The morning of July 12th, 2006 two attacks occurred against Israel killing both civilians and soldiers. This event started the 2006 Lebanon War, a 34 day military conflict between Israeli forces and Hezbollah, a Shi’a Islamic militia/political party. One of various altercations since the founding of Hezbollah in 1985. Last month Hezbollah militants fired five anti-tank missiles at Israel military vehicles sparking a response missile attack, multiple fire fights, and tensions of a very violent and repetitive past.
Hezbollah major allies are Iran and Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Their latest offense on Israel is a counter to an earlier airstrike in Syria that is believed to have killed Hezbollah operatives and Iranian leadership including the confirmed death of notorious General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi. It also caused the immediate death of the son of a major Hezbollah founder. “The attack delivered perhaps the highest-profile blow to Hezbollah and Iranian interests in Syria since the outbreak of war there…” claimed Foreignpolicy.com journalist, Phillip Smyth. Hezbollah was started in the late 1980’s by fighters in Lebanese civil war with the main objective of ending the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) occupation in South Lebanon. Hezbollah is influenced with radical Shi’a Islam, anti-Zionists, Islamic nationalism, anti-west, and anti-imperialism ideologies. In 1990 the civil war had ended, Syria was in control of restoring Lebanon but failed to enforce the Tiaf Agreement which called for the disbandment of all militant groups including Hezbollah. Corruption and white-collar crime became rapid. Through the 90’s Iran endorsed Hezbollah’s rise in political power in Lebanon as well as their paramilitary forces. They currently control 14 seats within the Lebanon Parliament and Cabinet. During the 2000’s Hezbollah carried out multiple terrorist attacks through the Middle East and Europe. They lost their legitimacy as a resistance movement in the Arab world due to the direct aggression against Syria’s opposition. Similar to other terrorist organizations who identify and justify their actions as freedom fighters, Hezbollah often dresses as civilians in dense urban settings commonly participating in guerilla warfare.
The concerns the article doesn’t seem to address is that the Syrian civil war is very far from over and with more escalation leaves the opportunity of more clashes against Israel prompting more military actions affecting all relations especially Iran and Israel. The good news is that with dropping oil prices are taking their tolls on Iranian and Russian economies alike. Iran being the main endorser of Hezbollah may affect their groups’ infrastructure, political influence and militia style operations. According to the main source article, analysts don’t believe both side wants to have another war and that it was just a matter of border dispute and high tensions. It seems obvious Israel doesn’t want disputes on its land due to its minimal response compared to the 2006 consequences of militant attacks. Another aspect to consider is that Iran could be held accountable for their ally’s actions as their main means of funding. Unfortunately the negative possibilities are all too real, Iran could easily claim it has no bearings on Hezbollah actions and can attempt to lower their global notoriety while their allies keep involvement of their interests in Syria and the Israeli border. As history shows Israel has little patience for attacks on its forces, rightfully so. Currently Israel is fighting Hamas on the opposite, western front, who also identifies as a political group while carrying out rogue civilian involved attacks. The fighting continues as the nations of the world are funding the regimes supporting their own domestic ideology. The Middle East is extremely complex and fragile situation. The power struggle in Syria and the western sanctions among their alliance can and will yield both positive or destructive results to the Middle Eastern relations as a whole. Hezbollah seems to enough backing and homeland political power to stay as an organization for years to come. Another question posed is if Assad’s forces were to regain their country could Hezbollah insurgency could back to haunt Iran and Assad’s regime. Not to mention who else can align with this coalition in the coming decades.
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Levs, Josh. “The Israel-Hezbollah conflict is also about ISIS, oil, nukes, and global terror”. http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/29/world/israel-hezbollah-impact/index.html. January 29, 2015
Wikipedia. “Hezbollah” and “2006 Lebanon War” for additional background information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezbollah.