Will U.S. Guarantees in the Lebanon Maritime Deal Complicate Israel's Freedom of Action Against Hizbullah?

(Al-Arabiya) Tony Badran - In the maritime boundary deal with Lebanon that Team Biden succeeded in imposing on Israel, the two principal actors were in fact the U.S. and Hizbullah. A supposed "balance of deterrence" was said to be established by the deal, whereby the offshore platforms of both countries would be held hostage by the other side. According to this formula, Israel, if attacked by Hizbullah, could always blow up a platform owned and operated by the French oil company Total - thereby violating its own contractual agreements with the French company and bringing France into the conflict on Hizbullah's side. How this would deter rather than encourage Hizbullah to interfere with Israel's oil rigs is unclear. The drivers of a potential conflict between Israel and Hizbullah are multiple, growing, and entirely unrelated to the maritime issue. Hizbullah's arms build-up, acquisition of more advanced weapons systems, and development of precision-guided munitions continue apace. The more invested the U.S. and France are in Lebanon, the more complicated Israel's freedom of action becomes, as Washington and Paris will lean on Jerusalem to dissuade it from taking any action against Hizbullah in Lebanon, even if it were dictated by national security imperatives. The insertion of the U.S. as a guarantor between Israel and Hizbullah means that, moving forward, this will put multiple checks in place on Israeli action in Lebanon. The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

2022-10-31 00:00:00

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive