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Scenarios of the Israeli-Lebanon war

Jul 08,2024 - Last updated at Jul 08,2024

Tensions between Israel and Lebanon may escalate into an open military confrontation this year, as several local and regional factors loom on the horizon that could spark conflict. The possible scenarios for this war vary based on political and military developments in the region. Below we present an analysis of four main scenarios.

The first scenario: A short-term and limited confrontation. The confrontation in this scenario begins with a limited confrontation between Israeli forces and Lebanese Hizbollah on the southern border of Lebanon. This confrontation may erupt because of a cross-border attack or an Israeli military operation targeting Hizbollah positions inside Lebanon. In this context, Israel will try to avoid expanding the scope of the war and focus on achieving limited military objectives, such as destroying weapons depots and missile launch sites. For its part, Hizbollah may respond in a limited way to Israeli attacks to avoid further escalation.

The second scenario: Medium-term escalation. In this scenario, the confrontation escalates to include broader military operations. The conflict may expand to include intense air and naval strikes against Hizbollah positions and infrastructure in Lebanon, while Hizbollah targets infrastructure inside Israel. The IDF will focus on weakening Hizbollah's ability to launch large-scale missile attacks on Israeli cities. Israeli strikes may also target Hizbollah's communications and command and control networks. In return, Hizbollah will respond with missiles at Israeli cities and towns, which could cause significant loss of life and property and destruction of infrastructure on both sides.

Ther third scenario: An all-out war. The conflict in this scenario turns into an all-out war between Israel and Hizbollah, with Israeli ground forces intervening in southern Lebanon in an attempt to destroy Hizbollah's combat capabilities once and for all. Military operations may include large-scale land, air and sea attacks, with a focus on destroying Hizbollah tunnels, bunkers and command positions. The Israeli army will face fierce resistance from Hizbollah fighters, which will lead to heavy casualties on both sides. In addition, critical infrastructure in both Lebanon and Israel will be targeted, increasing the scale of destruction and human suffering. In this scenario, other countries may intervene in the conflict, whether with logistical or diplomatic support for one side, further complicating the conflict.

The fourth scenario: Political solution. In this scenario, the parties concerned with the war between Lebanon and Israel agree to enter into negotiations with international mediation, such as the United Nations or influential countries such as France and the United States, with the aim of achieving a comprehensive solution that includes stopping the war on Gaza. Negotiations begin with a mutual ceasefire on all fronts and a commitment to non-escalation.

Joint committees are formed to discuss controversial issues, such as the demilitarisation of border areas and the reconstruction of damaged areas in Lebanon and Gaza. International mediation seeks to provide economic incentives and support for reconstruction, with security guarantees for both sides. Concrete implementation steps include exchanging prisoners and allowing humanitarian access.

By building confidence through these actions, a lasting peace can be achieved that enhances stability in the region. This scenario aims to end the conflicts through mutual concessions and compromises, thus contributing to achieving long-term stability in Lebanon and Gaza.

But there are factors influencing these scenarios, including the fact that the position of regional and international countries will greatly influence the course of the war. Israel may receive support from the United States and other Western countries, while Hizbollah may receive support from Iran and the strength of Iran's arms in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

The fragile political and economic situation in Lebanon will also affect the country's ability to withstand a protracted conflict. The outbreak of war may increase internal divisions and worsen humanitarian and economic conditions.

The major powers will try to intervene diplomatically to stop the escalation and prevent the outbreak of an all-out war. Diplomatic efforts may contribute to reaching a ceasefire before the conflict escalates further.

The level of military preparedness of both parties will affect the course of the war, and Israel will rely on its military and technological superiority, while Hizbollah will rely on guerrilla warfare tactics and launch unconventional missile attacks.

However, the war will cause widespread destruction of the infrastructure in Lebanon, and also in Israel as a result of mutual destruction, and this will increase the suffering of the Lebanese and Israeli people alike.

The conflict will result in significant loss of life among civilians and military personnel on both sides. The war will also lead to a further deterioration of the economic situation in Lebanon, and will cost Israel significant resources, which will negatively affect its economy.

The war may lead to internal political changes in Lebanon and Israel, with escalating calls for regime or government change, and may also affect the political scene in Israel.

The possibility of war between Israel and Lebanon in 2024 remains based on current factors. Scenarios vary from limited confrontation to all-out war to a political solution, with devastating effects on both sides. Diplomatic efforts and internal and regional conditions remain decisive factors in determining the course of the conflict and its outcomes.

This writer believes that the scenario of a political solution depends on the parties’ commitment to effective international dialogue and mediation, to stop the permanent war on Gaza. Providing economic incentives and support for reconstruction, along with security guarantees and prisoner exchange, enhances the chances of successful negotiations and achieving lasting peace, which contributes to the stability of the region and ending multiple conflicts.


Hasan Dajah is professor of strategic studies at Al Hussein Bin Talal University


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