More than one politician in Lebanon believes that the possibility of a looming military escalation between Israel and “Hezbollah” is not an option that the party may make alone, so it will be the initiator, because of the threats he made to prevent the Jewish state from extracting gas from the Karish field in early September. (September), and Israel may even be in a position to seek military action, if the negotiations led by the American mediator, the senior adviser to the State Department for Energy, Aimus Hochstein, fail.
But fears of this kind are dispelled by circles following the positions of “Hezbollah”, Israel and the United States, and see that the fear of a military confrontation has become part of the process of dancing on the edge of the abyss that accompanies the ongoing negotiations in full swing, and that the key to peaceful solutions to the dispute over the demarcation of the maritime border remains in the hands of Washington, which does not have any interest in sliding into a military confrontation by Israel and “Hezbollah”. It does not want any war at a time when its attention is focused on the war in Ukraine and the mobilization of countries against Russia, and it is not in its interest to have another war that preoccupies it.
Dimensions transcend the controversy over the demarcation
In the belief of those who fear that Tel Aviv will initiate military action, Hezbollah’s continued threat to prevent Israel from extracting gas, which the West seeks to be a substitute for Russian gas, is a pretext that transcends the dispute between Lebanon and Israel, and that the matter is related to the American-Iranian confrontation. As a result of the obstruction of the prospects for negotiating the nuclear agreement, the lifting of US sanctions on Tehran and the Revolutionary Guards. The party’s launch of rallies on July 2 towards the Israeli “Karish” field, a message alerting Western countries to the fact that the security of the eastern Mediterranean shores is on the table, according to observers of the regional equation. The step has dimensions that go beyond, in their opinion, the dispute between Lebanon and Israel, which Hochstein seeks to end in order to defuse the explosion. They add that “having a trained organization like “Hezbollah” that is loyal to Tehran, which has previously used marches through the Houthis, and sometimes directly from its lands, when it was accused of launching marches carrying explosive materials to target American sites in Iraq that were said to have been launched from Iranian territory, is a difficult issue.” It is overlooked by the United States and Israel, because it opens eyes to the possibility of targeting other Mediterranean countries if the Iranian interest requires it.
Navigational and gas threat and the potential for pre-emptive strike
Indeed, those with these fears point out that “Tehran has become part of an alliance with Moscow that may resort to fighting America and its allies anywhere confrontation conditions may arise, especially in light of the energy war raging on the global level.” They ask, “If Hezbollah was able to launch marches towards the Israeli shore, then this means that it is theoretically possible to launch marches towards the shores of other Mediterranean countries as well. In this sense, the beaches of countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and Egypt, for example, could be within the range of weapons of this kind. , which means that it is a weapon that could threaten the security of navigation in the Mediterranean as well as gas sources, if the conditions of confrontation between two camps necessitate, although this is not on the table in the current circumstances, but the countries do not exclude from their calculations long-term strategic risks of this kind. It leads to the conclusion that the party’s rallies crossed red lines, and that may be repeated.”
Observers point out in this context that these fears lead to the question whether Israel could resort to a preemptive strike against “Hezbollah”, and do not wait for it to take the initiative to target the gas extraction platform and other sites, as he threatened.
US-UK-Jordanian exercise with the Lebanese army
Also, these observers, despite their belief that these possibilities are not overwhelming in the current circumstances, security in the Mediterranean is included in the calculations of Washington’s military moves, in a way that it is difficult to imagine Tehran and its tools taking any action that threatens the region. As far as the escalation of the conflict between Tehran and the alliance of Israel and America, the latter provides the Hebrew state with all the military capabilities to confront the extreme possibilities, as was shown by US President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel in the middle of last month, on the one hand, and establishes a network of military and security alliances in the eastern Mediterranean, including Lebanon from second hand. In this regard, she notes that in parallel to Hezbollah’s threats, naval exercises are conducted annually between the US and Lebanese armies, which took place on July 12, 10 days after the party launched its marches.
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As a reminder, the Central Command of the US Naval Forces (NAVCENT) and the Lebanese Army conducted the “Resolute Union 2022” exercise, for a period of two weeks, in Lebanese territorial waters. The annual exercise focuses on maritime security operations, mine action, and explosive ordnance disposal. “For 22 years, Resolute Union exercises have established cooperation between our armed forces and ensured the readiness of the Lebanese Army to carry out its mission,” US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea said.
“This is an excellent opportunity to work with our highly capable Lebanese partners and strengthen our relationship, as working together enhances regional security and stability,” said Admiral Brad Cooper, commander of the US Naval Forces Central Command, Fifth Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces. British and Jordanian soldiers participated in the exercise, in addition to 60 American soldiers, while they arrived on the Lebanese coast, in a symbolic step that marked the end of the exercise on July 26, last year, two modern rapid intervention frigates that came directly from the United States, in a first stop, on their way to join the exercise. To the Sixth Fleet stationed in Bahrain.
The significance of mentioning this incident, in addition to the ongoing relationship between the army and the US military command, is that the arena in the Mediterranean is not empty for the “party” and Iran, despite their influence in the country.
Reverse reading: Lebanese reasons
Some observers of the US-Iranian negotiations rectify the likely expectations of a military confrontation by pointing out that there is a return to the Vienna sessions, and that attempts to activate these negotiations will not stop because both sides need them.
Away from the concerns related to the classification of “Hezbollah” threats to Israel, and the latter’s response by warning its leaders to the Lebanese that the country will witness unprecedented bombing, those who read the opposite of the above-mentioned fears tend to limit the verbal escalation taking place to its Lebanese-Israeli dimensions, and to the internal Lebanese dimension, without meaning This ignored the regional dimensions of the party’s having to risk the possibility of a confrontation with Israel. His threats are related to the continuous American pressure against him, and the growing campaign against him, which is taking effect among the broad Lebanese public, and which holds it responsible for the consequences of the stifling economic, financial and living crisis. According to some of his opponents, with his threats, he wanted to divert attention from that campaign against him with the beginning of the demise of the era of his ally President Michel Aoun and the preparation for the election of a new president. His opponents insist that they will not accept him as his ally this time. The dissatisfaction with the inability of the ruling system, which is essential in it, to find solutions to the tragic deterioration of life conditions, began to appear more and more among its fans, who dared to criticize him because of the miserable situation due to the lack of basic necessities of life such as water, electricity, medicine and bread. This appeared in videos spread on social media, in which women and men shun party representatives and leaders. In the opinion of the authors of this reading, “Hezbollah” wants to imply that without its threats, Israel would not have agreed to a settlement of the maritime borders, so that Lebanon would be able to start the steps of exploration for gas and oil, which would have a positive psychological and political impact and give hope that the economic and financial conditions could be reformed. Even if the investment of oil and gas wealth will take time.
“Hezbollah” eager to agree on the borders?
And while he continues to raise his voice against America and Israel, the deadline he announced until early September is at the same time a means of expediting solutions. Therefore, its Secretary-General, Hassan Nasrallah, said in his last speech on August 2, that the American mediator “should pay attention to the game of time, and I learned that the Lebanese presidents (President Michel Aoun, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and the caretaker prime minister). Najib Mikati) told him that he should pay attention that time is short, which means that there is no time game. Although the Lebanese Foreign Minister, Abdullah Bouhabib, said that the party broadcast a video from its media of a march with coordinates on Israeli sites, including the Karish gas field, that the state had nothing to do with, Nasrallah insisted on fabricating his position with the official side by saying, “The position of the state and the resistance on this issue are one and the same.” It seemed that he was waiting impatiently for (the American mediator) to come up with an answer within days, and in light of which the people act.” That is, the “party” is betting on the success of the negotiations more than it wants a military confrontation with Israel, given its high cost on its constituency and its areas of influence. He intends to turn any agreement on the maritime borders with Israel into a victory for him, arguing that his pressure is behind the achievement of Lebanon’s rights?
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