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Hezbollah, Israel conflict risks sudden escalation

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Significance

The attack on a Hezbollah convoy in the Golan Heights is one of the most serious incidents in the Syrian-Lebanese border region with Israel since the beginning of Syria's civil war nearly four years ago. An embarrassed Hezbollah will feel compelled to respond, but with the group under serious political and military pressure, and Israel vulnerable to Hezbollah rocket attacks on its northern border, neither side wants an all-out war.

Impacts

  • Large-scale Hezbollah operations along the border are less likely, given all sides' strong desire to avoid a full-scale conflict.
  • Hezbollah's reaction will probably be measured and limited, although the risk of miscalculation by either side persists.
  • If the incident escalates unintentionally, Hezbollah attacks on Israel might undermine Netanyahu's election campaign.
  • A new war with Israel would seriously damage Hezbollah's popularity among its Shia support base.
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