A New Theatre of Conflict: Israel’s Military Advances from Homs to Lebanon to Eilat.
Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
In a significant shift in the dynamics of the Middle East conflict, Israel has recently escalated its military operations, breaking long-standing rules of engagement with Hezbollah. In particular, this escalation included an air strike on a Hezbollah compound in Homs, Syria, which resulted in the deaths of seven people, including a senior military officer. This action marked a departure from the usual pattern of hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah.
To make matters more complex, Israel carried out another air strike the following day, Saturday the 11th of November. This strike targeted what appeared to be a non-military site – an unmanned truck in a banana field. However, the location of this strike, just 40 kilometres from the Lebanese border, represents a significant escalation of the conflict. This widening of the battlefield is seen as a strategic move, sanctioned by Israel’s mini-war government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the explicit approval of Israel’s mini-war government.
Several factors are thought to have influenced Netanyahu’s decision to expand the scope of military action. These include the results of the ongoing war in Gaza, the heavy deployment of American forces in the Middle East, and the extensive western support he is receiving, which critics argue emboldens him to commit acts that are considered crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing.
This escalation raises critical questions about Israel’s intentions and the potential wider implications of these actions. A key concern is whether Netanyahu is deliberately widening the scope of the conflict to draw in the United States and other regional powers, potentially leading to a wider and more complex military engagement in the region.
Throughout the Syrian conflict, Hezbollah established a powerful deterrence equation with Israel, effectively ensuring that any harm to its members would result in significant military repercussions along the Lebanon-Israel border. This strategy was so effective that it often resulted in the disappearance of a visible Israeli military presence in the area, as a precaution against possible retaliation by Hezbollah.
The beginning of the “Al-Aqsa Flood” marked a new phase in the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. In particular, Hezbollah initiated this period of heightened tensions by attacking an Israeli radar installation on occupied Lebanese territory. This attack, which took place on 8 October, set the precedent for a series of mutual hostilities that resulted in significant casualties on both sides. However, these clashes were primarily aimed at military targets.
Despite the general adherence to this pattern of targeting, there were instances where Israel deviated from this norm. One notable breach was an Israeli attack on an ambulance and another against a civilian vehicle that resulted in the tragic deaths of four civilians, including three children and their grandmother. The vehicle they were travelling in was mistakenly suspected by Israel of being linked to the Lebanese resistance.
Hezbollah has consistently taken the initiative in striking Israeli targets first. These operations were limited to a 5-kilometre radius from the border, a self-imposed limit by both parties to the conflict. However, there were occasional breaches of this limit due to specific circumstances, illustrating the fluid and complex nature of the rules of engagement during this period.
The series of attacks launched from the Lebanese border against Israeli targets involved not only Hezbollah but also several Palestinian organisations. Despite this, Israel remained sceptical about Hezbollah’s non-involvement, largely due to the group’s significant influence and control over all military activities along the border. This scepticism persisted despite an undeclared state of war and specific rule of engagement between Israel and Hezbollah for over 36 days.
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With over 35 years’ experience in war zones across the Middle East and Africa, I write exclusive news and analysis on the world’s most complex conflicts.