Beirut – After the “initial response” toHizb allah On assassination Saleh Al-Arouri Vice President of the Political Bureau of the Islamic Resistance Movement (agitation) with a group of his comrades, by bombing the largest Israeli air control base in the north. The Israeli escalation reached an unprecedented pace towards Lebanon yesterday, Saturday, as the occupation army’s raids extended – for the first time – to the outskirts of the Sidon district.
From the first moment of the martyrdom of Al-Arouri and his companions, one question emerged on the lips of Hezbollah’s allies, opponents and enemies: How will the party respond to the most dangerous assassination operation since the outbreak of?Al-Aqsa flood“And for the first time inside his stronghold in the heart of the southern suburbs of Beirut?
After Israel put it before the height of the challenge, it diverted attention from its crime to anticipating the nature of Hezbollah’s response, so its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah Two speeches between the assassination of Al-Arouri on January 2nd and the “initial response” – as described in the party’s statement – on January 6th.
In the first, Nasrallah's speech raised questions about its ambiguity and ambiguity, merely indicating that the crime would not go unanswered or unpunished, and said that “the field, the days, and the nights are between us.” Then he explained in the second speech that the response would come and that he would leave it to the field and that “we will not wait for the appropriate moment and time.”
However, observers believe that Israel wanted to establish its superiority over the party by carrying out specific assassinations at the levels of personality, location, and the security and intelligence dimension. How can we read the party’s “initial response” and the dangerous Israeli escalation that followed?
“Respond” and escalate
The morning after Nasrallah's speech, sirens sounded in northern Israel, and the occupation army said that it had identified about 40 missile launches from Lebanon towards the Meron area. Then Hezbollah announced the launch of 62 missiles at an Israeli air control site, in an “initial response” to the assassination of Al-Arouri.
The party showed the importance of the operation by saying, “The Meron Air Control Base is located on the top of Mount Jarmaq, and is the only center for management, surveillance, and air control in the north, and there is no major alternative to it. It is concerned with organizing and managing air operations towards Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Cyprus, and the northern part of the Mediterranean Basin.” .
Israel did not announce any human or material losses for this operation, but it followed it with an unprecedented escalation, which reflected its anger, mobilization, and effort to lure Hezbollah into war.
Yesterday, Saturday, the party announced the martyrdom of 5 of its members after Israel bombed its sites in the areas of Aita al-Shaab, Yaroun, and Ramiya.
For the first time, Israel expanded the area of fire to about 35 kilometers through air strikes on the town of “Kawthariya Al-Siyad” located in the Al-Zahrani area, one of which targeted a house, and another targeted a gathering of residents, resulting in injuries.
It continued the phosphorus artillery shelling in the Khiam area, and raided a large number of southern towns in Aita al-Shaab and Mays al-Jabal, and targeted the Qalila Plain in the Tire district, and phosphorus shells hit residential neighborhoods. An Israeli balloon also took off over some towns, with heavy reconnaissance aircraft flying south.
This comes at a time when European Union foreign policy official Josep Borrell was visiting Beirut on Saturday, where he met with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and government leader Najib Mikati, and held a joint press conference with the Lebanese Foreign Minister, calling for the need to “avoid dragging Lebanon into a regional conflict.”
Analyzes vary between those who find that Hezbollah's response reflects a deliberate and intelligent tactic in managing the war within expanded and changing rules of engagement and conditional on controlled escalation, and those who see it as falling short of the level of the Israeli operation that assassinated one of the most important founding leaders of the Brigades. Al-QassamIn a security and intelligence breach of the party’s stronghold.
Writer and political analyst Rosanna Bou Monsef believes that the initial response the day after Nasrallah’s speech was remarkable, but its value is coupled with the extent of the actual impact and damage to Israel on the security, military, and human fronts.
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, the military expert, retired Brigadier General Khaled Hamada, added, “There is no doubt that the targeted base has differential advantages as an intelligence communications and control base. But the distinctive geographical locations have their modern and digital alternatives today.”
Hamada does not underestimate the importance of the site targeted by Hezbollah, but he says, “It cannot be said that Israel lost its capabilities for reconnaissance, control, and interference by striking it.”
Hamadeh finds that Hezbollah's response “did not live up to the logic of the balance of deterrence and the Israeli operation, which penetrated a geographical, security, popular and political square sponsored by the party.”
This is what the writer and political analyst Wassim Bazzi does not agree with, considering that Hezbollah faces a very strong intelligence enemy, and that its initial response is a translation of Nasrallah’s words and “to restore the initiative in the rules of engagement, and to curb Israel’s appetite for expanded assassination operations from Damascus to Iran, which culminated in Beirut.” “.
In an interview with Al Jazeera Net, Bazzi found that the base that Hezbollah struck, located 7 kilometers deep on the highest hill in Galilee, had not been touched previously, and that “its targeting combines a military and security response.”
He says, “Underestimating the response ignores its importance, because its message is poignant and exceptional, as evidenced by the hysterical and extremist strikes that Israel carried out afterwards, and after the party sought with its response to restore the rules of engagement to normal.”
Who drains the other?
Rosanna Bou Monsef finds, in an interview with Al Jazeera Net, that Israel is essentially exhausted in the Gaza Strip, but in her opinion Hezbollah is also exhausted, as it has so far provided about 150 martyrs (more than in the July 2006 war), just as Nasrallah neglected – in her opinion – when He talked about the displacement of more than 100,000 settlers in the north, saying that there is a similar number who were displaced from southern Lebanon, and “they constitute a drain and pressure on him in light of his control over the region, and the collapse of the state that is unable to support the people of the south.”
The analyst rules out that Hezbollah's operations will deter Israel from resuming and continuing the series of assassinations of Palestinian leaders, and perhaps Hezbollah, “as long as Lebanon is an open security, intelligence, and political arena.”
In parallel, Khaled Hamadeh believes that the bet may be on what Hamas will do in response to the assassination of Al-Arouri, and that the actual and parallel response would be to strike a military and security target, and the type of senior and influential officers killed by it.
Fate of the front
Writer Wassim Bazzi believes that Israel's desire is clear in the broad military path to wage war on Lebanon unless diplomatic efforts succeed in implementing Resolution 1701, as it desires with regard to Hezbollah's withdrawal from the south of the Litani. But the response of Hezbollah and Lebanon is clear: “There is no discussion of any diplomatic proposals before stopping the aggression against Gaza.”
He says that Washington has apparently assigned its energy advisor, Amos Hockstein, “with the task of controlling the rhythm of the fire, as all parties face Israel’s desire to deteriorate into a wide-scale war with Lebanon in the hope of saving it from the defeat of Gaza, in exchange for Hezbollah’s desire to maintain the rules of engagement and deterrence.”
Meanwhile, Bou Monsef finds that there is a kind of American-Iranian agreement not to expand the war in the region, and Washington, for example, claims that its response to the Houthi attacks in the Red Sea is local.
Bou Monsef says, “Israel is unable to wage a war on Lebanon without direct American support, but Hezbollah is confused by the question about the feasibility of its front, from its allies and opponents, and this is what Israel exploits, which seeks to inflict on it a price that exceeds the occupation war it announced.”