However, speaking from the US, Phillip Smyth, a research specialist on Hezbollah affiliated with the University of Maryland, told the Post that he does not see the Shi’ite community “turning on Hezbollah.” Smyth said Hezbollah has a “good handle on the Lebanese Shi’ite community” and many Shi’ites are buying into their lines about the conflict centered on the fight against Sunni extremism.
Smyth, who has extensively analyzed Hezbollah casualties in Syria, does not believe Hezbollah is going to implode.
He estimates the number of Hezbollah losses is “closer to 200 at the very least because of the heavy fighting.” Hezbollah’s growing missile arsenal since the end of the Second Lebanon War (2006) with Israel is believed to be between 60,000 and 100,000. From the perspective of Israel’s defense establishment, Hezbollah missile sites in southern Lebanon remain a grave security threat.
Steinberg said, “Without protection long provided by [Syrian President Bashar] Assad’s army, Hezbollah’s missile arsenal will be vulnerable, and a loss of legitimacy in Lebanon, as well as its footholds in Europe, will add to the pressure. Nasrallah knows Hezbollah may follow the trajectory of other totalitarian movements, including the Soviet regime, and disappear into the dustbin of history.”