Please relax. Hassan Nasrallah has no intention to, interest in, or desire to embark on a military move vis-à-vis Israel. The opposite is true: He is in fact scared that Israel will attack him.
There are many reasons for this. The military techniques adopted by Hezbollah in the Second Lebanon War are today apparent to the IDF. Back then, Hezbollah was an invisible enemy that emerges for a few seconds, fires, and then disappears. The army had trouble contending with a well-fortified enemy that enjoys the home front’s sympathy and plenty of supplies.
However, today the IDF is aware of this modus operandi and is ready for it. Nasrallah knows this well.
Overall, the IDF in 2009 is different than the 2006 IDF in at least two strategic areas that change the entire picture, and Nasrallah realizes this. The advanced tanks that back in 2006 were vulnerable to rockets are now equipped with an active defense system. The system includes radar capable of detecting and eliminating anti-tank missiles. And when tanks are protected against all sorts of rockets, they can again decide the battle. The burden has turned into an asset.
Secondly, laser systems have been upgraded to an extremely high level in respect to firing bombs, marking targets, etc. Hezbollah has no answer for these new capabilities, and it knows it.
It is also clear to Nasrallah that at this time there is no legitimacy for a military move vis-à-vis Israel; not even among the Shiites. After he was defeated in the last elections, because of his rashness and arrogance in the war, he will be very careful not to repeat the same terrible mistake. After sustaining such a terrible blow form the IDF, Nasrallah has no urge to fight again.
Sophisticated, sly military force
Knowing how severe Israel’s revenge was, how many casualties he suffered, and what kind of destruction he brought upon Shiite villages, Nasrallah gambled and presented his defeat as though it was a victory, while hiding his losses. However, only a few people bought into this campaign of psychological warfare – that is, the Israelis.
Ever since then, Hezbollah’s and Nasrallah’s rhetoric no longer works. Nobody buys it in the Arab world, and this was proven by Egyptian President Mubarak, who dwarfed Nasrallah to his natural dimensions in the last conflict. The Israelis are also aware of it today. Our public opinion has matured and will no longer automatically buy into his overzealous statements.
Moreover, Israel was very scared by the Lebanon War, as the campaign was shifted into its own territory, in contradiction to our classic defense doctrine. Yet the fears abated, and we saw it during the Gaza War. Israel’s citizens realize that missiles may be fired at them for a limited time, and they will go into bomb shelters until the IDF can eliminate the threat. The terrible psychological effect we saw in the war three years ago will not be back.
The IDF proved itself in Gaza. A successful war that did not lead to an entanglement and ended quickly created deterrence among the ranks of Hamas, and the more dangerous enemy, Hezbollah. Israel is back to being a sophisticated and sly military force that must be feared. Meanwhile, the civilians used as human shields by Islamic terrorism did not curb the IDF’s abilities – the opposite is true in fact: The world is starting to wake up in the face of this crime and cynical use of such civilians.
Finally, Nasrallah is well familiar with the golden rule that “More is less.” He has already been burned several times. In case of war he may lose plenty, and perhaps even everything. The above-mentioned embarrassing secrets will be revealed to all, and it may turn out that he did not secure a divine war or victory, but rather, only self-destruction.
Indeed, Hezbollah’s deception in the last war may become apparent to everyone, and the organization may lose everything.
Nasrallah’s fear that the bluff of the last war will be completely exposed prevents him from even thinking about another confrontation with Israel. He is scared, and this is precisely what deterrence is all about.