According to our assessment, Nasrallah’s speech on July 12 and the video released on July 16 (Analysis of the video later in the article) constitute a new-old threatening equation against Israel: Hezbollah will launch an offensive military operation against Israel if no agreements are reached to Hezbollah’s satisfaction, both on the issue of the tents set up on Israeli territory, and over the dispute surrounding the village of Ghajar in particular, and on the issue of other points of contention along the border in general. Hezbollah preserves one of its central narratives of consciousness as the “protector of Lebanon”.
There are two major ways in which Hezbollah transmits messages in its cognitive warfare. The first is through Nasrallah’s speeches. The second is through articles/postings/videos and the like, social networks, and official-traditional media.
On July 12, Nasrallah issued the following statement regarding Hezbollah’s encampment beyond the Blue Line near Har Dov (Shebaa Farms) and the settlement of Ghajar:
Concerning the encampment, Nasrallah stated, “The resistance operatives have instructions to act if there is an Israeli attack on the tent erected on the southern border, and such an event will not pass in silence.” “We must not remain silent about the takeover of the village of Ghajar,” he stated, adding that “the Lebanese position must be decisive, and Ghajar must be liberated.” This is the state’s responsibility, and efforts to reclaim our territory will be coordinated between the state and the resistance, with the support of the Lebanese people. The territory of Ghajar, as well as the Shebaa Farms and the Kfar Shuba Mountains, will not be left in Israeli hands.”
Concurrent with the Nasrallah’s address, Hezbollah’s battle information unit tweeted a trailer of a military video on social media on July 12. The trailer displays Radwan Unit operatives ready for action. The video was released on July 16, lasting 6 minutes and 23 seconds.
The film displays Radwan Unit operatives infiltrating Israeli territory on foot and by light vehicle via attack tunnels before attacking an IDF base. The Golani Brigade (infantry) is supposedly stationed at the base. The attack is carried out using a variety of weaponry (assault rifles and snipers, machine guns, anti-tank missiles, mortars, UAVs, and more – see below for additional information). In the video, Radwan Unit operatives successfully (of course…) take over the base and continue into Israeli territory on vehicles and motorcycles.
The video’s purpose is to supplement Nasrallah’s threatening message from his July 12 speech and to emphasize that Hezbollah intends to take offensive military action against Israel if they do not reach satisfactory agreements on the issue of the encampment and Ghajar in particular, as well as the other points of contention along the border in general.
Analysis of the video’s primary motifs:
As you can see in the video, the main motifs on social media, truth, and fake news, are mixed together and used extensively with graphics, visuals, photo effects, symbols, etc. For example, the drone strike was cooked up using computer effects.
Several central motifs reappear in this video (similar to other Hezbollah videos) and together create its unique message:
- Glorifying the Resistance Army: Hezbollah positions itself as the defender of Lebanon. Hezbollah positions itself as a force that will stop Israel and prevent it from carrying out its plot (in the context of the encampment and Ghajar).
- De-moralization and contempt for the IDF – diminishing the assessment of the IDF’s strength and capabilities, trampling and stepping on the Golani Brigade flag when the base was ” overrun “.
- Threat to Israel’s northern settlements – highlighting the threat by continuing on vehicles and motorcycles into Israeli territory after occupying an IDF base.
- Resistance heroes and shaheeds – images of “celebrities,” their mention and adulation. Throughout the video, there are images of Khomeini, Khamenei, Nasrallah, and Imad Mughnieh. After breaking over the base’s barrier, the operatives remove the Golani flag, wave the Hezbollah flag, and chant “To Bik, you Nasrallah” – “We are at your disposal, Nasrallah.”
- Connection to religion – The video begins with an Islamic blessing from Surah al-Fatah number 48 in the Qur’an, “In the name of the Lord of the world who outlines every path,” and we see the Sura fully open from the Book of the Qur’an.
Throughout the video, voices on the walkie-talkie can be heard in the background, as well as the reading of poetry from Shiite texts, perhaps from the book “Nahj al-Balagha” (through eloquence). It is a compilation of lectures, sermons, letters, and wise sayings credited to Ali ibn Abi Taleb, Muhammad’s cousin, fourth caliph, and Shi’a imam.
Before departing the tunnel, the operatives pray to Allah’s Messenger over radio network.
identifying of the weapons shown in the video**:
1. Small arms / assault rifles -AK74, AK12, GP25, PKM
2. Improvised weapons based on 7 RPGs for breaking through minefields.
3. Russian heavy machine gun NSV 12.7.
4. Russian-made anti-tank missile, concrete penetrating, wire-guided – (9M14 Malyutka) AT3 Sagger
5. Russian-made AT5 SPANDREL missile (9M113 Konkurs)
6. Suicide UAV (computer illustration).
7. Russian Orsis T-5000 sniper rifle (hits the camera on the fence during the video).
8. 60mm mortar.
9. Light buggy SUVs with NSV 12.7 + PK machine guns.
10. Light buggy SUV with Russian Plamya AGS17 30mm grenade machine gun.
11. RPG-29 anti-tank rocket launcher.
12. Cover with American SR-25 sniper rifles.
13. Concrete penetrating grenades.
14. A hollow rod containing an explosive charge capable of blowing a hole in a fence. (In the video it appears that they place it perpendicular to the fence and not under it).
It should be emphasized that the video was widely circulated among Hezbollah supporters. We found many remarks and references on social media expressing pride in Hezbollah’s capabilities. On the other hand, satirical replies were published by Hezbollah’s opponents, emphasizing the armaments seen in the movie. These were regarded as “ordinary” weapons with no special capabilities, claiming that these weapons are used by Palestinian factions in Gaza and some in Judea and Samaria.
** The weapons were identified with the help of Yair Ansbacher, a research fellow at the Misgav Institute for National Security and Strategy.