Who’s afraid of big, bad Hezbollah?

Patrick Barry noticed this very interesting passage from the U.S. intelligence community’s annual threat assessment: We judge that, unlike al-Qa’ida, Hizballah, which has not directly attacked US interests overseas over the past 13 years, is not now actively plotting to strike the Homeland. However, we cannot rule out that the group would attack if it ...

Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images
Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

Patrick Barry noticed this very interesting passage from the U.S. intelligence community's annual threat assessment:

We judge that, unlike al-Qa'ida, Hizballah, which has not directly attacked US interests
overseas over the past 13 years, is not now actively plotting to strike the Homeland. However, we cannot rule out that the group would attack if it perceives that the US is threatening its core interests.

He then compares it to the Director of National Intelligence's assessment in 2007 (Hezbollah's "self confidence and hostility toward the US...could cause the group to increase its contingency planning against US interests"), in 2008 (Hezbollah has "expressed the desire to use cyber means to target the United States"), and 2009 (Hezbollah "continues to be a formidable terrorist adversary with an ability to attack the US Homeland").

Patrick Barry noticed this very interesting passage from the U.S. intelligence community’s annual threat assessment:

We judge that, unlike al-Qa’ida, Hizballah, which has not directly attacked US interests
overseas over the past 13 years, is not now actively plotting to strike the Homeland. However, we cannot rule out that the group would attack if it perceives that the US is threatening its core interests.

He then compares it to the Director of National Intelligence’s assessment in 2007 (Hezbollah’s "self confidence and hostility toward the US…could cause the group to increase its contingency planning against US interests"), in 2008 (Hezbollah has "expressed the desire to use cyber means to target the United States"), and 2009 (Hezbollah "continues to be a formidable terrorist adversary with an ability to attack the US Homeland").

It’s worth pointing out that Hezbollah hasn’t changed appreciably since 2007; the only thing that has shifted is the U.S. assessment of the party. And it’s a little strange to point out that Hezbollah won’t change its plans unless the United States is "threatening its core interests."  That is undoubtedly true, but of course the U.S. government is a threat to Hezbollah’s interests. The only question is how serious the U.S.-backed challenge to Hezbollah’s status as Lebanon’s preeminent armed force is; ever since the country was seized by a widespread, if largely contrived, spirit of reconciliation following May 2008, the answer is "not very." However, when the next political crisis arises, expect Hezbollah to find its way back on the list of threats to the United States.

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.