Members of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement salute during the funeral of Youssef Karam Jawad, a fighter killed during cross-border clashes with Israel in November 2023 (Photo by AFP via Getty Images)

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared on 25 February that Israel ‘will keep attacking Lebanon regardless of what happens in Gaza’ – and indeed mutual strikes by Israel and Hezbollah are continuing.

Fighting between the two sides began in the aftermath of Hamas’ assault on Israel on 7 October, with Hezbollah being the first to attack Israel on another front.

Although Hezbollah has celebrated some military successes over the past four months, the war in Gaza is testing its strategic capability. Despite being the instigator of the fight, Hezbollah is not setting the agenda. Its main priority is survival rather than victory.…  Seguir leyendo »

The funeral of Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut, Lebanon, 4 January 2023. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty Images

In an alarming turn of events, just as Israel revealed its plan to withdraw thousands of troops from northern Gaza for the next phase of its ongoing war, the senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri was killed in a targeted assassination in Beirut. While Israel did not claim responsibility, Hezbollah held it directly accountable for the killing. The incident marks a significant escalation, as it represents Israel’s deepest incursion into Lebanese territory since 8 October and its most significant attack since July 2006. Moreover, it breaches established red lines and rules of engagement by expanding the war theatre to Beirut, disregarding a warning issued by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in August, when he cautioned Israel against engaging in assassinations on Lebanese soil.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israeli soldiers move to a position during a drill in the annexed Golan Heights on November 9, 2023, amid increasing cross-border tensions.(Photo by JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images)

He leads an army of more than 100,000 dedicated and battle-hardened fighters equipped with thousands of missiles, rockets, and armed drones that can hit targets deep inside Israel with pinpoint accuracy. He inspires and commands the loyalty of Iran-backed militias across the Arab world.

So when Hassan Nasrallah, the head of the Lebanese Hezbollah and the most powerful non-state actor in the world, says that he doesn’t wish to broaden the war in Gaza to help his Palestinian ally Hamas, the region should breathe a sigh of relief – because his words matter.

But Nasrallah’s intentions alone are hardly sufficient to prevent regional escalation.…  Seguir leyendo »

Miembros de Hezbolá durante el funeral de varios combatientes muertos en Siria. MAHMOUD ZAYYAT (AFP)

En las últimas décadas nos hemos acostumbrado a que las grandes decisiones en torno al futuro de Líbano no se adopten en Beirut, sino en otras capitales de Oriente Próximo. La dimisión del primer ministro libanés Saad Hariri en Riad evidencia que la política de los cónsules sigue plenamente vigente casi un siglo después de la creación del país de los cedros. El intelectual Georges Corm, quien acuñó esta fórmula, se refería a la propensión de los partidos libaneses a recabar la protección de las potencias internacionales para reforzar su posición.

Desde la capital saudí, Hariri lanzó una severa advertencia a Hezbolá a la que acusó de “crear un Estado dentro del Estado hasta el punto que tiene la última palabra en los asuntos de gobierno” y de “ser el brazo de Irán no solo en Líbano, sino también en otras naciones árabes”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Lebanon was stunned when Prime Minister Saad Hariri, speaking from Saudi Arabia, announced his resignation. Credit Mohamed Azakir/Reuters

Lebanon was stunned on Nov. 4 when its prime minister, Saad Hariri, speaking from Saudi Arabia, delivered a halting resignation speech. Mr. Hariri said he left Beirut because he feared assassination. He placed the blamed for his long-distance resignation on Iran and its main ally in Lebanon, Hezbollah.

In the days since, Saudi Arabia has accused Hezbollah of plotting against the kingdom and ordered Saudi citizens to leave Lebanon. Threats from top Saudi officials are causing new turmoil in a tiny country with complicated sectarian politics, failed power-sharing arrangements and a long history of foreign meddling.

Since the Arab uprisings in 2011, Lebanon has largely avoided the conflicts sweeping the Middle East.…  Seguir leyendo »

Volatility is rising across the Middle East as local, regional and international conflicts increasingly intertwine and amplify each other. Four Crisis Group analysts give a 360-degree view of the new risks of overlapping conflicts that involve Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Israel.

On 4 November 2017, Huthi/Saleh forces in Yemen fired a Burkan 2-H long-range ballistic missile at the Saudi capital, Riyadh. It was intercepted and destroyed before reaching its target. The attack occurred during a profound political shakeup in Saudi Arabia, where Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is seeking to consolidate power, and amid dramatic Saudi political manoeuvrings in the region which led to the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri. Adding to the volatility, Israel has been making veiled – and not so veiled – threats about its intent to prevent Hizbollah from developing an indigenous capacity to build sophisticated precision missiles.…  Seguir leyendo »

Des combattants du Hezbollah lors de la cérémonie funéraire du commandant Ali Fayyad, à Ansar, Sud-Liban, le 2 mars. PHOTO Mohammed Zaatari. AP

Il y a trois ans, en mai 2013, une première unité du Hezbollah libanais débarquait officiellement en territoire syrien. Aux côtés des forces de Bachar al-Assad, ses combattants participaient à la grande bataille d’AlQusayr, près de Homs (dans l’ouest du pays), permettant à l’armée régulière de reprendre la région en un temps record et mettant fin à une guerre d’usure de plusieurs mois dans laquelle les troupes de Bachar al-Assad s’étaient empêtrées sans résultat probant.

Au Liban, l’opinion s’était rapidement divisée. D’une part, la coalition du 14 Mars, pro-occidentale, pro-saoudienne et anti-Assad, avait fait connaître son mécontentement haut et fort. Par le choix d’intervenir directement dans le conflit voisin, le Hezbollah ne se contentait pas d’apporter son aide à un dictateur bourreau de son peuple, mais mettait en péril la sécurité même de son pays d’origine.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hace casi tres años, la Unión Europea finalmente dejó atrás su prolongada resistencia y puso a consideración la cuestión de agregar a Hezbolá a su lista de organizaciones terroristas. La buena noticia es que los 28 Estados miembros tomaron cartas en el asunto, impulsados por la determinación de Bulgaria, que había sufrido un mortífero ataque de Hezbolá el año anterior, y Chipre, que arrestó a un efectivo de Hezbolá husmeando por ahí. La mala noticia es que la Unión Europea optó por dividir a Hezbolá e incluir el “ala militar” en la lista del terrorismo, dejando fuera el “ala política”. Si alguna vez hubo una distinción sin una diferencia, fue esta.…  Seguir leyendo »