Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why A Hizballah Attack on Israel is Unlikely

By Barry Rubin

Guy Bechor is a very smart analyst of Arab politics and society. Especially interesting was his recent Haaretz article providing ten reasons why Hizballah is not going to attack Israef.

Briefly, his persuasive argument goes like this, though the list is influenced by my own views on the matter:

--Hizballah knows that its innovative methods worked relatively well in 2006 but now Israel knows how to counter them on the battlefield. In case of war, Hizballah would be even more badly defeated.

--Israel’s military has made big advances, especially tanks equipped with reliable systems to destroy even the most sophisticated rockets fired at them and even more effective laser-guided guns.

--Hizballah would face even more opposition to a war in Lebanon and faces a delicate political situation there. A war would ruin his chances of getting a large share of government power now and even more control in future.

--It remembers, though doesn’t admit, the heavy losses it suffered in 2006. And he knows, despite his bragging, that Hizballah was defeated then.

--Iran wants to keep things quiet since it needs to consolidate the post-election regime and to manage heightened sanctions while going full-speed ahead toward nuclear weapons. It also prefers to keep Hizballah in reserve to deter Israel from attacking.

-- Arab regimes are more willing to denounce Hizballah as an agent of Iran. This is especially true for Egypt since Nasrallah himself called for the overthrow of its government.

--The rhetoric used by Hizbullah and Nasrallah has lost its efficacy.

--Nasrallah saw what happened to Hamas in Gaza.

--The presence of a large UN force that’s in the way poses an additional problem for Hizballah.

For its part, Israel doesn't war with Hizballah but if attacked will not hesitate to respond quickly, fully, and powerfully.

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