Lebanese non-war

Marianna Belenkaya

The new Israeli government faced a difficult choice: how to force the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah to stop shelling Israeli territory and at the same time prevent a large-scale war in which neither regional players nor world powers, primarily the United States, are interested. At the same time, Hezbollah found itself in a difficult situation. For the first time in a long time, its leaders have to make excuses for their actions in front of the Lebanese public.

“The State of Lebanon and the Lebanese army must take responsibility for what is happening in their backyard,” Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Sunday during a government meeting. He stressed that Israel “will not allow attacks on its territory” and it does not matter who fires – Palestinian groups or unrelated militants. According to Mr. Bennett, Iran and the Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah are complicating Lebanon’s life, in this case by drawing it into a war with Israel. The current aggravation of the situation on the border between Israel and Lebanon is the most serious in 15 years since the 2006 Lebanese-Israeli war.

On Friday, Hezbollah fired 19 rockets towards Israel, and the Israeli military fired back. The shelling was the third since Naftali Bennett took office in June. Previous attacks in Israel were blamed on Palestinian groups based in southern Lebanon. Israel responded to their attack on August 4 not only with shelling, but also with an air strike. Hezbollah considered this a violation of the post-2006 rules of the game and responded to Israel with renewed shelling. Otherwise, the movement could lose face in the eyes of its supporters. No casualties or damage were reported, with both sides claiming to have fired at “voids”.

Hezbollah has been controlling the situation in southern Lebanon for decades. After the 2006 war, under pressure from the international community and with the assistance of UN peacekeepers, an attempt was made to strengthen the Lebanese army so that it could take control of the situation. However, no significant success has been achieved in this regard. Hezbollah remains the most powerful political and military structure in the country. On Friday, the Lebanese army detained four fighters of the movement involved in the shelling of Israel, but they were released the same evening.

After Hezbollah acknowledged responsibility for shelling Israel, fears arose that a new Lebanese-Israeli war would begin. The Israeli response could have been very harsh, but in the end it all came down to a game of nerves. Experts in the region note that Hezbollah is checking the new prime minister of Israel to see if he is ready to break the parity that has developed since 2006. Carnegie Endowment Middle East Program Visitor Joseph Bakhut tweeted that Naftali Bennett was faced with “Catch-22.” On the one hand, he must demonstrate to Hezbollah and the Iran behind it that it is not worth testing Israel’s strength, on the other hand, it is necessary to avoid “a useless war at a very unsuitable time for Israel.”

The situation in the country is really difficult. Coalition, which formed the government of Israel and replaced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was in power for more than 12 years, is very unstable, since it includes representatives of the left and right political camps and relies on an alliance with the Arab Islamist party RAAM. Any serious crisis and especially a war with an Arab country can destroy the coalition. Bennett’s government already has a lot of problems, including a rise in coronavirus infections. Moreover, Israel has not yet recovered from the recent war with the Palestinian movement Hamas. The conflict with Hezbollah and its consequences for Israel could be far more devastating than the shelling of Hamas from the Gaza Strip.

According to Israeli estimates, Hezbollah has more than 130,000 missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel. since it includes representatives of the left and right political camps and relies on an alliance with the Arab Islamist party RAAM.. Any serious crisis and especially a war with an Arab country can destroy the coalition. Bennett’s government already has a lot of problems, including a rise in coronavirus infections. Moreover, Israel has not yet recovered from the recent war with the Palestinian movement Hamas.

The conflict with Hezbollah and its consequences for Israel could be far more devastating than the shelling of Hamas from the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli estimates, Hezbollah has more than 130,000 missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel.

Since it includes representatives of the left and right political camps and relies on an alliance with the Arab Islamist party RAAM. Any serious crisis and especially a war with an Arab country can destroy the coalition. Bennett’s government already has a lot of problems, including a rise in coronavirus infections. Moreover, Israel has not yet recovered from the recent war with the Palestinian movement Hamas.

The conflict with Hezbollah and its consequences for Israel could be far more devastating than the shelling of Hamas from the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli estimates, Hezbollah has more than 130,000 missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel. Bennett’s government already has a lot of problems, including a rise in coronavirus infections. Moreover, Israel has not yet recovered from the recent war with the Palestinian movement Hamas. The conflict with Hezbollah and its consequences for Israel could be far more devastating than the shelling of Hamas from the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli estimates, Hezbollah has more than 130,000 missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel. Bennett’s government already has a lot of problems, including a rise in coronavirus infections. Moreover, Israel has not yet recovered from the recent war with the Palestinian movement Hamas. The conflict with Hezbollah and its consequences for Israel could be far more devastating than the shelling of Hamas from the Gaza Strip. According to Israeli estimates, Hezbollah has more than 130,000 missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel. However, Hezbollah does not need a war that will lead to numerous casualties and destruction in Lebanon.

The country is already on the verge of collapse. There is no fuel, medicine or electricity in Lebanon, and most importantly, there is no government that can try to rectify the situation. The international community is ready to provide assistance to Lebanon only if a cabinet of ministers is formed, which will be recognized by all political forces in the country. Some Lebanese blame Hezbollah for the fact that there is still no government. The population is tired of waiting for politicians to agree, the Lebanese demand changes, as well as punishment of those responsible for the explosionin the port of Beirut on 4 August last year. Hezbollah is also partially responsible for the explosion. The Lebanese media wrote that the saltpeter that exploded in the port was stored in the territory controlled by the movement, and could be used by them for their own purposes.

“The Southern Front ignited to divert attention from the August 4th anniversary, and we call on the army to prevent rocket attacks from Lebanon,” said the head of the Maronite Church, Patriarch of Antioch and the entire Levant, Beshar al-Rai, on Sunday. Earlier, similar statements were made by other politicians from the political camp opposite to Hezbollah.

Residents of the Druze village of Shwayya, located in southern Lebanon, actively opposed Hezbollah’s actions. The video was bypassed on social media as they blocked the way for Hezbollah fighters returning after the shelling of Israel. The Druze accused the movement of endangering the lives of the inhabitants of the south of the country. Lebanese journalists called it the first civil act of resistance to Hezbollah. The movement could not leave this unanswered. In his statement, it was emphasized that the operation was carried out away from settlements and did not affect the safety of the civilian population. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah responded to clashes in Shway on Saturday. “When I saw footage of the incident, I felt very sad,” he said. At the same time, Sheikh Nasrallah stressed that the attackers on the Hezbollah car were “just a handful of people” and many villagers, on the contrary, stood up for the fighters of the movement. He also touched upon the topic of the explosion in the port, noting that Hezbollah has nothing to do with saltpeter, but fears the use of this topic for political purposes. Hassan Nasrallah did not forget to warn Israel that Hezbollah will not be contained by internal divisions and the economic crisis in the country if the Israeli army continues to strike at Lebanese territory. Sheikh Nasrallah emphasized that the missile attack was “directly related to Israeli airstrikes” on Lebanon, and not to any regional issue.

That is, he made it clear that Iran was not behind the attack, although Israel considers Hezbollah’s actions to be part of Tehran’s undeclared war against it. Recent events are associated with Iran and many external players. but fears the use of this topic for political purposes. Hassan Nasrallah did not forget to warn Israel that Hezbollah will not be contained by internal divisions and the economic crisis in the country if the Israeli army continues to strike at Lebanese territory. Sheikh Nasrallah emphasized that the missile attack was “directly related to Israeli airstrikes” on Lebanon, and not to any regional issue.

That is, he made it clear that Iran was not behind the attack, although Israel considers Hezbollah’s actions to be part of Tehran’s undeclared war against it. Recent events are associated with Iran and many external players. but fears the use of this topic for political purposes. Hassan Nasrallah did not forget to warn Israel that Hezbollah will not be contained by internal divisions and the economic crisis in the country if the Israeli army continues to strike at Lebanese territory. Sheikh Nasrallah emphasized that the missile attack was “directly related to Israeli airstrikes” on Lebanon, and not to any regional issue. That is, he made it clear that Iran was not behind the attack, although Israel considers Hezbollah’s actions to be part of Tehran’s undeclared war against it. Recent events are associated with Iran and many external players. if the Israeli army continues to strike at Lebanese territory. Sheikh Nasrallah emphasized that the missile attack was “directly related to Israeli airstrikes” on Lebanon, and not to any regional issue. That is, he made it clear that Iran was not behind the attack, although Israel considers Hezbollah’s actions to be part of Tehran’s undeclared war against it. Recent events are associated with Iran and many external players. if the Israeli army continues to strike at Lebanese territory. Sheikh Nasrallah emphasized that the missile attack was “directly related to Israeli airstrikes” on Lebanon, and not to any regional issue. That is, he made it clear that Iran was not behind the attack, although Israel considers Hezbollah’s actions to be part of Tehran’s undeclared war against it. Recent events are associated with Iran and many external players.

On Sunday, the Saudi newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat reported that Washington pressured Prime Minister Naftali Bennett not to change the “rules of confrontation” with Hezbollah before Vienna resumes talks on the future that were interrupted in June. Iranian nuclear program. Washington feared that Israel’s strikes on Lebanon could give Tehran a reason to refuse consultations in Vienna. The newspaper also notes that the US and France have put pressure on Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who is close to Hezbollah. As a result, as the newspaper notes, both Israel and the Shiite movement sent a signal to the peacekeepers in Lebanon that they do not want escalation.

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