The Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu keeps threatening a “major military action” to end the daily firefights between Israel and Hezbollah along the country’s northern border.
Adding more ground to the conflict throws the US and Israeli government’s plans for the future into disarray. War escalating out of control is a real possibility due to the unpredictability of the situation.
Equally opposed to an escalating conflict is Hezbollah. Ten years passed before the terrorists were able to recover from the conflict with Israel in 2006, but Lebanon has still not fully recovered.
The reticent senior leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, speaks a good game. In response to the killing of Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri, he threatened Israel in a speech he gave last week.
A formidable arsenal of long-range missiles, capable of targeting any location in Israel, has been amassed by Nasrallah. Only around 15,000 of Hezbollah’s 150,000 fighters have received comprehensive training. However, as Israel discovered to its dismay in 2006, they are well equipped. Even the most elite Israeli Defense Forces personnel will have no chance against them.
But Nasrallah saw his force like a new vehicle owner reluctant to part with their cherished item. As a political tool, Nasrallah employs Hezbollah’s force to keep Lebanon under his control. It would be an error of judgment on his side if he goes to battle.
It might also be Israel’s intentional escalation. Some in Netanyahu’s military cabinet believe that Israel ought to eliminate Hezbollah as well as Hamas because it is currently fighting both groups.
Out of the fighting in Gaza, five brigades were pulled back by the Israeli Defense Forces. Several American officials are concerned that Israel may deploy such battalions to attack Hezbollah.
The increasing political difficulties Netanyahu is facing should also be taken into account. There has been mounting criticism of the prime minister since the mistakes of the October 7 disaster became public knowledge. A leader like Netanyahu would not be the first to resort to military force when faced with a difficult situation.