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Is Hezbollah on the Rise?

by Dr. Kazmir

Is Hezbollah on the Rise?

11/14/2017 05:14 pm ET

Follow me on Twitter: @mk1157

The American Jewish Congress noted with concern the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri last weekend, citing fears over the growing influence of Iranian proxy, the terrorist Hezbollah group.

Tensions in the region have already begun to spiral, following the launch of a rocket at Riyadh from Yemen, which Saudi Arabia attributed to a “declaration of war” by Iran and Hezbollah. That the recall of its citizens from Lebanon by Saudi Arabia coincided with Hariri seeking refuge in Riyadh from where he announced his resignation, only further provoked fears of Saudi military action in Lebanon.

The resignation of the moderate Hariri seemed choreographed to isolate Hezbollah and its dangerous intentions of derailing Lebanese authorities, but it has instead fueled a culture of fear, instability and mistrust among Lebanon’s regional neighbors which only serves to strengthen Hezbollah’s hand.

Even more reason to worry if international powers cannot cooperate with local moderate forces to counter the combined force of Iran and Hezbollah, which would virtually guarantee the situation will spiral, increasing the likelihood of a clash with Israel and the additional spread of terror throughout the Middle East.

Israeli officials initially concluded that Hariri’s resignation was a clear sign of the combined power of Hezbollah and the Lebanese government operating in cahoots with Iran. Despite Israeli distrust of Iran and Hezbollah, however, the administration remains unconvinced that Saudi Arabia alone is capable of curtailing Iranian influence and coordinating an allied response to deescalate tensions across the region.

While publicly neither Israel nor Hezbollah has expressed an appetite for renewed military action, cabinet minister Naftali Bennett says Israel will be taking a “cautious” approach to recent developments, “to prevent an unnecessary escalation in the region.”

Meanwhile, much of the focus will be on Saudi Arabia to make the next move in the ongoing power play, with an economic boycott against Qatar being the most likely option. With Hezbollah able to draw on Iran for financial backing though, such sanctions are unlikely to bring the terrorist group to its knees.

We have seen the results of aggressive wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and we need to make sure that does not happen again. We must strive for peace in the region, and to get that, we need cooperation on an international level to stomp out terrorist groups and avoid complete destabilization of the Middle East.

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