Lebanon and Israel: The Forgotten Front?
April 10, 2013
9:15 am -
Analysis from Brig. Gen. Michael Herzog, Tony Badran, and Hussain Abdul-Hussain
While the 2006 U.N.-brokered truce between Lebanon and Israel has largely held, experts are assessing whether Hezbollah’s mounting military presence throughout Lebanon will result in renewed conflict, jeopardizing the fragile balance between the two neighbors and raising new questions about the future of the region. What does Hezbollah’s increasing arsenal of rockets and missiles—which some estimates say is 10 times its capability in 2006—mean for the Lebanese people, particularly the Shia? Are Israel’s recent movements, including the deployment of a third Iron Dome anti-rocket battery on its northern front, a signal of imminent activity? What do other regional stakeholders, including Iran, stand to gain from a heating up of this conflict? What should be the U.S. posture toward these developments?
Michael Herzog, a retired brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), is the Israel-based Milton Fine International Fellow of The Washington Institute. Over the last decade General Herzog has held senior positions in the office of Israel’s minister of defense under ministers Ehud Barak, Amir Peretz, Shaul Mofaz, and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. From September 2006 to October 2009, General Herzog served as chief of staff to Israel’s minister of defense. From November 2001 to July 2004, he served as senior military aide (“military secretary”) to the Israeli minister of defense. In that capacity, he acted as the liaison between the defense minister and the IDF, prime minister’s office, intelligence community, and Israeli defense establishment. Since 1993, General Herzog has played a key role in the Arab-Israeli peace process, participating in most of Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Syrians, including the Wye Plantation summit, Camp David summit, the Taba negotiations, and the Annapolis summit and subsequent negotiations.
Tony Badran is a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies where his research includes U.S. policy towards Lebanon and Syria; Hezbollah’s international activities; Syrian foreign policy, with a focus on its regional relations with Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel and Lebanon; Syria’s ties to militant non-state actors and terrorist groups; and Syria’s international relations, especially with Russia and the EU. Mr. Badran’s other research has dealt with Syria’s use of information warfare, as well as with the Syrian opposition movement. Mr. Badran’s writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, ForeignAffairs.com, The Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy.com and The Jerusalem Post, among others. Mr. Badran also publishes a weekly column on Nowlebanon.com.
Hussain Abdul-Hussain is the Washington Bureau Chief of Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai. He worked for Congress-funded Arabic TV, Alhurra, as news producer. Prior to joining Alhurra, he worked as reporter and later editor for Beirut’s The Daily Star. He published “A Quest for Democracy in a World of Realism: The Cases of Lebanon and Iran” (2009) and “Hezbollah: The State within a State” (2008) by the Hudson Institute. He has contributed articles to the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The International Herald Tribune, the USA Today and the Baltimore Sun and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC and the BBC. He often contributes editorials to Arabic daily Annahar of Lebanon, Egypt’s Al-Ahram Weekly Supplement as well as Al-Ahram’s Democracy Periodical, and Abu Dhabi’s The National. He runs News from Washington, and its sister site in Arabic.