Field escalation continues between the Israeli occupation and…Hizb allah The Lebanese border on the border with Lebanon, while the Israeli targeting circle seemed to expand day after day until it exceeded North of the Litani River A few kilometers.
The occupation focused its precise operations and assassinated prominent figures in Hezbollah’s field cadre, most notably Hussam Tawil (Hajj Jawad), one of the leaders of the “Al-Radwan Force,” who was assassinated on January 8, 2024.
The occupation also withdrew from the Gaza Strip all elements of the 36th Division, which includes Golani BrigadeAnd the 188th Brigade, and the 7th Brigade of the Armored, Artillery and Engineering Corps. The military correspondent for the “Wala” website, Amir Bouhbut, linked this to the occupation’s efforts “to maintain the efficiency of the forces in light of the threats on the northern front with Lebanon.”
Although Hezbollah balances between maintaining the level of deterrence without going to open war, there are practical repercussions.”Al-Aqsa flood“On October 7, the occupation’s fears of a repeat of the event on its northern front were strengthened, leading it towards more and more confrontation.
What has changed?
Talk about a possible confrontation between Hezbollah and the Israeli occupation raises many questions, perhaps the most prominent of which are related to the dangers that Tel Aviv fears during any confrontation in the north at the operational and strategic levels.
In a research paper entitled “The Day After the War,” the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies believes that this confrontation would impose on the occupation new and more difficult challenges than those it experienced in its ongoing war on Gaza, or in previous confrontations with Hezbollah, which will affect The nature of war if it breaks out.
Iran has exploited its growing influence in Iraq and Syria to enhance the traditional capabilities of the “axis of resistance,” independent of its nuclear capabilities.
In recent years, this axis has become a cohesive alliance of entities with great military capabilities, spearheaded by Hezbollah and working in integrated coordination with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Hezbollah is considered one of the most powerful quasi-governmental organizations in the world, and in the last decade it has acquired large and diverse fire capabilities.
The Institute for National Security Studies estimates Hezbollah's stock of missiles at about 150,000 short-, medium- and long-range missiles, which can cover almost all of occupied Palestine.
This threat has increased recently as a result of Hezbollah's efforts to develop a precision missile project, including ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, surface-to-sea missiles, and attack drones, some of which Hezbollah revealed through its war media.
The Israeli newspaper “Jerusalem Post” spoke of “serious tactical errors” that contributed to the success of Hezbollah's attacks since the start of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” battle.
It mentioned, among other things, the problem of anti-armor guided missiles, which the party has begun to use as a sniper weapon when it is incapable Iron Dome It was not intercepted, as it was flying at a low altitude and in a straight line towards the target.
The battle between wars
On the other hand, the occupation sought to stop the growth of Hezbollah's power through the “battle between wars” strategy, by targeting its warehouses and supply lines through Iraq and Syria.
He also focused on the assassination of the active figures in this project, most notably Sayyed Radhi Mousavi, one of the senior generals. Iran's Revolutionary Guards Who was assassinated in Damascus last month, followed by the assassination of the intelligence official in Quds Force Hajj Sadiq and his deputy carried out an Israeli raid on a residential building in the Mezzeh neighborhood in Damascus a few days ago, but it seems that this strategy has not yet prevented the party from developing and accumulating its capabilities.
Hezbollah has also made efforts to develop its ground attack options by raising the efficiency of the “Radwan Force,” an elite, well-trained division that includes thousands of fighters, according to the BBC.
Al-Radwan gained great experience as a result of its participation alongside the Assad regime in confronting the factions of the Syrian revolution.
Despite the occupation's discovery and destruction of many tunnels along the northern front during Operation Northern Shield in January 2019, the main mission of the “Radwan” fighters – according to the BBC article – is to enter the Galilee, where its main focus is, This is similar to what the Qassam elite did in the “Al-Aqsa Flood.”
In January 2023, Hezbollah's Combat Information Unit published training scenes of the party's fighters simulating their infiltration into the occupied territories.
What is on the Golan front?
Iran's presence near the Syrian border with occupied Palestine, through its advisors and groups loyal to it, constituted a major strategic change.
Despite the repeated targeting within the “battle between wars,” which enabled Israel to undermine Iran’s efforts to establish military bases in the Syrian arena, it did not prevent it from deploying surface-to-surface missile batteries and attack drones, as well as dozens of Iranian advisors and tens of thousands of fighters loyal to it. According to Farzin Nadimi, a researcher specializing in Iranian affairs at the Washington Institute for Studies.
This coincided with efforts by Hezbollah, also with Iranian support, to establish sites on the outskirts Syrian GolanAnd form local groups that follow him. As well as other groups affiliated with the Palestinian resistance, which are likely behind some of the missile and drone attacks on the Golan Heights last December.
Israel fundamentally fears a multi-front war, which would involve simultaneous fighting in near and far arenas.
In its war on Gaza, the occupation army is able to determine the battle axes, its primary and secondary fronts, determine its priorities, and distribute attention and resources. But in a large-scale war, he will find it difficult to control the borders and duration of the war, and if open war breaks out in the north, he will not be able to prevent “Axis of Resistance” groups stationed in other arenas from joining the battle.
In such a confrontation, Hezbollah, for example, will try to operate from the Syrian Golan, and pro-Iranian groups may then intervene in Syria and perhaps in western Iraq as well. In these circumstances, Iran may try to drag the Syrian regime into the fighting as well.
This scenario is taken into account by the occupation army, as it conducted ground maneuvers north of the Golan Heights in July 2023, that is, 3 months before the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation!
Another major challenge that Israel will face in the next war, according to the Institute for National Security Studies, is the threat posed by Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies against the Israeli home front as well, where it is expected to suffer widespread damage, at least in the first phase of the war.
This damage includes Israel's vital capabilities, by striking, for example, the main occupation army installations (headquarters, air force bases, reserve force mobilization centers), strategic infrastructure and vital services (sea and air ports, energy, water and transportation facilities).
In addition to targeting the headquarters of the occupation government, economic facilities and population centers, such tactics will aim to undermine the Israelis’ sense of security and ability to remain in the occupied territories.
The Israeli occupation may resort to steps that are both “proactive” and “cautious,” especially since the field failure in Gaza cost its army a lot at all levels.
In the face of these challenges, it will primarily maintain its current strategy to delay and disrupt the accumulation of power by Hezbollah in Lebanon and other Iranian proxies in Syria through the “battle between wars.” However, the failure of diplomatic efforts raises the possibility of launching a military operation inside Lebanon to reduce the level of threat posed by Hezbollah, while risking the situation deteriorating into a broader war.
On January 18, the Washington Post quoted Occupation Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as confirming to his American counterpart, Lloyd Austin, that “Israel is approaching the point of decision-making in Lebanon as long as Hezbollah continues its attacks in the northern border region.”
He stressed the occupation's commitment to returning the settlers of the north to their homes. The Israeli Broadcasting Authority also said that Tel Aviv informed Washington that it would carry out military action in Lebanon unless the “Radwan Force” was removed from the border.
Despite many rational calculations that are supposed to keep Israel away from such steps, the internal crisis that Netanyahu, his government, and the leaders of the occupation army are going through may push them towards reckless steps, which they believe may give them certain achievements to compensate for their failure in Gaza.