A Lebanon Hezbollah fighter carries his weapon as he stands in Khashaat, in the Qalamoun region.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
AFTER EIGHT years of relative quiet on the Lebanese front, there is growing concern in Israel over possibility of a renewed outbreak of fighting with Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia. Israelis tend to attribute the protracted lull to deterrence ostensibly achieved through the Second Lebanon War in 2006. But there are other factors that have been no less central to the Hezbollah decision to avoid escalation against Israel.For one, over the past few years Hezbollah has been deeply embroiled in the civil war in Syria. At Iran’s behest, it sent in forces to defend key ally Bashar Assad’s regime against opposition Sunni militias, especially the radical Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS. Moreover, Hezbollah has been forced to deploy against radical Sunni efforts to extend the battlefield across the border into Lebanese territory. Hezbollah forces are also involved to a lesser extent in Iraq and Yemen.
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