A week ago, Lebanon was rattled by two air raids. As the dust settles, the small Mediterranean republic is now waiting anxiously to see if simmering Iranian-Israeli tensions will evaporate—or boil over into a full-scale war on Lebanese soil.
This as Matthew Petti writes in an article featured in nationalinterest.org could in fact be another escalation, a possible prelude to a confrontation between Israel and its enemies, Iran-backed organizations (chief among them Hezbollah).
The escalation comes just days before the Israeli elections and while the United State has been taking an increasingly ambiguous stance on regional developments.
As the article notes:
“There is a scenario of continuing with this ongoing pattern of limited, calibrated tit-for-tat escalation, or things can get out of control, and we are suddenly facing a regional war,” said former Beirut resident Randa Slim, after two Israeli drones exploded over the Lebanese capital in an alleged kamikaze attack against the pro-Iran guerrilla group cum political party Hezbollah.
With elections in Israel set for September, right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to cultivate his strongman image with an aggressive military posture. Iran, meanwhile, has to balance its delicate efforts to win new friends in Europe and America with defending its old allies in the Middle East. And neither side is sure where the United States will throw its weight.
Last weekend, the result of this rivalry was Israeli strikes in three different countries: Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon.
On Saturday, Israeli warplanes had killed two Hezbollah members in Syria. Israel claimed that the militants were planning a drone attack “under Iran’s command” on the Golan Heights, a disputed territory controlled by Israel.
Then, on Sunday, the Israeli drones exploded over Beirut. A few hours later, Israeli drones attempted to attack a Palestinian communist group in eastern Lebanon, attracting anti-aircraft fire in the Bekaa Valley.
Sunday’s incidents were the first air combat deep within Lebanon since the July 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.
Hezbollah’s General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah accused Israel of violating the “rules of engagement” since the 2006 war, calling the drone incident “the first attack since August 14, 2006.” However, Israel did strike Lebanese territory in a 2014 incident along the Syrian-Lebanese border.
read the rest of the excellent article HERE.