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From War to Deterrence?: Israel-Hezbollah Conflict Since 2006

Paperback - 03 April 2015
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Over the last 7 years, the border between Israel and Lebanon has remained quiet. Against all odds, in a Middle East experiencing tremendous challenges, Israel and Hezbollah did not trigger a new conflict. To understand this paradox, the monograph explores the mechanisms of deterrence in the competition between both actors. Based on original materials, the author underlines the recent doctrinal innovations on both sides that engendered strategic stability in the area and he ventures thoughts on potential evolutions in the near future. The findings of this monograph have implications for both scholars and practitioners. First, the history of Israel-Hezbollah competition since the 2006 war is a revealing case on the making of a deterrence system between two adversaries. It highlights the role of arms race--both offensive and defensive means--to create a kind of "balance of terror," as well as the importance of public messages and declaratory policies as seen through the Israeli Dahya concept or Hezbollah's propaganda.

Additionally, the stand-off between Israel and Hezbollah reached this level only through specific measures and conditions that can be reversed in the future. In particular, exogenous factors such as the unraveling of the Syrian civil war or the developments of the Iranian nuclear issue can jeopardize the equilibrium. This also matters for the practitioners in the U.S. national security community. This monograph ventured, in particular, to explain the potential ramifications of the crisis in Syria and the Iranian conundrum over the Israel-Hezbollah struggle. The current and future role of missiles and rockets in Hezbollah's strategic culture gives an important meaning to American-Israeli cooperation in the field of missile defense system.

If a conflict was to occur again in the Levant, given the readiness of both parties, it is likely to be wider in its scale than the 2006 war. This is the very reason why the U.S. Government needs to be fully aware of the inner logic of this conflict, in order if necessary to rapidly identify the ways to deescalate the latter.

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