In anticipation of Israel’s reaction to Lebanon’s claims for gas extraction from the Karish gas field strategic areas in the eastern Mediterranean, Hezbollah militias has deployed its forces in southwestern Lebanon.
The likelihood of conflict between Israel and Hezbollah hasn’t been this high since 2006.
There has been both open and covert diplomacy since Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah vowed to use force to deter Israel from independently extracting gas from some eastern Mediterranean reserves. The ramifications of such a battle would be unimaginable.
Israel was publicly challenged with war by Nasrallah on July 13 if it moved on with its intention to begin exploiting the Karish gas field, which is situated on the boundary of the Lebanese Exclusive Economic Zone.
Three spy planes were sent toward the Karish site on July 2 in advance of these warnings, which have been made several times in recent weeks.
A video showing a launch pad, Iranian Nour land-to-sea missiles (a revamped version of the Chinese C-802 missile), infrared images of Karish, and Israeli manufacturing and excavation floating units around the platform, along with their Location information, was then broadcast as part of this psychological warfare.
Drums of War
A few meters from the Israeli soldiers stationed on the opposite side of the fence, Hezbollah members marched along the Lebanese-Israeli border at the end of July while wearing khakis but without weapons.
For their part, Hezbollah’s detractors are open about the potential consequences of what the media has dubbed “the Nasrallah formula” for Lebanon.
“The head of Hezbollah acts like an actor in a game of nations. But we have to refrain from playing along. Mr. Nasrallah need to make an effort to prevent conflict. If conflict breaks out, both sides would be destroyed “Druze leader Walid Jumblatt forewarned. “You can deploy drones and launch rockets, but consider thinking about the reaction even if you believe in military intimidation,” Jumblatt addressed Nasrallah in a recent interview.
However, there are supporters of Nasrallah’s strategy.
According to Abi Nader, “I think this formula may serve Lebanon’s objectives at all levels. Israel would not have reopened the indirect dialogue procedure [which had been stopped since October 2021] if Lebanon did not have resources and coercive powers that made it powerful.”
In addition to verbal intimidations, Nasrallah also takes action physically. Reporters are informed by party insiders that Hezbollah has raised the alert level for its soldiers in Lebanon and Syria, which is further confirmed by Lebanese security authorities. Elite members of the al-Radwan brigade, who had been fighting armed Islamist organizations for years in and around Aleppo, have been sent to southern Lebanon, while reserve members have been told to wait.
Israel is also getting ready for battle. The Iron Dome was positioned in the area of confrontation, and the Israeli army put its troops on high alert along the border with Lebanon. Additionally, the Israeli Navy has increased its visibility in the area of the Karish field.
Abi Nader believes that “conflict is improbable” despite the significant military buildup on both sides of the border. ” The chance of a conflict between the protagonists lowers when deterrence is successful”, he said.