EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: According to a recent Lebanese press report, a ceasefire agreement has been signed between Hezbollah and the insurgent group Fath al-Sham. This pivotal agreement may serve as an opportunity for both sides to widen the ceasefire into a full agreement that will end the Syrian civil war, which would enable Hezbollah to redirect its efforts towards Israel. Israel must address these developments and implement a new strategy to meet the new era.
Lebanon is well known for its ability to maintain a delicate balance between religious minorities and sects. The civil war of 1975-89 was resolved by the Taif Agreement, ending the painful ordeal. The current political arena in Lebanon presents a fragile equilibrium between Hezbollah (which promoted the election of the pro-Syrian former head of the Army, General Michel Aoun, to the presidency) and a multi-sect resistance defined as “The March 14th Alliance” (formed in 2005 and headed by Sa’ad Hariri, son of PM Rafiq Hariri, assassinated by Hezbollah).
When the Syrian civil war erupted, Hezbollah adapted to the new situation, viewing it as an arena in which to fight under Iranian patronage against ISIS alongside the pro-Assad militias. The Syrian conflict enabled the organization to send troops to complex war arenas, receive and use new weapons, and implement new fighting methods. As Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah has proclaimed in various speeches, these will be used against Israel in future showdowns.
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