How New Attacks in Israel Could Push the Major Powers to World War III – Forward Observer Shop

How New Attacks in Israel Could Push the Major Powers to World War III

Brief: Citing arrests in previous weeks of terror networks and the discovery of explosives caches, the Israeli security service Shin Bet is warning of a new wave of terror attacks in Israel.  According to the statement, Hezbollah has ordered the networks to “carry out shooting attacks and suicide bombings against Israeli targets, the agents were ordered to help recruit more (Palestinians) for the organization’s activities.”  This follows documented intelligence collection by Hezbollah and Hamas networks on Israeli targets, and years of preparation of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) to fight another war against Hezbollah.

Here’s why it matters: The next war fought between the IDF and Hezbollah is likely to carry heavy civilian casualties; destabilize the oil trade as additional nations become involved, even through proxy (like Iran and Saudi Arabia); and bring increased volatility to global markets — the very last thing markets need during investors’ current uncertainty amid economic fragility.

While Hezbollah leaders have been boasting of their massive, Iranian-funded rocket stockpiles (some say as many as 100,000 rockets) that will pepper Israeli cities, Israeli leaders have been warning that the next war will be tragic for both sides.  (To give you an idea of the potential for Israeli civilian casualties, during the 2006 Lebanon War, Hezbollah fired about 4,000 rockets, resulting in 50 casualties.  If the casualty rate stayed in proportion, Israel could be looking over 1,200 casualties from 100,000 rockets.  That death toll does not include the potential of Hezbollah’s other Iranian-funded, mid-range weapons.)

The Syrian conflict, like others, once again pits the West (US, Europe, Gulf States) versus the East (Russia, Iran, and marginally China).  Given Israel’s strategic importance, a major war involving Israel, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran could have us looking at not just another ugly regional conflict, but a catalyst leading to global conflict.

Here’s how it could happen:  As Iran negotiates its legitimacy and future sphere of influence as an expeditionary force in Iraq and Syria, a permanent Iranian Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) post could be established in Syria, and Iran would be several steps closer to posing an existential threat to Israel.  Syria has long been a transit point for Iranian proxy terror groups like Hezbollah, and Iranian involvement in the Syrian Civil War will likely come with benefits.

There are an estimated 7,000 Hezbollah fighters currently in Syria, hardened from years of fighting.  Additionally, there are numerous reports that Hezbollah is currently building outposts and bunkers along the Israeli/Lebanese border.  Should Iran — with the stated goal of annihilating Israel — begin stationing IRGC battalions on Israel’s doorstep in Syria under the pretense of stability and support to the Assad regime, the IDF could very well find itself fighting a war for its own existence, with Hezbollah to the north, Hezbollah and IRGC fighters to its northwest, and Hamas terrorists along its southern border with Gaza.  With an estimated $150 billion windfall from the US and unfrozen assets from the nuclear deal, Iran is in a financial position to make this happen.  US Secretary of State John Kerry even admitted that some of that money could go to state-sponsored terror. (The ultimate coup de grâs would be to use US Forces under the Obama/Clinton/Trump administration to contain or clear the Islamic State from Syria and Iraq, and then immediately replace them with IRGC forces.)

Like any prognostication of World War III, these scenarios could depend on either lots of things going wrong, especially diplomatically and politically, or just one thing going wrong (ref: the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which started World War I).  A major Hezbollah terror attack, or an attack against a strategic target, could send the IDF into southern Lebanon, just like a replay of the 2006 Lebanon War.  The likelihood that Israel, Lebanon, and Syria become the battleground for a dozen national militaries is low; however, proxy wars and support to militaries involved would be a near certainty (similar to what the Syrian Civil War currently looks like).  Just like World War II had multiple battlefronts, so could World War III expand into a NATO-Russia war in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, and/or a Southeast Asia conflict involving China and its neighbors battling for control of the South China Sea.  All three regions are flashpoints for future wars, however, no region looks more unstable right now than Israel and Lebanon.

Speaking in June of the future war with Hezbollah, the IDF’s military intelligence chief said:

“If our enemies knew our capabilities and our intelligence, they would spare themselves the next conflict.  I’m going to say this with all due caution, but there has never been an army that knows as much about its enemy as we know about Hezbollah.”

After the expensive debacle of the 2006 Lebanon War, I would say that the IDF is much more prepared for the next conflict.  (For additional information, read On War: Understanding Doctrine & Intelligence Analysis and “Mowing the Grass”: Five Things We Can Learn from the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.)

What to watch for: It’s vitally important to be prepared for a six to 12 month disruption in the oil markets.  It’s also fair to assume that the markets would react negatively to a conflict in the Near East, but the real danger is the massive downside at risk from global economic weakness and uncertainty.  Furthermore, we should consider these arrests and heightened security situation across Israel (not to mention the Shin Bet warning) as early warning indicators of future attacks.  Sustained or major terror attacks followed by the activation of the IDF’s reserve component could signal a future ground war before IDF armor units begin rolling out.  If this scenario were to occur, maybe the doomsdayers were right?


Mike Shelby is a former military intelligence NCO and contract intelligence analyst. He spent three years in Iraq and Afghanistan and is now the intelligence and warfare researcher at Forward Observer.


  1. The Bible predicts in Ezekiel 38, 39 an invasion of Israel from the north by Russia, Iran and others.
    Today, for the first time in history, the armies of Russia and Iran are positioned together to Israel’s north.
    What scenario do you think could precipitate the invasion described by Ezekiel?

    1. There you go again ignoring Scripture that forbids private interpretation of prophesies: 2 Peter 1:20

      Besides, Tel Aviv and its colonies on the Potomac, Hudson, and Thames Rivers better fit the Gog role of contemporary persecutor of the Church than contemporary Russia where there is a revival of Orthodox Christianity following nearly a century of Judeo-Communist genocide—over 60 million Christians murdered.

  2. not mentioned – Russia has now stationed fighter bombers in an Iran military base and flying Syrian bombing missions ….

  3. Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s unilateral attack on men, women, and children, murdered about 1,200 Palestinians in Gaza. Over 600 were children. Should Palestinians submit to Master Race genocide?

    1. Care to describe why that war was started? Or the use of women and children as human shields? Caching weapons and military equipment in hospitals? With Palestinian tactics like that, what did you expect the Israelis to do?

      1. Start? It starts with their premise that only Jews are human and “Kill even the best of the Gentiles.”

        How do you expect that will go? Plenty here about how the world sees Operation Cast Lead and plenty of observers noting that both sides used human shields (as if that is an excuse to kill innocent women and children):

        Now if only “Christians” would open both eyes and see. There was a time that Christians actually understood how to wage just wars (even if men sometimes failed to adhere to the ideals of Christ).

    2. Mark, before you use big grown-up words like “unilateral”, you should know what they mean.
      “Unilateral” means “one-sided”.
      “One-sided”, in this context, means that only one side attacked the other.
      Only an ignorant, bigoted fool could believe such a stupid, ridiculous, obvious lie.

      1. Please advise me which of these 521 children and 283 women were engaged in combat against the Master Race?

        June 19, 2015, The US State Department releases report noting that UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) recorded 1,483 non-combatant civilian Palestinian deaths in 2014 – more than two-thirds of those killed were 521 children and 283 women. Meanwhile, Zionists consider it a “slap” to have mentioned the innocents killed.

        Please also comment on the “Chosen People” sniping unarmed gentile children—and then their medical rescuers—for sport.

        “…but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport…”
        The Nation, March 11, 2002
        Chris Hedges’ “A Gaza Diary: Scenes from the Palestinian Uprising,” Harper’s October 2001

        …and, of course, the government-sponsored rabbis who instigate the murder of children.
        The Complete Guide to Killing Non-Jews
        Ma’ariv 09.11.09 (p. 2) by Roi Sharon
        Use Google Translate to read the genocidal content.

        Rabbi Eliyahu exhorts the killing of women and children:

        After all, who really is human?

        “Kill even the best of the gentiles.”

  4. I wonder how all those Israelis felt with Obummer up there in his kippah at Simon Peres funeral, knowing he just gave a big old pile of cash to Iran, so they can help Hezbolla buy more rockets?

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