Beirut (AP) —Since the last war in 2006, powerful Hezbollah militias in Israel and Lebanon have constantly warned that a new round between them is inevitable. But once again, the potential trigger has been pulled away.
The shadow of Hezbollah emerged during the two-week battle between Israel and Hamas, potentially unleashing an arsenal of missiles far more powerful than Hamas to assist the Palestinians.
Instead, Hezbollah remained a bystander. And if the ceasefire that came into effect at the beginning of Friday continued, another Israeli-Hamas war would have ended without Hezbollah’s intervention.
So far, both sides had a compelling reason not to clash. This includes the bitter memory of Hezbollah’s 2006 bombing campaign in Israel, which turned Lebanon’s base into rubble. Lebanon is also on the verge of an unparalleled economic and financial collapse in its modern history and cannot tolerate another major confrontation with Israel.
For Israel, Iran-backed groups in Lebanon remain the most difficult and most pressing security challenge.
“Israel needs to pay close attention to what is happening in the north and manage the conflict in Gaza, as the north is a much more important arena than Gaza,” he now heads the institute. Former Israeli military intelligence director Amos Yadrin said. For national security research. He spoke before the ceasefire came into effect on Friday at 2:00 am.
Hezbollah’s reaction to the 11-day bombardment of Israel, which involved Gaza in death and destruction, was relatively quiet. Its leader, Hassan Nasrara, did not make public comments after a Hezbollah fighter was shot dead by Israeli soldiers at the border during a protest last week.
Late Thursday, Netanyahu’s security cabinet approved a unilateral ceasefire to suspend Gaza’s operations. This is a decision made after strong US pressure to stop the attack. Hamas immediately followed, saying it would respect the deal.
However, throughout the 11-day war, the show of solidarity, including a mysterious rocket barrage from southern Lebanon to Israel, appeared to have been carefully tuned to have limited impact. Most landed in open areas or in the Mediterranean. No party claimed responsibility for the rocket, but it is believed that it was dismissed by a South Lebanon-based Palestinian faction, probably at the blessing of Hezbollah.
“The political message is’we are here’, and security from Israel’s northern border should not be taken for granted, nor is it a deterrent established in 2006,” Joyce said. Said. Karam is an adjunct professor of political science at George Washington University.
At the tense border between Lebanon and Israel, supporters of Hezbollah in yellow hats have organized daily protests over the past week. At least once, dozens of people broke through the fence and crossed to the other side, pulling Israeli bullets that attacked and killed a 21-year-old boy. He was later identified as a Hezbollah fighter and was given a full-fledged funeral with hundreds of attendees.
Analysts said Hezbollah was unlikely to participate in the fight against Israel, especially given the political and economic collapse in Beirut. A series of challenges that the group faces internally Social tensions are rising. Even among Hezbollah supporters Lebanese are suffering from economic collapse That has driven half of the population into poverty.
Hezbollah’s patron, Iran, is also in nuclear negotiations with Western nations. Rising expectations that an agreement may be reached.. Tehran has also held talks with long-standing regional rivals Saudi Arabia, showing signs of deescalation that could follow long-standing hostility that often spread to neighboring countries.
“Hezbollah has so far not tended to ruin Iran’s negotiations with world powers on the nuclear front, as it wants to ease sanctions primarily on political, military and financial supporters. It seems, “said the regional newspaper The Nationwide.
At a rally in southern Beirut on Monday, Hezbollah official Hashem Safiedin bragged about the group’s firepower, which had doubled many times since the 2006 war, suggesting that it wasn’t time for Hezbollah to get involved. did.
“We, Hezbollah, look forward to a day of fighting side by side with you and fighting together in every way to remove this cancerous gonad,” he spoke to the Palestinians and told Israeli in the Arab world. Mentioned existence. “This day is coming, it is inevitable.”
According to Israeli defense officials, Hezbollah has become quite strong in the last decade, gathering formidable troops with valuable battlefield experience to support Syrian President Bashar Assad’s army in the civil war of neighboring countries.
During the inconclusive month of the 2006 war, the group launched about 4,000 rockets into Israel, most of them unguided projectiles with limited range. Today, Israeli officials say Hezbollah owns about 130,000 rockets and missiles that can be launched almost anywhere in Israel.
Former Israeli military intelligence director Yadrin, however, said all intelligence activities showed that Hezbollah did not want a full-scale conflict with Israel.
“Nasrara is in a position not to repeat the mistakes of 2006. He knows he will be a Lebanese destroyer, not a defender of Lebanon,” Yadrin said. “He had a lot of opportunities, but he didn’t take them.” He mentioned an Israeli strike targeting Syrian Hezbollah assets that the group vowed to retaliate. , I haven’t done that yet.
Kasim Kasir, an analyst and expert on the Hezbollah issue in Lebanon, agreed that he had no intention of opening the Southern Front because it “leads to a full-scale war with unpredictable consequences.”
So far, Israel and Hezbollah believe that the deterrence established after the 2006 war is retained, threatening Hezbollah to attack deeper in Israel, including nuclear facilities, and Israel It has vowed to target private infrastructure and has caused enormous damage.
Mr. Karam said that both Hezbollah and Israel have said that the second round has been inevitable since 2006, but that the cost has risen only for both. So far, both seem happy to stay tense on Syrian territory rather than having another war in Lebanon.
But every day, the potential for unwanted conflicts is approaching.
“For now, this paradigm seems to hold, but it may change later,” she said.
Associated Press writers Josef Federman and Ilan Ben Zion of Jerusalem contributed to this report.