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The Gaza war is testing Hezbollah’s strategic capability


Hezbollah knows escalation would hurt Iran and erode its support in Lebanon, forcing it to prioritize survival over any effort to exploit the situation.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared on 25 February that Israel ‘will keep attacking Lebanon regardless of what happens in Gaza’ – and indeed mutual strikes by Israel and Hezbollah are continuing. 

Fighting between the two sides began in the aftermath of Hamas’ assault on Israel on 7 October, with Hezbollah being the first to attack Israel on another front.

Although Hezbollah has celebrated some military successes over the past four months, the war in Gaza is testing its strategic capability. Despite being the instigator of the fight, Hezbollah is not setting the agenda. Its main priority is survival rather than victory. 

Over the last four months, Hezbollah has been trying to balance retaining its credibility as a major actor in the Iran-backed ‘axis of resistance’ with steering clear of escalation with Israel. This is because Hezbollah knows that there is little appetite for all-out war among its supporters – and also because such a war would end up hurting, not serving, Iran.

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