Why Is Hizballah Escalating Tensions with Israel?

In the past few months, the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hizballah has issued threats against the Jewish state, set up tents on the Israeli side of the border, and even allowed Hamas to launch attacks into Israel from South Lebanon. Hanin Ghaddar, Assaf Orion, and Matthew Levitt examine the guerrilla organization’s motivations, which include a desire to divert attention from its misrule of Lebanon, a perception of Israeli weakness, and urging from its patrons in Tehran. Above all, argues Levitt, Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah appears to have concluded that his massive rocket arsenal has successfully deterred the IDF from significant retaliation. (Moderated by Robert Satloff. Video, 75 minutes.)

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Hizballah, Israeli Security, Lebanon

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy