November 3, 2023
The Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah will not hesitate to intensify its fight with Israel. “An escalation depends on two things: the evolution of the situation in Gaza and the behavior of the Zionist enemy towards Lebanon,” the group’s leader said in a speech on Friday.
Thousands of people gathered in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Friday afternoon to listen to a speech by Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Shia movement Hezbollah. It was no surprise that the speech provoked so much interest. It was the first time since the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian movement Hamas flared up on October 7 that Nasrallah would publicly comment on the issue.
The international community also looked forward to the speech with interest. One question dominated in the run-up to the event: would the leader of Hezbollah call on his followers to open a second major front against Israel from southern Lebanon to support Hamas’ cronies, even if that demarche could spill over into the war in the Gaza Strip? to other countries in the region?
Since Hamas’ attack on Israel reignited the conflict between the two, tensions in the border area between the Jewish state and Lebanon have also risen considerably. Over the past four weeks, Hezbollah fighters have been bombarding Israeli military targets just across the border. The Israeli army responded by targeting positions of the Shiite movement.
Until now, the tactic of the Shiite group – which was founded in 1982 by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards – seemed to be to use pinpricks to force the Israeli army to spread its attention across several potential fronts. “With these actions, Hezbollah mainly wanted to keep sufficient Israeli troops away from the front in Gaza,” Michael Young, an expert at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, told the French news agency AFP.
In his video message, Nasrallah seemed to confirm that analysis. “With the Lebanese Front we tried to draw a third of the Israeli army to our border. Our operations have created fear among the enemy’s political and military leadership and among the Americans. They fear that the Lebanese front could lead to an escalation and a wider war. That is also possible. The enemy must not forget that. An Israeli offensive against Lebanon would be the biggest mistake.”
The leader of Hezbollah did not rule out that his group will soon increase its actions against Israeli targets. “For those who want Hezbollah to engage in open war, what is currently happening at the border may seem like a moderate operation. But that is not it. And we won’t stop there either,” he said.
According to Nasrallah, such an escalation of the battle between Hezbollah and Israel depends on two factors: the evolution of the situation in the Gaza Strip and the behavior of the ‘Zionist enemy’ towards Lebanon. ‘All options are open on our front. We are studying all scenarios and we can scale up at any time.’
According to Nasrallah, the Jewish state has only itself to blame for the fact that the situation in and around Israel has escalated so sharply in just a few weeks. Four things facilitated Hamas’s attack on Israel: the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli cells, the status of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem, the nearly 20-year blockade of Gaza, and the situation in the West Bank, where Jewish settlers attack Palestinians almost every day.”
The Hezbollah leader emphasized that the October 7 operation was “100 percent a Palestinian decision.” ‘Nobody knew about the plan, not even the Iranian regime. It was so successful precisely because the operation was prepared in the utmost secrecy.’ According to Nasrallah, Israel is pursuing goals in Gaza that it can never achieve, “such as the elimination of Hamas.”
The United States can stop the war in Gaza.
After dismissing Israel, Nasrallah turned his sights on the United States. ‘They are primarily responsible for all the massacres of this and last century, in Hiroshima, in Palestine, in our entire region. That is why the Islamic resistance in Iraq and Syria is attacking American positions.’
The leader of Hezbollah says he is not impressed by the additional aircraft carriers and fighter planes that the Americans have sent to the Mediterranean region in recent days. But according to him, Washington can play a key role in determining the outcome of the conflict. “The US can stop the war in Gaza,” Nasrallah said, concluding his nearly 1.5-hour video message.