Avoiding War in the Middle East Could Begin in Lebanon: A Scenario
Board of Contributors
MIN READSep 27, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Israeli military vehicles burn after a Hezbollah missile attack in the disputed Shebaa Farms area of southern Lebanon in January 2015. Hezbollah uses Israel's occupation of Shebaa Farms as a pretext to keep its arsenal, claiming its weapons are needed to liberate the area.
(MARUF KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Israel's new government, whatever form it ultimately takes, can move toward ending one war right now without firing a shot. At a stroke, Israel has only to offer to withdraw from a mere 5,000 acres of scrub that U.N. mediator Terje Roed-Larsen once called "a worthless piece of land." In this sequence of events, Israel's war with Hezbollah, which has brought it nothing but grief since its 1982 invasion of Lebanon, would be over. And there would be a bonus for Israel: Iran would lose the strategic threat of thousands of Hezbollah rockets pointed at Israeli cities. Deft diplomacy could then dismantle, one by one, other areas of confrontation between Iran and its adversaries -- among them Iran's nuclear program, the Yemen war and U.S. sanctions against Iran -- that threaten to engulf the United States in a regional war.
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