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With Gaza wrapping up, Israel prepares for fight with Hezbollah

Jun 7

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Israel’s military campaign against Hamas in Gaza could be wrapped up in a matter of weeks. The Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) campaign against Hezbollah, however, may just be getting started.

Whenever people talk about conflict or wars in the Middle East, it’s always hard to boil down thousands of years of history into a news story. So, let’s just focus on some of the more recent events which have led to this moment.

On Oct. 8, 2023, a day after Hamas terrorists swarmed southern Israel, killing hundreds and kidnapping dozens, Hezbollah increased its daily barrage of rocket, missile and mortar strikes on northern Israel. Hezbollah stated this was a signal of solidarity with Hamas, its fellow Iranian-backed allies.

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Thousands of people were evacuated from northern Israel due to these strikes, forced out of their homes for months. Hezbollah’s attacks also ignited wildfires, scorching fields and homes. Israel typically responds with targeted strikes against Hezbollah’s weapons caches, command posts and, when known, Hezbollah’s leadership.

“This is a dynamic that could ultimately result in a massive burst spinning out of control,” said Avi Melamed, a former Israeli intelligence officer and negotiator during the First and Second Intifadas.

Now a political adviser and author, Melamed noted that neither Israel nor Hezbollah wants an all-out war, but both sides are bracing for that outcome.

“The dynamic of this endless, never-ceasing, skirmish of punches almost every day since Oct. 8 — that all has its own dynamic, resulting in more and more escalation,” Melamed said. “There has been, clearly, red lines that both sides were very cautious, cautious and careful not to cross. But then on the other hand, you may find, for different reasons, you find yourself dragged into a whirlpool of dynamics that basically could result in a slippery-slope towards spinning out of control. A process that could result, at the end of the day, in all-out war.”

Melamed described Hezbollah as Iran’s favorite terrorist proxy, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars annually in financial and military support. This support has enabled Hezbollah to oust Lebanon’s internationally recognized government, turning the country into a failed state.

“The Lebanese themselves are saying openly, ‘We are kidnapped by Hezbollah and we are powerless to change the situation,’” Melamed said.

He explained that Iran needs a strong proxy in Lebanon for two main reasons. First, so Iran can tighten its grip on the country, securing a foothold along the Mediterranean coast and a staging ground to launch attacks against Israel.

“The other objective of Hezbollah is to be a counterpart of deterrence against any attempt of Israel, or the West, to attack Iran’s strategic interests,” Melamed added.

Hezbollah, Hamas and other Iranian proxies form the so-called Axis of Resistance. Melamed emphasized that this Axis is committed to the destruction of Israel, willing to put innocent people in harm’s way to achieve their goal.

“In the Western thought, you are not going to eliminate somebody else,” Melamed said. “You may have a dispute, but you don’t vow to eliminate somebody else. In the Western mindset the government’s role, first and foremost, is to take care of the well-being of its people. Not to sacrifice these people to the agenda, on the altar of whatever the agenda is. These are two things that the Western mind failed to understand. Because it’s totally alien to the mindset of the West. But it has to be said. It has to be understood,”

As of publication, both Israel and Hezbollah appear poised to engage in a major conflict, the scale of which hasn’t been seen in southern Lebanon since the 2006 Israeli invasion. Melamed warned that Iran and its Axis of Resistance are patient, committed, well-funded and increasingly well-armed. To defeat Iran and its Axis, he said, their notion of “resistance” must be defeated as well.

“They are not going to compromise their ideology and understanding that they are working according to a long-term master plan,” Melamed said. “That master plan keeps, all the time, their eye on the target. It may have some diversions. It may have some slow-downs, but they have their eyes fixed on the target. Those who want to prevent this path, need to be willing to act proactively, decisively to totally change that path. Now, there are potentially two ways to do it. One is a non-violent way and the other one is violent. The non-violent way is not working.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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[RYAN ROBERTSON]

ISRAEL’S MILITARY CAMPAIGN AGAINST HAMAS IN GAZA COULD BE WRAPPED UP IN A MATTER OF WEEKS. THE IDF’S CAMPAIGN AGAINST HEZBOLLAH, THOUGH, MAY JUST BE GETTING STARTED.

NOW, WHENEVER YOU TALK ABOUT CONFLICT OR WARS IN THE MIDDLE EAST–
IT’S ALWAYS HARD TO BOIL DOWN THOUSANDS OF YEARS OF HISTORY INTO A NEWS STORY.
SO, LET’S JUST FOCUS ON SOME OF THE MORE RECENT EVENTS WHICH HAVE LED TO THIS MOMENT.

BACK ON OCTOBER 8 OF LAST YEAR–A DAY AFTER HAMAS TERRORISTS SWARMED SOUTHERN ISRAEL, KILLED HUNDREDS AND KIDNAPPED DOZENS–
HEZBOLLAH INCREASED ITS DAILY BARRAGE OF ROCKET, MISSILE, AND MORTAR STRIKES ON NORTHERN ISRAEL. HEZBOLLAH SAID IT WAS MEANT AS A SIGNAL OF SOLIDARITY WITH HAMAS, THEIR FELLOW IRANIAN-BACKED BROTHERS-IN-ARMS.

BECAUSE OF THOSE STRIKES, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WERE EVACUATED FROM THE NORTH OF ISRAEL. FORCED OUT OF THEIR HOMES FOR MONTHS NOW. HEZBOLLAH’S BARRAGES ALSO IGNITED WILDFIRES WHICH SCORCHED FIELDS AND HOMES.
ISRAEL USUALLY RESPONDS WITH TARGETED STRIKES AGAINST HEZBOLLAH’S WEAPONS CACHES, COMMAND POSTS, AND WHEN THEY KNOW THE LOCATION, HEZBOLLAH’S LEADERSHIP

Avi Melamed: This is a dynamic that could result in, at the end of the day, a massive burst. A spinning out of control.

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

AVI MELAMED IS A FORMER ISRAELI INTELLIGENCE OFFICER AND WAS A NEGOTIATOR DURING THE FIRST AND SECOND INTIFADAS. NOW HE’S A POLITICAL ADVISOR AND AUTHOR.

HE SAYS NEITHER ISRAEL NOR HEZBOLLAH REALLY WANT AN ALL-OUT WAR RIGHT NOW, BUT BOTH SIDES ARE BRACING FOR THAT OUTCOME.

Melamed: The dynamic of this endless ceasing, never ceasing, like , skirmish of punches almost every day since October 8th–That all the time has its own dynamic, resulting in more and more escalation. There has been, clearly, red lines that both sides were very cautious, cautious and careful not to cross. But then on the other hand, you may find, for different reasons you find yourself dragged into a whirlpool of dynamics that basically could result in a slippery-slope towards spinning out of control. A process that could result, at the end of the day, in all-out war

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

MELAMED SAYS HEZBOLLAH IS IRAN’S FAVORITE TERRORIST PROXY, WHICH IS WHY THE REGIME FUNDS THE GROUP WITH HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR. IT’S ENOUGH FINANCIAL AND MILITARY SUPPORT HEZBOLLAH WAS ABLE TO OUST LEBANON’S INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED GOVERNMENT, TURNING THE COUNTRY INTO A FAILED STATE

Melamed: The Lebanese themselves are saying openly, ‘We are kidnapped by the Hezbollah, and we are powerless and we are unable to change the situation.’

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

MELAMED SAYS IRAN NEEDS A STRONG PROXY IN LEBANON SO IT CAN TIGHTEN ITS GRIP ON THE COUNTRY BEYOND THE POINT OF NO RETURN–THUS SECURING A FOOTHOLD ALONG THE COAST OF THE MEDITERRANEAN AND A STAGING GROUND TO LAUNCH ATTACKS AGAINST ISRAEL.

Melamed The other objective of Hezbollah is to be a counterpart of deterrence against any attempt of Israel, or the West, to attack Iran’s strategic interests. Let’s put it this way.

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

HEZBOLLAH, HAMAS, AND OTHER IRANIAN PROXIES MAKE UP THE SO-CALLED AXIS OF RESISTANCE. MELAMED SAYS THE AXIS IS COMPLETELY COMMITTED TO ITS MISSION OF THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL ABOVE ALL ELSE. WHICH IS WHY, HE SAYS, THESE GROUPS ARE PERFECTLY WILLING TO PUT INNOCENT PEOPLE IN HARM’S WAY IF IT MEANS ACCOMPLISHING THE GOAL.

Melamed: In the Western thought, you are not going to eliminate somebody else. You may have a dispute, but you don’t vow to eliminate somebody else. And in the Western mindset the government’s role, first and foremost, is to take care of the well being of its people. Not to sacrifice these people to the agenda, on the altar of whatever the agenda is. These are two things that the Western mind failed to understand. Because it’s totally alien to the mindset of the West. But it has to be said. It has to be understood.

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

WHICH LEADS US TO TODAY. WHEREAS OF PUBLICATION BOTH ISRAEL AND HEZBOLLAH APPEAR POISED TO ENGAGE IN A MAJOR CONFLICT, THE SCALE OF WHICH HASN’T BEEN SEEN IN SOUTHERN LEBANON SINCE THE 2006 ISRAELI INVASION.

MELAMED SAYS IRAN AND ITS AXIS OF RESISTANCE ARE MARATHON RUNNER ENEMIES, THOUGH. THEY’RE PATIENT, COMMITTED, WELL FUNDED, AND INCREASINGLY BETTER ARMED. SO, IF ISRAEL OR ANY OTHER NATION REALLY WANTS TO DEFEAT IRAN AND ITS AXIS THEN IRAN’S NOTION OF “RESISTANCE” NEEDS TO BE DEFEATED AS WELL.

Melamed: They are not going to compromise their ideology and understanding that they are working according to a long-term master plan. That master plan keeps, all the time, their eye on the target. It may have some diversions. It may have some slow-downs, but they have their eyes fixed on the target. Those who want to prevent this path, need to be willing to act proactively, decisively to totally change that path. Now, there are potentially two ways to do it. One is a non-violent way and the other one is violent. The non-violent way is not working.

[RYAN ROBERTSON]

FOR MORE OF OUR REPORTING ON THE CONFLICTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, BE SURE TO DOWNLOAD THE STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS APP TODAY, OR VISIT US AT SAN.COM

FOR STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS, I’M RYAN ROBERTSON.