The Hubris of Hizbullah

(Defense One) Andrew Exum - The next big war in the Middle East between Hizbullah and Israel will begin because Hizbullah has vastly increased the size and sophistication of its arms in Lebanon despite clear and consistent warnings from Israel not to do so. Washington often gives Iran, Hizbullah's sponsor, more credit for being master strategists than they deserve. But its slow, steady strategy to arm, train, and equip sectarian Shia militias across the Middle East is a recipe for sowing instability. Israel knows it cannot intercept each and every shipment of advanced weaponry to Hizbullah. So, for two years now, Israeli military and intelligence officials have been warning every American official who visits that the next war is coming. The war in 2006 leveled entire neighborhoods in Beirut, and led to the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of civilians in both Lebanon and Israel. Now, especially since Hizbullah has dispersed its arsenal across Lebanon, the entire country will burn and Israel will almost certainly treat the Lebanese army as hostile. Hizbullah has grossly underestimated Israel in the past, but Israel isn't going anywhere. This is existential for them. It will be the Lebanese who suffer immeasurably more. If only Hizbullah could realize that, rather than pursue its present course, so much pain could be avoided. The writer was the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for Middle East policy (2015-16).

2017-09-20 00:00:00

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