Weekend long read

1) At the Atlantic Council David Daoud explains why ‘Hezbollah blames Lebanon’s economic collapse on the United States’.

“One year after the Beirut port explosion, Lebanon remains in freefall as it unravels under the pressure of its worst economic crisis in decades, high rates of COVID-19 infections, an indifferent political class, and Hezbollah’s control over critical junctures of the Lebanese state. Hezbollah is now caught between an increasingly dissatisfied broader populace and Beirut’s broken political order. To survive the current crisis, Hezbollah must retain, at a bare minimum, its current Lebanese Shia supporters. The group has therefore launched a multipronged strategy and propaganda campaign to deflect responsibility and blame the United States for Lebanon’s ills while also softening the impact on the party’s popular support.”

2) The ITIC provides analysis of the recent ‘Tension on Israel’s Northern Border’.

“The rocket fire this past week was the outcome of the increasing tension along the Israel-Lebanon border. Since the end of Operation Guardian of the Walls (May 2021) there have been three instances of rocket fire from south Lebanon into Israel territory, and there were three attacks during the operation itself. Of the six, the rocket fire on August 6, 2021, was exceptional by being relatively large, carried out during daylight hours and having Hezbollah officially claim responsibility for it. It was the first time Hezbollah claimed responsibility for rocket fire since the Second Lebanon War (So far, every instance of rocket fire since 2006 has been allegedly “carried out by Palestinian organizations.”)”

3) UKLFI will be holding a related webinar on August 26th titled ‘UNSC Resolution 1701 and the Situation on the Lebanon border’ (registration in the link).

“The terrorist organisation Hezbollah is deeply entrenched in the disintegrating State of the Lebanon. A United Nations force, UNIFIL, is supposed to monitor the border pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1701.  In this webinar leading experts on resolution 1701 and the security situation on Israel’s northern border will discuss the challenges for the IDF and the interplay of security, international law and diplomatic considerations.” 

4) The Menachem Begin Heritage Center recently hosted a talk by Dr Jonathan Spyer on the situation in Lebanon and Syria.

“Lebanon is on the verge of economic collapse, while war-torn, brutalized Syria remains divided. Both are the arena for the regional ambitions of Iran, which remains deeply involved and invested in both, including through its proxy, Hezbollah.”

5) At WINEP Farzin Nadimi discusses ‘Iran-Israel Escalation at Sea: The Need for an International Coalition Response’.

“When Iraq began its maritime campaign against Iranian oil shipments during the second half of their 1980-88 war, Tehran retaliated by attacking oil vessels belonging to nations that supported Baghdad, resulting in the so-called “Tanker War.” As president and head of the Supreme Defense Council at the time, Ali Khamenei pushed for this retaliatory campaign, part of which involved deliberately targeting the accommodation areas of ships with the intent to cause casualties.

The Tanker War’s lessons for future deterrence should not be overlooked. Iran’s lethal escalation failed to convince its determined adversary at the time to stop attacking tankers. Likewise, the initial U.S., French, and British response—expanding their naval presence in the Gulf region—failed to deter Tehran from targeting ships of all flags. Only after the United States increased its show of military resolve and took bold initiative in using special warfare tactics did Iran back down.”

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