Should a new war break out, Israel is determined to strike a devastating blow more quickly than it did during the last conflict, in which it failed in its objective of destroying Hizballah.
Israel has publicly warned that it would destroy Lebanese civilian infrastructure and that Syria, as Hizballah's armorer, would not be off-limits. Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hizballah — have deepened their alliance, raising the possibility of any one of those groups joining the fray should any of the others come under attack from Israel or the U.S. The potential triggers for a new round of hostilities have multiplied, as has the danger of them going off in sequence as a result of the ties between some of the key players.
Lebanon and Israel engaged in a violent cross-border battle during which five people were killed, sparking fears that tensions between the two countries could spiral out of control.
"The buildup in military forces and threats of an all-out war that would spare neither civilians nor civilian infrastructure, together with the worrisome prospect of its regionalization, are effectively deterring all sides." But while Hizballah and its regional backers, Syria and Iran, believe that the buildup in the Shi'ite militia's arsenal and capabilities is deterring Israel from launching attacks on any of them, Israel views the acquisition by Hizballah of a missile arsenal capable of raining destruction on Israeli cities as an intolerable threat. "As Hizballah's firepower grows," the Crisis Group notes, "so too does Israel's desire to tackle the problem before it is too late ... What is holding the current architecture in place is also what could rapidly bring it down."
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