As Israeli troops continue their operations in Gaza, the world is also closely monitoring the situation on Israel’s northern border, where Hezbollah, a more powerful adversary, has been engaged in clashes with Israeli forces for weeks. Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group, has found itself in a difficult position since its ally, Hamas, launched a surprise attack on Israel. Despite its historical role as a defender of the Palestinians, Hezbollah is torn between maintaining its credibility and avoiding a full-scale war. While Hezbollah has the capability to escalate the conflict with Israel by targeting the country’s north, it has so far chosen to exercise restraint due to various domestic and regional factors.
Hezbollah’s dilemma reflects its significant influence in Lebanon, where it is the most powerful political and military force. Even the Lebanese government cannot fully control Hezbollah’s decisions, which often have implications beyond the country’s borders. Additionally, Hezbollah is part of an Iran-backed network of militias in the region, including Hamas. The group’s ability to balance these various factors is crucial. If it remains on the sidelines of the conflict, Hezbollah’s reputation as a vanguard in the resistance movement may be at stake.
Although Hezbollah possesses more sophisticated weapons and experienced militants compared to its last major war with Israel in 2006, it has thus far engaged in only limited skirmishes with Israeli forces. Experts suggest that Hezbollah could intensify its attacks on Israel’s north while a large portion of the Israeli military is focused on Gaza. However, Lebanon is currently experiencing a severe economic crisis, making war an unpopular option. Furthermore, a second front opened by Hezbollah could provoke the United States to support Israel. American officials have privately urged Israel to avoid launching a major strike on Hezbollah to prevent a broader conflict.
While some Hamas leaders expect more help from Hezbollah, the precise capabilities of the group remain unclear. Hezbollah is believed to possess a significant arsenal of rockets, including precision-guided missiles that can target sensitive Israeli locations. Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has remained quiet since the recent escalation, leaving the region on edge. However, a Lebanese official who communicates with Hezbollah suggests that the group’s intervention will depend on the extent of Hamas’ deterioration. The destruction of Hamas appears to be Hezbollah’s red line for intervention, but it also aligns with Israel’s stated goal. Thus, Hezbollah’s involvement remains uncertain.
Overall, Hezbollah’s decision to engage or refrain from a full-scale war with Israel is influenced by multiple factors, including Lebanon’s domestic situation, regional dynamics, and its own role in the resistance movement. While the group has the capability to inflict damage on Israel, it must carefully consider the potential consequences of its actions. Despite its decreasing popularity within Lebanon, Hezbollah remains a formidable force, and the Israeli military may face challenges if a ground conflict were to ensue. However, the group’s involvement in a war with Israel would have significant implications and potentially risky consequences.