On Sunday, the IDF killed four guerrillas attempting to plant explosives near one of its observation posts along the border with Syria. The next night, Israeli aircraft retaliated by striking several Syrian military targets. The exchange was one of several in the past two weeks, as Iran-backed militias, Hizballah foremost among them, have been trying to exact revenge on the Jewish state for killing one of their operatives. Meanwhile a large explosion—apparently not caused by Israel—shook Beirut. Benny Avni writes:
Beirut’s mid-20th century reputation as “Paris of the Mideast” is long forgotten. . . . Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his cronies get rich while inflation is rampant, social services are non-existent, and few can afford basic necessities. Coronavirus casualties are on the rise. A mysterious, deadly mega-explosion Tuesday at the Beirut port added to the feeling that no one is in charge. Worse: Lebanon has long been [controlled] by the Iranian puppet organization Hizballah, the country’s true power and the only decider on national security matters.
Hizballah gradually took over after its last all-out war with Israel, in 2006. Hassan Nasrallah, the terror organization’s long-time chief, [implicitly] admitted afterwards he wouldn’t have started that losing battle. Yet he managed to convince the entire Arab world he’d won it. That rhetorical victory, and some ruthless maneuvering, including deadly attacks on top political rivals, made him Lebanon’s most powerful political player.
[Today] Nasrallah intends to deliver a speech about the organization’s next moves. He may eye August 7, when a United Nations-mandated tribunal is expected to issue a final verdict on the 2004 assassination of Rafik Hariri, the former prime minister and father of the current one. The tribunal has named only four suspects, all Hizballah members.
Nasrallah may be tempted to direct the attention elsewhere—in speech, and perhaps in deed, in the form of raising border tensions, as well. If Hizballah launches a rocket attack [against Israel], the entire country [will be in its] rocket range. . . . Yet, if past is prologue, the worst pain will surely be inflicted on the Lebanese people.
Read more on New York Sun: https://www.nysun.com/foreign/beirut-in-the-dark-as-lebanon-lurches-toward-new/91211/