War in Israel’s North? Hezbollah, Iran, and the Ring of Fire | HONEST REPORTING

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War in Israel’s North? Hezbollah, Iran, and the Ring of Fire | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted in this article by Eve Barlow for HONEST REPORTING.


War in Israel’s North? Hezbollah, Iran, and the Ring of Fire | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted in this article by Eve Barlow for HONEST REPORTING.

The Ring Of Fire. I wish it was a reference to the Johnny Cash hit, but it’s not. It’s a reference to something far more sinister – and something that has to be understood in order to really contextualize what’s happening; not in Israel, not in Gaza, not even in the Middle East, but on a global stage.

At the beginning of February, I returned to Israel for two days. In those two days, I went to the most dangerous parts of the country. No, I did not go to the South this time. Instead I travelled North with the help of the team at HonestReporting who accompanied me to various evacuated areas all along the border between Israel and Lebanon to explore the looming threat of Hezbollah, and the wider question of the Iranian regime. There we made a miniature documentary about what’s happening in Israel’s northern communities, where some 60,000 Israelis have been displaced, and where a constant question of a war on a second front with Hezbollah is in the air.

I visited an IDF post in the Golan Heights to talk to voluntary reservists, who have been stationed away from their families for months. I visited two kibbutzim: Metzuba and Dafna, both abandoned, and interviewed residents who came back just to talk about the dangers in their home villages. The latter, Dafna, is in the finger of the tip of Israel, moments from both the Syrian and Lebanese borders. The only living creatures remaining there now are the cows, and the cats, who are cared for by IDF soldiers.

I cannot put to words the surreal nature of visiting abandoned kibbutzim in the North, versus my experience in December visiting the torched and annihilated kibbutzim of the South, including Kfar Aza, Nir Oz and Be’eri. The northern kibbutzim, such as Metzuba and Dafna, showed me just how the southern communities would have appeared (albeit empty) were it not for Hamas’s destruction and devastation on October 7. And I couldn’t help but feel uncertain about whether or not these northern communities won’t be vulnerable to pogroms in the future. It is unthinkable, and yet we must think about it. We must conceive of it. We must be prepared for it. This is the reality. And the only reason why it’s the reality of these Israelis, and not the reality of anyone in the West, is because Israelis are most proximate to the threat from the Mullah regime of Iran.

In the documentary, which you can watch exclusively below, at the end of this post, you will meet two experts. The first is Sarit Zehavi of the Alma Center, who took me to a lookout in the same town that Romi Gonen (the 23-year-old hostage who remains in Gaza, and who was taken from the Nova music festival) grew up in. Sarit is former IDF intelligence, and runs a non-profit overlooking the northern territories, from which she assesses the threats every day. I could have spent a month going through Sarit’s information. Alas, we had a few hours. Sarit showed me the urgency of Hezbollah’s presence and how at any given moment, their army could attack the Galilee. Furthermore, Sarit gave me a birdseye perspective on the global threat that Israel understands better than anyone. The threat of fundamentalist Islam and its vision for the world.

This is a graphic of all of the Iranian proxies. You may recognize some of the flags, which appear on placards and posters at protests currently taking place all over the West, purporting to support progress and freedom. “You should do something about that,” said Sarit to me, joking. Dark humor is a salve during such upside-down times.

To understand why Hamas launched the war on October 7, you have to understand that the Abraham Accords, and the normalization process between Israel and various states, including the UAE, Sudan and Jordan, and potentially Saudi Arabia, has isolated Iran, and the Palestinians – who have their own independent power struggle between Hamas and Fatah; a struggle that is of no significance to Iran’s hegemonic vision.

Someone who was able to delve deeper into this with me was Avi Melamed; again, an expert I could have interviewed for a week. Iran’s vision, he explains, is anti-Western, and will not relent until Israel (the emblem of Western ideas in the Middle East) is annihilated via the Ring Of Fire; a circle of Iranian-funded proxies that are spread like the tentacles of an Octopus throughout Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and the Gaza Strip. On October 7, Hamas bolted early and alone, with its plan to exhaust Israel, but Hamas expected the “unifying of arenas”, where a war would be launched simultaneously via the other proxies. This hasn’t yet happened, likely because Hamas pursued its own glory and didn’t wait on a signal from the other proxies, who have no empathy for Hamas’s subsequent struggles. The question isn’t whether the other proxies will strike. The question is when will they strike…

Via Inside The Middle East – Intelligence Perspectives

Avi is also former IDF intelligence and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Arab world and its inner conflicts. I asked him: is expansion of the war possible? Of course. But the how and the when is not guaranteed.

During our second day of reporting, Avi spoke to me at a lookout in view of Tiberius, and he made a point that’s now forever enshrined in my perspective. Imagine the hubris of the West in its screams and chants since October 7, knowing full well that most of those doing the screaming and chanting don’t even speak the langauges of the Arab world. And even if they did, they do not and cannot understand the riddles that the leaders of these proxies talk in. They speak in coded language that can appear as hyperbole or metaphor, but is often just an expression of intent. The West has foolishly fallen prey to the orchestrated and strategic propaganda campaign, led by disinformation armies that thrive on social media sites such as X, Instagram and Telegram, lapping up disinformation by the milisecond, in complete denial that it doesn’t even share a common language with those it purports to be soldiering on for.

Avi brilliantly explained the ignorant confusion of those chanting “From The River To The Sea…” while holding signs advocating for a caliphate; two ideas in direct opposition to one another. A caliphate, which is the desire of the Mullah regime of Iran, would eradicate all freedoms and liberties for all peoples. Under such a regime, there would no free land of Palestine. The question of Palestinian statehood, and of Israel’s part in that, is but a pawn for the Mullah regime, to distract the world while it focuses on becoming a superpower, with the help of several proxies (which form the “Ring Of Fire”, including Hamas and Hezbollah) and the aforementioned global propaganda campaign that romanticizes notions of “justice” and “freedom” in the context of Palestine, but is in reality ushering in an extreme ideology that mirrors the true face of Hamas; the true face of terrorism. The end desired result is to completely destabilize the West. It’s already happening. You just have to assess the latest most extreme case of US soldier Aaron Bushnell’s self-immolation at the gates of the Israeli embassy in Washington DC to understand the levels of brainwashing that have captured vulnerable Americans who are prepared, like Islamic Jihadists, to pay the ultimate price for their beliefs. “Free Palestine!” he screamed, on his phone camera, after pouring gasoline all over himself, and lighting a match. Bushnell is dead now. Who needs a middle man?

So as informed – and hopefully morally sound – people, what is our objective? What about the “day after Hamas”? Well, Israel must permanently change the structure of Gaza, and ensure that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are no longer regional players for Iran. This isn’t just in Israel’s best interests, it’s in the Gazans’ best interests, and indeed the best interests of the rest of the world, who can only benefit from stability and lasting peace. To stop this social contagion that is imprisoning the otherwise free minds of generations of Westerners.

Here is a short documentary that I hope will provide a picture of an as-yet untold story. Many thanks to the team at HonestReporting, and a very special thank you to cameraman Daniel Moore and our incredible driver Shachar.

This piece was republished from Eve Barlow’s newsletter on Substack called Blacklisted.

Eve Barlow is an LA-based music and pop culture journalist. She previously served as Deputy Editor of the New Musical Express (NME) and currently contributes to New York Magazine, The Guardian, Billboard, LA Times, Pitchfork, and GQ, among other publications. Barlow is also an outspoken voice on Jewish identity, Zionism, and fighting antisemitism on social media, and has also shared her views in publications such as Tablet. Barlow was also named one of The Algemeiner’s Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life.


War in Israel’s North? Hezbollah, Iran, and the Ring of Fire | Avi Melamed’s insights quoted in this article by Eve Barlow for HONEST REPORTING.

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Avi Melamed
Avi Melamedhttps://insidethemiddle-east.com
Avi Melamed is an expert on current affairs in the Arab & Muslim World and their impact on Israel & the Middle East. A former Israeli Intelligence Official & Senior Official on Arab Affairs, Fluent in Arabic, English, and Hebrew, he has held high-risk Government, Senior Advisory, Intelligence & Counter-Terrorist intelligence positions in Arab cities & communities - often in very sensitive times - on behalf of Israeli Government agencies. He is the Founder & CEO of Inside the Middle East | Intelligence Perspectives - an apolitical non-partisan curriculum using intelligence methodology to examine the Middle East. As an Author, Educator, Expert, and Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Avi provides Intelligence Analysis, Briefings, and Geopolitical Tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policymakers, global media outlets, and a wide variety of international businesses, organizations, and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East Affairs.

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