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War Drums in the Middle East: Israel Ramps Up Military Actions Against Hezbollah

Daniel Kim Views  

Since last October, the Israeli military has been engaged in combat with Hezbollah, a Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group, along the northern border connected to Lebanon. The Israeli military has officially approved a plan to attack Lebanon targeting Hezbollah. With the November elections looming, the U.S. is concerned that Israel, which has so far been focusing on Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip, might expand its front to Lebanon.

According to The Times of Israel, the Israeli military stated on the 18th, “The head of the IDF’s Northern Command, Maj. Gen. Ori Gordin and the head of the Operations Directorate, Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk approved Lebanon battle plans on Tuesday.” They emphasized that they decided to hasten the readiness posture of the ground forces.

Hezbollah, formed in 1985, which means Party of God in Arabic, was born in response to Israel’s invasion of southern Lebanon in 1982 to eradicate the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

It grew with the support of the Shia-majority country Iran, carried out various attacks against Israel along with the PLO, and emerged as a stronger organization than the regular Lebanese army. The pan-Arab media Al Jazeera pointed out last October that although Hezbollah’s troops are known to be 100,000, the actual number is about 60,000.

After Hamas—which controls the Palestinian Gaza Strip—attacked Israel on October 7th last year, Hezbollah continued to provoke Israel along the southern Lebanese border. Hamas also received full support from Iran, which is hostile to Israel. The conflict took place daily and consisted of Hezbollah’s artillery and drone attacks and Israel’s air strikes. This attack forced about 80,000 Israeli residents to flee.

As Israel’s operation to eradicate Hamas in the southern Gaza Strip recently subsided, clashes with Hezbollah intensified. On the 11th, Israel eliminated one of Hezbollah’s senior commanders, Taleb Abdallah. In response, Hezbollah retaliated by firing hundreds of rockets for two consecutive days. Israel also bombed a southern Lebanese border village eight times on the 16th. On the 18th, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned on X, “In an all-out war, Hezbollah will be destroyed, and Lebanon severely beaten.”

With the November elections coming up, U.S. President Joe Biden is concerned about the escalating situation in the Middle East. Following an invasion in 1982, Israel previously invaded Lebanon in 2006 with 30,000 troops. U.S. President Joe Biden’s senior adviser, Amos Hochstein, on Tuesday, urged for immediate political solutions to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. “It is in everyone’s interest to resolve the conflict quickly and politically, and this is possible, necessary, and within reach,” he added.

On the 18th, Katz said in a post on X: “We are getting very close to the moment of deciding on changing the rules of the game against Hezbollah and Lebanon.” Israel and Lebanon agreed on the rules of engagement on the border orally through the unofficial mediation of then-U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher in 1993. At the time of the agreement, Israel promised not to attack civilian targets on the Lebanese border, and Hezbollah agreed not to fire shells at Israel.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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