13/08/2010

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon

The clash between Lebanon and Israel was to be expected, as announced by the report just published by the International Crisis Group the day before the incident between the two countries last week. The report highlights the explosive situation in Lebanon, located at the intersection of regional fault lines.

Some may indeed be surprised by the calm between Israel and Lebanon since the end of the war between Hezbollah and the IDF during the summer of 2006. This quiet period is a surface hiding a situation under high tension between the two countries. Hezbollah has continued to rearm for four years, thanks to Iranian support, and no action is taken by the Lebanese government to limit its ambitions.

For two years, the Israeli spy cases discovered in Lebanon are multiplying. Recently, a network that has infiltrated the public telephone company was dismantled. And this week a former general of the Lebanese army, Fayez Karam, part of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) of General Aoun, has been accused of collaborating with the Jewish state.

Finally, while the Special Court of the United Nations for Lebanon is preparing to charge members of Hezbollah according to some sources, the leader of the party of God, Hassan Nasrallah, said to have evidences of Israel’s involvement in the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The situation is tense, and the potential for conflict is real. Last week, the « tree war  » did not happen thanks to a strong intervention of international diplomacies. But the tension has not been reduced, however. At the slightest spark, the Israeli-Lebanese border could erupt into violence. According to the ICG report, the solution lies in a revival of peace talks between Israel and Syria, and then the establishment of peace negotiations between Israel and Lebanon. The intervention of the United States and the Europeans in this sense is therefore essential at this point. As for the United Nations, it is imperative that they reinforce the implementation of resolution 1701.

Nathalie Janne d’Othée