When it rains, it pours in Lebanon. At least when it comes to violence, anyway. Just days after politics turned bloody in a car bomb that killed a former Lebanese diplomat and roughly two weeks after an Israeli soldier was killed by a Lebanese soldier, five rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon. The IDF Blog noted that Israel responded with artillery fire in the direction of the rocket attack.
But who was responsible? Was the rocket attack from the Hezbollah terror group, or perhaps from a rival trying to make them look bad? The Syrian civil war has already spilled into Lebanon as Hezbollah has crossed the border to back the Syrian regime. Now it could be affecting Israel as well.
You see, Hezbollah is fighting multiple fights here. Inside Lebanon, they want to maintain control over the country. The Daily Star reported that Hezbollah is being blamed for the recent car bomb that killed the opposition politician. Outside Lebanon, Hezbollah is fighting in Syria and has already battled rebels inside Lebanon.
So the possibility exists that rivals in either conflict—Lebanese opposition or Syrian rebels—might try to attack Israel to provoke a fight between the powerful Israeli military and the dangerous Hezbollah paramilitary.
In short, Muslim extremists that hate Israel and Hezbollah would be the most likely to benefit from another Israel-Lebanon conflict.
Without specifying from where the opposition is arising, Lebanon expert Dr. Jonathan Spyer of the Global Research in International Affairs Center tagged Muslim Sunnis—religious rivals to Shiite Islam Hezbollah—as the likely culprit behind Sunday’s rocket attack.
When asked who was to blame behind the rockets, Dr. Spyer said, “Sunnis, probably, trying to provoke a Hezbollah-Israel confrontation. But it’s not certain. It could of course be Hezbollah.”
Israel, to their credit, managed to shoot artillery in response without any initial reports of injuries or damage, according to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). UNIFIL is in charge of maintaining the ceasefire between the sides. The Lebanese rockets also didn’t cause any injuries—although the threat is severe.
“While no injuries were reported, the attack constitutes an unacceptable and blatant breach of Israel’s sovereignty,” said the IDF Blog. “Launching rockets from Lebanon into Israel jeapordizes thousands of civilian lives in the north, a reality no sovereign state would accept. The IDF maintains the right to self defense and will continue to operate accordingly.”
The danger underscores the need to stabilize Syria and Lebanon, as well as crack down on the illicit weapons in Lebanon. The conflict in other countries appears to be attempting to drag Israel into the middle of it. While the Israelis won’t do anything rash, there’s only so much they can take without being forced to respond to defend their own civilians. The rockets also serve as a reminder that UN peacekeepers are no guarantee that peace will be kept.
Here’s hoping the situation will calm back down again and not continue to escalate. In a scenario where Islamic terrorists could be shooting at Israel to provoke a war to get back at Lebanese terrorists, anything could happen.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, December 29, 2013)