Hezbollah recently paraded their considerable arsenal of vehicles around publicly, and one of the sets of vehicles raised a number of questions: a collection of US-made M113 armored personnel carriers mounted with old Soviet ZPU-2 anti-aircraft weapons.
Hezbollah’s militia understandably is built out of a lot of rag-tag equipment and hand-me downs, but it is unclear exactly where they got ahold of the US made M113s. The initial speculation was that they’d gotten them from the Lebanese military, somehow, though this doesn’t appear likely, and indeed the M113s are of an older model, suggesting a more obscure origin.
Some US officials suggested the age might be a clue, pointing to the long-collapsed Israel-backed Southern Lebanese Army (SLA). Israel gave the SLA 20 such M113s back in 1985, and it’s possible Hezbollah might’ve ended up with those after the SLA collapsed.
Others are theorizing that Hezbollah, active in Syria, might’ve captured them during a battle with al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front, though where the al-Qaeda faction would’ve gotten the M113s themselves is a whole separate issue. ISIS is known to have captured some M113s in Iraq, so they conceivably might’ve initially smuggled some into Syria, but for Nusra to get them would require the vehicles to change hands at least a couple times before finding their way to Hezbollah.
Either way, that Hezbollah is openly using US vehicles is another public embarrassment, reflective of the US obsession with ever-growing arms exports leaving several regions so awash in US-made arms and vehicles that every side of every conceivable conflict has managed to get ahold of some.