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Monday, February 16, 2009

Does Hezbollah have anti-aircraft weapons?

The LA Times blog says:
Hezbollah said it has a right to acquire and use antiaircraft weaponry against Israeli warplanes, in a ceremony commemorating assassinated leaders of the Lebanese Shiite Muslim militant group.

"We have the right to possess any weapons including air defense arms, and we have all the right to use these arms if we wished to," Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah said to crowds in the southern suburb of Beirut, which is the group's stronghold.

Nasrallah did not confirm or deny whether the group had acquired antiaircraft missiles but said that Hezbollah has built its successes on the "basis of surprises."

Israeli warplanes have launched regular flights over Lebanon since the 2006 war between the Jewish state and Hezbollah.

Nasrallah said that Israel's superiority in its wars is only due to its air force, adding that Israeli ground troops have proved their weaknesses during the 2006 war and the latest offensive on Gaza.

"If the air equation changes, the equation for the whole struggle changes," he said.
Al Quds - Arabic seems to have understood Nasrallah a little differently, assuming that the autotranslation is correct:
Secretary-General suggested the Lebanese Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, on Monday evening that "the resistance in Lebanon has anti-aircraft missiles," saying that "resistance to the full right to possess such a weapon."
It is interesting that the Lebanese government doesn't seem to have any reaction to an extra-governmental militia gaining such capabilities.

It will also be interesting to see if UNIFIL - which is supposed to guard against such things - has any reaction.