Quasi State v. State Actors

Hezbollah is a proto or quasi state actor in Southern Lebanon — it has support of the people, it has a near monopoly on internal usage of violence, and it can conduct a foreign policy that is significantly indpendent of the foreign policy of the Beirut government. It does not have international recognition nor control of its currency, but it functions as a state within a state.

The Glittering Eye a couple of days ago wrote the following derived from this news report.

Syria was continuing to smuggle arms into Lebanon to rearm the group, IDF Operations Branch Head Major General Gadi Eisenkot said during a press briefing Tuesday…..“These are rockets that belong to the Syrian army. You can’t find them in the Damascus market, and the Syrian government is responsible for this smuggling,”

If true, this would be a very serious matter indeed—an escalation of the activity that could legitimately draw an Israeli attack on Syria. How could the Syrians be so stupid?

This is true, it is an accepted fact of war that a nation state at war can interdict the supply lines of its enemies. This is a very high cost action (see the results of the second German declaration of unrestricted submarine warfare in 1917 for the best example) whose costs can be somewhat mitigated if the only targets that are hit are the actual transporters of weapons and other war material but history has shown that this level of precision is never achieved.

As I said, this is a very high level of escalation if Isreal was to strike against Syrian supply depots within Syria [anything that is contributing military support within Hezbollah’s zone of control is 100% fair game]. At the same time, as the function of the state has begun to weaken, morph and expand to non-state groups such as Hezbollah, there probably is a very strong argument that if Hezbollah was to successfully attack the US transport planes or ships which are carrying munitions and spare parts to Isreal, that this would be a legitimate military strike and not an act of terrorism. It would be an amazingly dumb action, but a legitimate action.

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