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Hezbollah and Israel: Between Deterrence and Deterioration

Is deterrence unraveling and a full-blown conflagration inevitable? Listen to the ‘Decision Points’ podcast on this critical issue.

In this May 15, 2021 file photo, Hezbollah fighters attend the funeral procession of their comrade Mohammed Tahhan who was shot dead on Friday by Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border, in the southern village of Adloun, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)
In this May 15, 2021 file photo, Hezbollah fighters attend the funeral procession of their comrade Mohammed Tahhan who was shot dead on Friday by Israeli forces along the Lebanon-Israel border, in the southern village of Adloun, Lebanon. (AP Photo/Mohammed Zaatari, File)

Since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Israel and Hezbollah have not engaged in major hostilities. There has been a mutual deterrence whereby Israel and Hezbollah avert all-out war. However, this uneasy truce is weakening.

Today, Lebanon is facing a dire economic and political crisis. Moreover, the development of the precision-guided munition (PGM) program persists as Hezbollah seeks to convert some of its estimated 140,000 rockets into accurate missiles, a serious threat for Israel. Moreover, Hezbollah has fired anti-aircraft weapons at Israel from Syria as the organization seeks to support Iran’s presence there. Is deterrence unraveling and is a full-blown conflagration inevitable?

Host David Makovsky discusses this major decision point with Hanin Ghaddar, David Schenker, and Amos Gilead.

Hanin Ghaddar is the Friedmann Fellow at The Washington Institute’s Geduld Program on Arab Politics, where she focuses on Shia politics throughout the Levant. Prior to the Washington Institute, she served as the longtime managing editor of Lebanon’s NOW news website, where she shed light on the evolution of Hezbollah in Lebanon’s political system and Iran’s growing influence throughout the region.

David Schenker is the Taube Senior Fellow at The Washington Institute. David served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs through January 2021.

Amos Gilead dedicated most of his military career to the Military Intelligence Corps. As Chief of the Intelligence Research and Analysis Division, General Gilead was responsible for producing the national intelligence assessment and national strategic (political and military) production and analysis. Currently, he teaches security and intelligence studies at IDC Herzliya’s Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy.

Audio clips from C-SPAN “Israeli Prime Minister Remarks at U.N. General Assembly”

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“Decision Points” is a Washington Institute podcast on key moments in Israel’s history and present. The first season focused on the history of U.S. Israel relations and the second season focused on key Israeli and Arab leaders. The third season focuses on Israel’s toughest contemporary policy dilemmas.

The host, David Makovsky, is the Ziegler Distinguished Fellow in The Washington Institute’s Irwin Levy Family Program on the U.S.-Israel Strategic Relationship and director of the Koret Project on Arab-Israel Relations. He is a former senior advisor to the U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations, as well as a sought-after expert in U.S.-Israel diplomatic relations and territorial solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Guests include Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.; Natan Sharansky, a human rights activist and former Israeli government minister; David Petraeus, former CIA Director; and Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister.

The podcast is both a history lesson and an exploration of contemporary policy decisions impacting Israel, the United States, and the Middle East at large.

Subscribe to “Decision Points” on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you listen.

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