded in populated areas in an attempt to claim that the IDF is using its citizens as human shields.

However, the publication failed to get its message across – which calls into question the effectiveness of some of Hezbollah’s recent online propaganda campaigns against Israel.

Hezbollah’s online media outlet has recently published several videos responding to Israel’s warnings about the militant group’s activities inside Lebanon and Syria. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report, Hezbollah publication says Israel has become talkative, warns its defeat is coming.]

In its most recent publication, Hezbollah responded to Israeli military official’s accusations that it uses the homes of Lebanon’s civilian population to hide its military arsenal. The video attempted to portray the IDF as hypocritical by displaying the locations of numerous Israeli military sites located near its own civilian population.

Some important military locations such as the Kirya and the Northern Command were highlighted in the video with their GPS coordinates.

Hezbollah’s message fails to get its point across

Hezbollah’s attempts to legitimize hiding its arsenal in the homes of Lebanese civilians by equating it to IDF military sites located in Israeli cities is illogical. The publication also conveyed the message that if Israel targets Hezbollah’s concealed arms caches, the group will respond by targeting IDF sites in populated areas of Israel.

Publications threatening Israel’s civilian population aren’t new for Hezbollah and the so-called ‘Axis of Resistance.’ In 2019, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Gaza-based militant group, published pictures of Ben-Gurion Airport and the Dimona nuclear reactor with their coordinates as a warning that the sites would be targeted in an attack.

The video also highlighted the increasingly repeated propaganda videos published by the militant group. In 2018, Hezbollah published a video of the GPS coordinates of gas platforms located off the coast of Israel in a hint that it would attack the sites in a future conflict. In 2020, Hezbollah republished a video depicting the targeting of military sites in Israel and included the GPS coordinates of those locations.

For observers of the group’s propaganda, this type of recycled video production – which can be replicated by using Google Maps – would suggest that Hezbollah is struggling to find new ways to garner its audience’s attention.

It’s also worth noting that in Sept. 2019, Hezbollah claimed it successfully struck an IDF ambulance with two ATGM missiles in the northern Israeli community of Avivim, only to be disproven by video evidence after the attack.

Although Hezbollah may find itself slumping in productiveness of its propaganda, the Beirut-based Al-Manar TV and the group’s powerful presence on social media sites have been able to effectively disseminate Hezbollah’s anti-U.S. and Israel rhetoric without impediment.

Joe Truzman is a senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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