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Middle East Military Dynamics: Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran


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The Middle East has been a hotspot for geopolitical tensions and conflicts for decades. In the wake of a deadly attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7,

the region is once again on the brink of a significant military confrontation. To understand the current situation, we need to take a closer look at the military resources and capabilities of the key players in the region: Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran.


Israel’s Military Power


The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is a formidable military force. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), Israel has a standing army of 126,000 personnel, and an additional 400,000 reservists, of which 360,000 have been mobilized in response to the recent Hamas attack. Israel is known for its advanced military technology, including the “Iron Dome” anti-missile system, which is designed to intercept and destroy incoming rockets and missiles.


In terms of conventional weaponry, Israel boasts around 1,300 tanks, an array of armored vehicles, 345 fighter jets, a vast arsenal of artillery, drones, and state-of-the-art submarines. While Israel has never officially declared itself as a nuclear state, its nuclear weapons cache, estimated at 90 warheads by the Arms Control Association, is an open secret. The United States provides substantial military aid to Israel, totaling $3.8 billion per year under a 10-year agreement running until 2028.


Recently, the U.S. has demonstrated its support for Israel by deploying additional military assets to the region, including the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery and Patriot battalions. Two aircraft carriers, the USS Gerald Ford and the USS Eisenhower, have been stationed in the eastern Mediterranean to deter not only Hamas but also its allies, such as Iran and Hezbollah.


Hamas’s Arsenal


Hamas, known for its armed forces called the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, is a Palestinian organization with significant military capabilities. IISS estimates its force to be around 15,000 fighters, but Arab media reports suggest a higher figure of 40,000. Hamas has acquired heavy weapons from various sources across the Middle East, particularly from Iran, Syria, and Libya. They have also sourced handguns and assault rifles from China and other regions.


Hamas’s arsenal includes locally made improvised explosives, drones, mines, anti-tank guided missiles, grenade launchers, and mortar shells. While the exact quantities are undisclosed, they possess enough weaponry to sustain a prolonged conflict. Most of their rockets are locally manufactured and technologically rudimentary.


Hezbollah’s Role


Lebanon-based Hezbollah, backed by Iran, is another key player in the region. In 2021, Hezbollah claimed to have 100,000 fighters, although the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) suggests the number might be around 50,000. Many Hezbollah militants are not full-time fighters but are mobilized as needed.


Hezbollah’s arsenal is formidable, with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 rockets and missiles, including “hundreds” of precision rockets. This rocket arsenal is a crucial strategic asset for Hezbollah in any potential conflict with Israel. They also have the ability to tie up IDF resources through occasional rocket or missile strikes, keeping Israel’s northern border tense.


Iran’s Involvement


Iran has long supported Palestinian causes and views itself as a champion of the Palestinian people. While Iran currently has no direct interest in an all-out war, it provides support to groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, and Houthi rebels in Yemen. These alliances form an “axis of resistance” against Israel.


Raz Zimmt of INSS notes that Iran’s involvement could be triggered by an Israeli ground invasion or significant military success that threatens Hamas’s control over the Gaza Strip. In such a scenario, Iran might be compelled to intervene to protect its strategic interests.




The Middle East remains a complex and volatile region with multiple actors and intricate military dynamics. The recent clash between Israel and Hamas highlights the potential for escalation and the involvement of other regional players like Hezbollah and Iran. As the world watches these developments, it’s essential to understand the military capabilities and interests of each party in this fragile region. The situation remains fluid, and any miscalculation could have far-reaching consequences for peace and stability in the Middle East.

Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas
Saeed Minhas is an accomplished journalist with extensive experience in the field. He has held prominent positions such as Editor at Daily Times and Daily Duniya. Currently, he serves as the Chief Editor (National) at The Think Tank Journal

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