Sun 12 Nov 2023 4:23 pm - Jerusalem Time

Israeli Press| Nasrallah determined the balance of deterrence that is proportional to the scale of confrontation with Israel

By Zvi Barel

“Pay attention to what is happening on the field, not to what we say,” this is what Hassan Nasrallah suggested to his listeners in Israel, in the Middle East, and in Washington, at the end of a speech filled with Qur’anic verses and rhetoric, as usual, and many attacks on Israel. A week after his previous speech, the first since the beginning of the war; Nasrallah appears to have absorbed the criticism directed at him over the party's limited scope of operations against Israel, his meager commitments to "the unity of the arenas," and Hamas's disappointment.

This time, from his position as a commentator, he devoted an important part to the new term he coined, “Support Front.” He praised the Houthis' decision to use missiles and drones against Israel, and in his view, the political achievement lies in the fact that for the first time, a country outside the "axis of resistance" is actually participating in the battle against Israel. Syria, "despite its 'difficult' situation, participated by allowing party forces to operate from its territory against Israel, and the Shiite militias attacking American targets make it clear who the real enemy is, and of course, Iran, 'without which there is no resistance.'" Which finances and arms the resistance. “In the past, we hid this, but today, we talk about it with our mouths full.”

All of these things together create what he calls a “support front,” a lesser term than “empathy,” which he used in his previous speech, but without full military intervention. 

But the Palestinians in Gaza did not obtain pledges, or they felt that Nasrallah intends to change the equation he has established so far, according to which the party moves and responds to any attack on Lebanese civilians. Nasrallah, who seemed to be in the process of presenting accounts before a critical committee, went into details, and stated that for the first time, a Burkan missile had been brought into the arena; He said, "We returned to using Katyushas," helicopters, and the party's drones entered Israeli territory more than once a day...

On Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian warned his Qatari counterpart, Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman II, by phone that “in light of the intensity of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, the expansion of the war will be inevitable.” His words were interpreted as a threat that Iran would join the battle directly. A short time later, clarification came from the Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, in an interview with CNN, in which he explained that Iran was not the one that would expand the war, and that “its expansion, simply, is not ruled out.”

It seems that so far, these are the directives guiding Hezbollah: The confrontation between Israel and the party must maintain “the borders of a specific region,” not force Iran to enter the battle itself, which could lead to a direct confrontation with the United States. This is a delicate and fragile dividing line that forces Israel and Hezbollah to engage in a battle of precise and calculated mutual responses. Iran is not the only one that wants to maintain a declared position that it is not the one dictating their steps to Hezbollah or Hamas. Rather, the United States also wants to remain on the “support front” and hold Israel’s hand firmly so as not to drag it into a regional confrontation.

Thus, a new and more extensive deterrence equation emerged. It is not limited to the borders between Israel and Lebanon, and between the Israeli army and Hezbollah. Rather, it pits the most powerful superpower in the world against Iran over a problem that should never have concerned Washington. The potential confrontation was planned only if Iran possessed a nuclear weapon, and not because of the development of a local conflict, no matter how tragic and cruel.

Saudi Arabia is trying to curb the conventional Iranian threat that could spark a regional war. The emergency Arab-Islamic summit, which was held in Riyadh yesterday, played an important role in advancing this endeavor. For the Palestinians, the summit is useless. Dozens of such summits have been held in the past and were subject to severe criticism for “Arab impotence.”

The fact that this summit was held a month after the war indicates the gap between apparent solidarity and willingness to take practical steps, and this is not new. Initially, it was planned to hold two summits, one for the Arab League countries, and then a summit of Islamic countries. In a wise move, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided to combine the two summits into one summit, which was attended for the first time, since the resumption of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, by Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, whose speech, as was expected, was full of condemnations of Israel and the United States, and included far-reaching demands. , such as boycotting Israel and arming the “resistance,” but Saudi sponsorship and the position presented by Crown Prince Bin Salman in his short speech are supposed to bind Iran, which is employing intense diplomatic efforts to restore its relations with the Arab countries in the region.

The decisions taken by the summit included 31 items, including demanding an immediate ceasefire, stopping arms shipments to Israel, calling on the Security Council to condemn the destruction of hospitals in the Gaza Strip, lifting the siege and opening humanitarian aid channels, and turning to the international community to work to stop the war and release all prisoners. detainees and civilians, and other provisions relating to the international legal treatment of “war crimes” committed by Israel.

The resolutions also included two important clauses that talk about a future political solution: Clause 28, which stresses that the Palestine Liberation Organization is the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and that all other Palestinian factions must unite within its framework, and Clause 30, which calls for holding an international peace conference in “Soon." This means that "Hamas" and the other resistance movements do not represent the Palestinians. It is true that this clause is not new and was previously adopted 50 years ago, but at a time when "Hamas" is waging a war against Israel, this clause seems important because it ignores its existence. 

In any case, Bin Salman, along with the leaders of Egypt, Qatar, and Jordan, succeeded in preventing important practical decisions. No to boycott Israel, nor to prevent Israeli aircraft from crossing the skies of Arab countries, nor to call on Arab countries and others to sever their relations with Israel. The request was previously discussed in the meetings of Arab foreign ministers before the summit. These demands do not only seek to reconcile the Arab and Islamic poles, but also between what the United States can accept and the hard-line positions presented by the leaders of some Arab countries. 

Iran will be forced to make its decision: will it be satisfied with the common denominator presented by the summit, under the inspiration of Bin Salman, or will it move independently, after recording a political achievement through its attendance at an Arab forum, and not just an Islamic one?


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Israeli Press| Nasrallah determined the balance of deterrence that is proportional to the scale of confrontation with Israel