During the summer war of 2006, Israel managed to destroy a large number of Hezbollah’s rocket and missile stocks. Most Hezbollah missile units were destroyed and, in the suburb of the capital Beirut, over 250 buildings (mainly but not exclusively hosting Hezbollah offices, warehouses and officers’ homes) were flattened by Israeli precision bombs targeting Hezbollah (and many civilians) in the suburbs of Beirut. Hundreds of houses were completely destroyed in the south of Lebanon. However, Israel was unable to fulfil its objectives due to the defeat of its infantry which faced harsh resistance and was unable to push deep inland. Moreover, the Kornet anti-tank laser-guided missiles and the “Nour” anti-ship missiles of Hezbollah surprised the enemy, indicating a serious lack of Israeli intelligence and confirming Hezbollah’s strong fighting abilities.
Thirteen years later, the failure of US and Israeli policy in the region means it is no longer possible for Israel to contemplate a direct confrontation with Hezbollah in Lebanon. The US and Israel failed to achieve four main goals: regime change in Syria, the partition of Iraq, the defeat of the Houthis in Yemen, the Palestinian “deal of the century”. Added to this, Israeli-US rejection of any fair Palestinian state has strengthened Palestinian resolve against Israel.
Israel has increased its firepower and military capabilities, but Hezbollah also moved from being a tactical local organisation to becoming a strategic player in the Middle East. The group’s superior fighting abilities have been enhanced by new military hardware. This has had the effect of rendering war in the Middle East unlikely any time in the near (or medium-term) future.
The attempt by the US and its partners to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and transform the country into a failed state governed by jihadist Takfiris (ISIS and al-Qaeda groups, who overwhelmed all other rebel and non-jihadist organisations) forced the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iran and Iraq to engage militarily in the Levant. The same scenario repeated itself in Iraq when the US looked on as ISIS grew strong and held on to robust intelligence – the accuracy of which was later confirmed – that ISIS would be migrating from Iraq to Syria after occupying a large part of Iraq. Hezbollah, Iraqi groups and Iranian forces fought in Syria and Iraq to stop the jihadists from expanding and to prevent a direct danger to Lebanon,