One thing not in doubt about Israel: they are not putting up with Hezbollah supporting Syrian government forces or being supported by Syria at all. Israel recently conducted two raids involving warplanes near the Syrian-Lebanese border, hitting a weapons convoy for Hezbollah forces in Syria. It’s not the first time Israel has done so either. At least three attacks by Israel against Syria and Hezbollah operating in the chaos that is the Syrian civil conflict has occurred in the past year alone.
Lately, the Syrian civil war—yes, when over 300,000 people are killed in such a short time, that’s a war, not a “conflict”—has been overshadowed by the unrest and violence in the Ukraine. Now since that particular situation is coming to a close, Syria is once again gaining international attention. During that time world focus was on Ukraine, the Syrian civil war continued to rage, with Hezbollah apparently involved enough for Israel to actively and vigorously curtail its activities in receiving aid from the Bashar al-Assad government, though it has not taken sides in the civil war.
At first it was unclear if the Israeli struck inside Lebanon, home of the Hezbollah, its long-time enemy, or in Syria. Israel and Lebanon has had its own problems since as far back as the inception of Israel as a country in 1948. A strike within Lebanon’s borders would have made it a political necessity for Hezbollah to strike back at Israel. However, even though the Syrian-Lebanese borders are mostly mountainous and sometimes blurred into buffer zones, eyes and ears on the ground indicate that the strike did indeed occur within Syrian borders.
It would seem Israel is being careful in where it hits Hezbollah but not at all shy about hitting them. After all, Israel fought a vicious war with Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, so there is definitely no love lost between them. Currently Israel continues to make every effort to keep Hezbollah from acquiring sophisticated weapons, such as missiles capable of striking anywhere inside Israel.
The entire region is a powder keg with the Syrian war constantly threatening to spill over into Lebanon. The U.S. continue to be Israel’s staunchest allies and will likely go through great lengths to ensure the fledgling (by historical time) nation’s survival. If Hezbollah does indeed acquire these sophisticated weapons and starts directly attacking Israel, they will likely have bitten off far more than they could chew, as was illustrated by the response to the 9/11 attacks.
Israel continues to maintain a code of silence about its operations, but it is clear that it intends to hit Hezbollah strongholds, missile sites, training facilities and convoys as necessary to prevent them from gaining any kind of upper hand. That month-long war in 2006? It was fought to a stalemate.
At the end of the day, one has to wonder why Hezbollah is receiving Syrian aid when the Bashar government is having its own problems dealing with the rebels, or why Hezbollah is risking a two-front war with Israel and the Syrian rebels? One thing is clear: Israel is not putting up with Hezbollah.
Editorial by Lee Birdine