An Israeli War with Hezbollah Risks War with Iran

By Randa Slim

Randa Slim is director of the Track II Dialogues initiative at The Middle East Institute and a non-resident fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced and International Studies (SAIS) Foreign Policy Institute. A former vice president of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue, Slim has been a senior program advisor at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, a guest scholar at the United States Institute of Peace, a program director at Resolve, Inc, and a program officer at the Kettering Foundation. A long-term practitioner of Track II dialogue and peace-building processes in the Middle East and Central Asia, she is the author of several studies, book chapters, and articles on conflict management, post-conflict peace-building, and Middle East politics.

In a speech on August 13, Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary General, reassured his public that Israel will not attack Hezbollah and Lebanon, arguing that Israeli officials believe “any war on Lebanon, no matter its objectives, will not be worth the costs Israel will incur in such a war.” In other words, Israel will go to war only if faced with no other course of action.

In his speech, Nasrallah was addressing two audiences: a Lebanese public that was concerned about an impending Israeli attack as a result of the usual summer war of words between Hezbollah and Israel; and Israeli citizens. The mutual deterrence regime that has been in place in southern Lebanon since the end of the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah has benefited constituencies on both sides of the border.

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