Any concession from the US-Israeli side, that will grant Lebanon its rights, will come from the deterrence capacity maintained by the camp of resistance.
Just over a month is left until “Israel” will begin extracting from the resource-rich Karish field in disputed waters, and yet no deal concerning the demarcation of maritime borders has been reached yet. If no deal is brokered by September, will we see a new “Israel”-Lebanon war? And why is there little to no media attention placed upon this?
Last Monday, the Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, seemed to have suggested that a response to Israeli provocations, over Lebanese resources, could come at any time. It is also clear that Hezbollah now views all gas fields, in both Lebanon and occupied Palestine, as potential targets. This was made clear in Nasrallah’s speech, delivered three weeks ago. Despite “Tel Aviv’s” responding with unclear “threats” of its own, it is clear that the Israeli occupation forces are in a state of panic and have both acted to deploy further air defense missile systems and have begun to pressure the United States to take the issue more seriously.
At this point, the message has been delivered, Hezbollah is ready and willing to go to war over Lebanon’s oil and gas fields, viewing its rights to extract from its offshore fields as the only means of reviving the Lebanese economy. If Lebanon cannot extract its resources, then nobody can, this is the equation established by Hezbollah. Much of the Israeli media are actively going against the official position of “Tel Aviv’s” intelligence community, which say that Hezbollah won’t likely go to war over this issue. In an article written for the Zionist media outlet, the Jerusalem Post, it is even argued that Israelis should not rely on the calculations of their intelligence community when it comes to this issue, offering the two examples of Hezbollah’s success in June 2006 and Hamas’s success in May 2021, as indicators that these Israeli estimations can often be wrong.
In June, Amos Hochstein, the Zionist-American “mediator” between the Lebanese government and the Zionist regime, visited Beirut. It became clear from an interview conducted with the US representative, during his visit, that he was not serious about granting Lebanon the concessions its people had hoped for, even laughing at the prospect of Lebanon securing the Karish field. It seemed that the impression Hochstein had was that his visit was only due to the threats issued towards “Israel”, over the encroachment on the disputed Karish field, and that the US government was not taking the situation particularly seriously.
Now, the situation is extremely serious and the potential consequences for Washington’s entire Middle East foreign policy strategy could be grave. A war, in which Hezbollah and potentially other allies of the resistance party, all open fire on “Israel”, would be a disaster for the United States, which not only seeks to have “Tel Aviv” supply gas to Europe, but also seeks to convince more Arab regimes to normalize ties with the Israeli regime. Such a war would prove the allies of Iran strong and the ability of the United States and “Israel” to deliver, on the issue of security, weak. A war of this nature would undoubtedly propel the Palestinian cause, causing great embarrassment to the likes of Morocco, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt.
How likely is it that we will witness a new Lebanon-”Israel” war in the coming months? The short answer is that it is extremely likely that we will see some form of armed confrontation, the question, however, is just how far this conflict will escalate before “Tel Aviv” is forced to retreat and grant concessions. Although “Israel” is frightened by the prospect of war at this time, it is unlikely that they will simply grant concessions to Lebanon without a fight. Already, “Tel Aviv” appears to be panicking and is seeking to secure some sort of deal with Beirut in order to avoid having to escalate tensions into a full-blown war.
Whilst it will certainly be under Hezbollah’s control as to whether they will respond or not, it is the Israeli regime that will decide whether the confrontation will be a full-blown war or a brief exchange, this will depend solely on ”Israel’s” response. Currently, the Israeli political class is caught between a rock and a hard place; on the one hand, they cannot afford to look weak and hand over significant areas to Lebanon, whilst on the other hand, there is no military option for them that will prove successful. The most Israeli forces can do against the Lebanese resistance is to keep their soldiers and settlers in bunkers, hope the casualties will be low, and kill Lebanese civilians, hoping they’ll also get some Hezbollah members in the process. In terms of their air defense systems, it is well known that they will not prove effective at preventing extreme amounts of damage when engaging in conflict with Hezbollah, this will prove embarrassing in itself.
Another factor here is the upcoming Israeli elections, which will take place in November and means that every single Israeli political party will seek to use current events to their favor. Yair Lapid, the current Israeli Prime Minister, will likely take the blame for whatever the result of the maritime border dispute issue will behold. Lapid will hence be faced with two bad options, from his perspective, fail militarily or hand over territory to Lebanon. Benny Gantz, the current minister of war, is also in a tough position and has placed himself in the anti-Netanyahu camp for the upcoming elections. If “Israel” is embarrassed by the Lebanese resistance, this could cost the anti-Netanyahu camp greatly in the upcoming elections. There is no doubt that former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will use every concession and strategic military failure against his opponents. These pressures could end up pushing the current regime into either responding with overwhelming brutality against Lebanon, or it could mean that they will seek to quickly get out of any confrontation. In the past, “Israel” has deployed dummies and lied about its casualties, not only when engaging with the Lebanese resistance, but also with the Palestinian resistance too. A media maneuver could be the plan for “Israel” to quickly exit military confrontation, whilst maintaining face with its own population and conceding on the maritime border dispute, although this could backfire.
Alternatively, if the settler-colonial regime decides to perhaps announce that it will postpone its planned deadline, in September, for extracting gas from the Karish field, this could be a means of preventing conflict in the immediate future, allowing maritime border talks to proceed for a little while longer. Postponing the extraction of gas from the Karish field would represent a concession, but could too be exploited by Benjamin Netanyahu and the allies of the right-wing Likud Party. It is important to note that in the event of any concessions from the Zionist regime, it was the doing of the resistance which will have forced this. Without the threats from the resistance in Lebanon, Beirut would continue to be laughed at by the United States, which does the bidding of “Israel” when it comes to maritime border demarcation. Any concession from the US-Israeli side, that will grant Lebanon its rights, will come from the deterrence capacity maintained by the camp of resistance and will be another victory to mark down in the history of the conflict with the settler-colonial regime.