Libmonster ID: BY-2415

TENSION AND DISCHARGE FACTORS

A. A. ERMAKOV

Candidate of Historical Sciences

A. A. KORNILOV

Doctor of Historical Sciences

Lobachevsky State University of Nizhny Novgorod

Keywords: Israel, Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, militants

An integral part of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the confrontation between the State of Israel and radical organizations represented by the Lebanese Hezbollah ("Party of Allah") and Palestinian groups. Over the past eight years, Tel Aviv has conducted a number of large-scale military operations against Palestinian radicals. Therefore, the armed confrontation between Israel and the radicals of the Gaza Strip in recent years has attracted much more attention than the confrontation between Hezbollah and Israel.

However, the "Party of Allah" for Israelis is a constant dangerous opponent.

The largest armed confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah in the twenty-first century remains the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Tel Aviv has achieved limited success in this conflict, while the Party of Allah has demonstrated its strengths in the field of armed confrontation. When preparing for combat operations, the leadership of this radical organization took into account the fundamental gap in military-technical equipment with its opponent.1

There are three main components of Hezbollah's success: a strong military infrastructure, missile and anti-tank arsenals.

HEZBOLLAH'S TWO FRONTS

After the Second Lebanon War, Hezbollah continued to build up its military capabilities. The "Party of Allah" was preparing for another round of armed confrontation with Tel Aviv. However, a new battlefield for Hezbollah turned out to be Syria 2, where it entered into hostilities with opponents of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

The participation of the "Party of Allah" in the Syrian conflict significantly influenced the dynamics of its confrontation with Israel. Thus, despite significant tensions between Tel Aviv and Hezbollah in 2015, a new large-scale military conflict between Israel and Lebanese radicals did not occur. It is highly undesirable for the" Party of Allah " to simultaneously provide military support to Damascus and conduct large-scale military operations against the Israelis.

Nevertheless, the "Party of Allah" has significant forces. If necessary, it can increase the number of its military formations to 80 thousand fighters.3

However, the greatest threat to Israel is the rocket arsenal of the "Party of Allah", which is several times larger than the rocket arsenal of the radicals in the Gaza Strip. According to data published in January 2015 by former National Security Adviser and head of the Israeli Government Yaakov Amidror, Hezbollah has about 150,000 missiles in its arsenal. Thousands of them can hit targets all over Israeli territory. ' 1

Israel is clearly aware of the threat posed by Hezbollah. "We must be prepared for a real blitz, when in the first few days Hezbollah will launch 1-1.5 thousand rockets daily. This can cause significant damage to infrastructure and lead to the death of hundreds of Israelis, " said Eyal Eisenberg, a former commander of the Israel Defense Forces. According to him, despite the rocket attacks on the Israeli rear, the outcome of the confrontation will largely depend on the steadfastness of the Israelis and the adequacy of missile defense measures. 5

Such an assessment of the situation deserves the closest attention. Despite Israel's ongoing development of a missile defense system (ABM), the Israeli rear remains vulnerable to rocket attacks. Thanks to its missile arsenal, Hezbollah is capable of "missile defense-

page 18

to beat " the Israeli missile defense system, massive rocket attacks can paralyze the daily life of almost the entire country.

The Israeli city of Sderot, located near the Gaza Strip, once experienced a similar "paralysis". "Today, life in Sderot has become unbearable," Shaul Mofaz, a former defense minister and former chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), said in February 2008. "I say this based on my military experience. It is impossible to function normally while up to 50 rockets are falling on the city every day, there is a real war going on and life is completely paralyzed. " 6

With regard to the armed confrontation between the Israelis and Hezbollah, one of the main questions is: what weapons and in what quantity can be used by the "Party of Allah" in a large-scale military conflict with Israel? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a visit to the Golan Heights in April 2016:: "When it is necessary to act, we act. We are also operating here, outside of our country, launching dozens of attacks to prevent Hezbollah from acquiring weapons that could upset the delicate balance."7. It is extremely important for Israel that the Lebanese radicals do not have weapons that can increase their military threat. There is no doubt that in the event of a new conflict, the Israeli Air Force will play an exceptional role, which has demonstrated the ability to successfully neutralize a significant part of the militants ' missile arsenal.8

For a long time, Tel Aviv has been systematically preparing for a new conflict with Hezbollah. Special attention is paid to the protection of the Israeli rear. For example, at the end of May - beginning of June 2015, Israel hosted the national exercise "Turning Point 15", during which the actions of military and civilian rescue services, as well as the population of the country, were practiced in the event of intense rocket attacks from Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The Turning Point exercise began to be held in Israel after the Second Lebanon War, 9 during which Hezbollah successfully put pressure on the Israeli rear with missile strikes. During the Turning Point 15 exercise, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "Protecting our home front is a systematic and very time-consuming job. We have been conducting exercises for several years. The results of the strength test that we passed during Operation Unbreakable Rock* showed that we have very good defense. But threats from our external environment are constantly increasing, including missiles of various types. " 10

Tel Aviv's main response to the growing missile threat is to develop a missile defense system. The main emphasis was placed on the accelerated commissioning of the batteries of the Iron Dome anti-missile system 11, which was successfully used during large-scale military operations against Palestinian radicals. The capabilities of the Iron Dome are designed to complement the latest anti-missile system "Magic Wand" 12, also known as"David's Sling". Thanks to the implementation of measures to protect the rear, the Israelis have expanded their room for maneuver in the confrontation with Hezbollah.

But in Tel Aviv, they understand that the real "test of strength" is still ahead. In a new large-scale military conflict with the "Party of Allah", much more pressure may be exerted on the Israeli rear than in the days of the Second Lebanon War in 2006 or Operation Unbreakable Rock in 2014. The Israelis are clearly in no hurry to pass such an "exam". And this is mainly due to an understanding of the amount of damage that the parties can inflict on each other.

However, we must not forget about what is happening in the zone of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

THREAT FROM THE SOUTH

In the Palestinian direction, the situation for Tel Aviv continues to be extremely difficult. In October 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu said at a meeting with the military that Israel has to act on several fronts: to maintain calm on the Temple Mount, in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli leader noted that the "fire" in any of these points can spread to other 13.

For Israel, Jerusalem, where the Temple Mount is located, and the West Bank represent a single "eastern front". While 2015 was one of the most peaceful years in terms of rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, 14 the situation on the eastern front has noticeably worsened, with Israelis facing a prolonged wave of violence known as the Al-Quds Intifada. 15 The situation is also complicated by tensions in the Gaza Strip between Hamas and other Islamists. 16.

When taking concrete steps against Lebanese radicals, the Israeli leadership is forced to take into account:


* Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.

page 19

the situation in the Palestinian direction as well. The Syrian conflict has negatively affected relations between Hamas and Hezbollah. "We have decided that the Syrian crisis is an internal matter of the country, and we have deliberately withdrawn from this conflict," said Khaled Mashaal, chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau. " ...As a result of our withdrawal from Syria, our relations have deteriorated not only with the Syrian government, Bashar al-Assad, but also with our Iranian friends, and with our Hezbollah brothers 17.

Despite the deterioration of relations, in the days of Operation Protective Edge, Hezbollah and its strategic ally Iran supported Hamas.18 This position was quite predictable, since the fate of the Palestinians is declared to be one of the central factors of Tehran's foreign policy 19.

Hamas and the" Party of Allah " remain allies in the confrontation with Israel. Therefore, Tel Aviv continues to face the threat of a two-front war with Palestinian and Lebanese radicals.

In the Gaza Strip, the hottest point in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Tel Aviv has to deal with two militarily powerful radical organizations at once. The first is Hamas, the second is Islamic Jihad, which has a long history of confrontation with Israel.20 Islamic Jihad has played and continues to play a prominent role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2012 and 2014. near the southern borders of Israel with the participation of militants of this organization, there were outbreaks of military tension that preceded the large-scale operations of the Israel Defense Forces "Pillar of Cloud "* and "Unbreakable Rock".

In the Palestinian arena, Islamic Jihad is a strategically important ally of Hamas against the Israelis. Both movements have the most powerful missile arsenals among Palestinian organizations. The missile threat to Israel from their side continues to increase. Almost a year after the end of Operation Protective Edge, Islamic Jihad claimed to be capable of firing rockets at the entire Israeli territory:" Now all Israeli cities are within range of our missiles. We have improved a number of characteristics of this type of weapon, including range and striking power. " 21

Only a new round of armed confrontation can show whether these words correspond to reality. However, there is no doubt that if Islamic Jihad is truly capable of hitting targets throughout its enemy's territory, then so is Hamas, as was revealed in the days of Operation Protective Edge.22

For Tel Aviv, the situation is further complicated by the claim of Palestinian radicals that they are going to launch offensive actions against Israel. "The future battle will begin outside of Gaza - in Nahal Oz and the rest of the settlements around the Strip," the Hamas military wing 23 said. These plans call for the creation of a new system of tunnels leading to Israeli territory, replacing the one that was destroyed earlier and during Operation Protective Edge.24

A successful implementation of the offensive strategy by the Palestinian militants would make it inevitable to evacuate the inhabitants of the Israeli territory bordering the Gaza Strip, which could weaken Tel Aviv's position in the field of information and psychological confrontation. "The evacuation itself is a moral victory for Hamas," said Sami Turjeman, a former commander of Israel's Southern Military District. "These campaigns test our resilience, and undermining the residents' sense of security is an important task for the militants. The media with the headlines "Residents leave settlements on the border with Gaza" will be a sign of victory for them."25

* * *

Thus, the situation in the Palestinian territories is one of the main factors determining the dynamics of the confrontation between Israel and the"Party of Allah". As long as an explosive situation persists in the Palestinian direction, Tel Aviv will refrain from a major military conflict with Hezbollah. While the Gaza radicals continue to improve their combat capabilities, bringing them closer to the fighting capabilities of the "Party of Allah", the price of a two-front war for Israelis is significantly increasing.

Undoubtedly, a war on two fronts, accompanied by a mass evacuation of the civilian population, when the entire Israeli territory would be under rocket attacks , is almost the last thing Tel Aviv would want to face.

In the long run, Israeli experts and decision makers will have to develop innovative security approaches that will allow them to respond to the asymmetric threats of two fronts. However, the enemy of Israel continues to improve its plans and capabilities. In the current conditions for Tel Aviv


* Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip in the fall of 2012.

page 20

the value of diplomatic bargaining and political decisions increases.

Israel is closely monitoring the development of the situation in Syria, where the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) group operates. On the Syrian front against the Islamic State (DAESH) group, personnel of Hezbollah's intelligence and sabotage units are being killed today, and this only strengthens the position of Israeli diplomacy.

The Israeli political leadership, which has taken a very restrained position on what is happening in Syria26, can use the deep involvement of the "Party of Allah" in the cause of saving the Bashar al-Assad regime for negotiations with the Russian Federation. Israel and Russia have coordinated and will continue to coordinate their actions on Syria, according to Israel's Transport and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz.27 Thus, today Moscow and Tel Aviv have additional "points of contact" for increasing bilateral cooperation.

Russian-Israeli cooperation may turn out to be a political lever for Tel Aviv (and, possibly, for Moscow, if it meets the interests of the Russian Federation), which will bind Hezbollah's activity against the Galilee and other parts of Israel for a significant period of time.

As for the threat to Israel from the radicals of the Gaza Strip, the position of Egypt, which is leading the fight against terrorism in the Sinai, remains important. 28 Egyptian President al-Sisi seeks to minimize terrorist threats to international tourism, maritime navigation through the Suez Canal, and his own regime. The Egyptian leader is interested in coordinating anti-terrorist efforts with Tel Aviv and Moscow. Cooperation with Russia will allow Egypt to obtain information on the latest methods of combating terrorism 29. King Abdullah II of Jordan is also interested in reducing threats.

Despite all the differences in the Middle East situation, cooperation between Russia, Israel, Jordan and Egypt is seen as a favorable factor in regional geopolitics and the expected detente.

-------------------------

Kornilov A. A., Ermakov A. A. 1 Osobennosti boevykh deistviyakh Armii oboronnogo Izraya protiv libanskoi organizatsii "Hezbollah" v asymmetrichnom konflikt 2006 g. [Features of combat actions of the Israel Defense Forces against the Lebanese organization "Hezbollah" in the asymmetric conflict of 2006]. Vestnik Nizhegorodskogo universiteta im. 2014. N 2(1), с. 308. (Kornilov А. А., Ermakov А. А. 2014. Osobennosti boevykh deistviy Armii oborony Izrailya protiv livanskoi organizatsii "Khezbolla" v asimmetrichnom konflikte 2006 g. // Vestnik Nizhegorodskogo universiteta im. N.I.Lobachevskogo. N 2(1) (in Russian)

2 For more information, see: Berenkova N. A. The Syrian War of Hezbollah / / Asia and Africa Today. 2015. N 1. (Berenkova N.A. 2015. Siriyskaya voina "Khezbolly" // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 1) (in Russian)

Ivanov S. 3 Vnutripoliticheskaya situatsiya v Libanevom [Internal political situation in Lebanon]. 2015. N 8, p. 36.

Amidror Y. 4 The Terrorist Defense Force // The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies - http://besacenter.org/uncategorized/terrorist-defense-force/

5 Home Front Commander: a new war with Hezbollah could take hundreds of lives - http://newsru.co.il/israel/01apr2015/eyal_a206.html

6 Shaul Mofaz: "We must not allow terrorists to dictate terms to us" - http://www.newsru.co.il/arch/mideast/28feb2008/mofaz401.html

7 Netanyahu during a visit to the Golan: "If it is necessary to join the battle, we will join" - http://www.newsru.co.il/israel/11apr2016/net_0010.html

Ermakov A. A. 8 The underground war of Hamas in the Gaza Strip / / Asia and Africa Today. 2015. N 3, p. 11. (Ermakov A. A. 2015. Podzemnaya voina KHAMAS v sektore Gaza // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 3) (in Russian)

9 "Turning point": National exercises begin in Israel - http://www.newsru.co.il/israel/31may2015/tochka_102.html

10 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the Home Front headquarters - http://www.newsru.co.il/israel/02jun2015/netanyahu_0016.html

Yershov O. 11 VVS i PVO Izraya [Israel's Air Force and Air Defense]. 2014. N 9, p. 64.

Konyshev V. N., Sergunin A. A. 12 The USA and the creation of missile defense systems in the Near and Middle East / / Asia and Africa Today. 2015. N 11, p. 22. (Konyshev V. N., Sergunin A. A. 2015. SSHA i sozdanie sistem PRO na Blizhnem i Srednem Vostoke // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 11) (in Russian)

13 Netanyahu heard a report on the readiness of the Southern District forces - http://www.newsru.co.il/israel/20oct2015/netanyahu_0014.html

14 Statistics of rocket attacks from Gaza: the quietest year in 13 years, Hamas is preparing for war -http://www.newsru.co.i1/mideast/01jan2016/gaza_108.html

15 For more information, see: Ermakov A. A., Ryzhov I. V. The "Al-Quds Intifada" and its place in the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation. 2016. N 2. (Ermakov А. А., Ryzhov I.V. 2016. "Intifada Al-Kudsa" i eyo mesto v palestino-izrailskom protivostoyanii // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 2) (in Russian)

16 Stepkin E. A. O politicheskom islame v Palestine [Information about Political Islam in Palestine]. Vestnik MGIMO-Universiteta. 2015. N 5, p. 170. (Styopkin E. A. 2015. О politicheskom islame v Palestine // Vestnik MGIMO-Universiteta. N 5) (in Russian)

17 HAMAS: Thanks to Putin, world politics has become more stable / / Palestinian Information Center - http://www.palestine-info.ru/ru/default.aspx7xyz-U6Qq7k%2BcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO% 2Bils7rCSri5x05KlG6%2FsxEb%2BDM07ZKZfaN2rNr%2BPqev56K14FdM3%2B8AKMd x50lAg7EorEQppmy81bomNCHsdjklErF6DBO8zQcSGK4J6KOuc0Ojw%3D

Berenkova N. A. 18 "Shiite Crescent" or "Security Arc": interfaith dimension of Middle Eastern Geopolitics / / Foreign Regional Studies: Problems of Theory and practice. N. Novgorod, UNN, 2015, p. 48.

19 Baranov A.V. [The Palestinian Front of the Islamic Revolution]. Izvestiya Saratovskogo universiteta. New ce-

page 21

ria. The History series. International relations. 2012. Vol. 12. Issue 1, pp. 90-91. (Baranov A.V. 2012. Palestinskii front islamskoi revolyutsii // Izvestiya Saratovskogo universiteta. Novaya seriya. Seriya Istoriya. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya. T. 12. Vyp. 1) (in Russian)

20 For more information, see: Khazanov A. "Islamic Jihad" / / Asia and Africa Today. 2007. N 5. (Khazanov А. 2007. "Islamskii dzhikhad" // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 5) (in Russian)

21 "Islamic Jihad" declares that all the cities of "Israel" are in the zone of the striking impact of its missiles / / Palestinian Information Center http://www.palestine-info.ru/ru/default.aspx7xyz-U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO% 2bils7rBtgsxYIhLvE52UebbMxQFHqiq3zp2PVClynMEDnWFiLTUW%2fOYwv8RNDFYw GkYFIOSmlYVV91oSwR3drpuZPMwU4eZ5dJQNyoLwlFROpfR0%3d

22 Results of Operation Unbreakable Rock: facts and figures - http://www.newsru.co.il/arch/israel/27aug2014/skala_105.html

23 "Brigades named after Shahid Izz ed-Din al-Qassam" announced the beginning of recruitment of young people in their ranks / / Palestinian Information Center - http://www.palestine-info.ru/ru/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO% 2bils7d%2fmptrml8wRGtaKjEYUzh411mOsF4pWe5w6x9PLmCjLX3JUfo47KcFD2lHGSQ lDw035C0rbzVtN4hRkD3Wo2LWu5qGFa02c0ygsXdlGUdBQ%3d

Perlov O. 24 Children of Tunnels, Children of Knives // The Institute for National Security Studies - http://www.inss.org.il/index.aspx?id=4538&articleid=11561

25 General Turgeman: "The power of Hamas in Gaza is in the interests of Israel" - http://www.newsru.co.il/mideast/12may2015/sami_a206.html

Sorokin A. S. 26] The position of the State of Israel in relation to the civil war in the Syrian Arab Republic. Vestnik Nizhegorodskogo universiteta im. 2013. N 5(3), с. 254 - 256. (Sorokin A.S. 2013. Pozitsiya Gosudarstva Izrail po otnosheniyu k grazhdanskoi voine v Siriyskoi Arabskoi Respublike // Vestnik Nizhegorodskogo universiteta im. N.I.Lobachevskogo. N 5(3) (in Russian)

27 Yisrael Katz on the transport revolution and the war in Syria. Интервью - http://www.newsru.co.il/israel/21mar2016/katz_int_701.html

28 For more information, see: Meshcherina K. V. "In the state of war": the fight against terrorism in Northern Sinai. 2015. N 12. (Meshcherina K.V. 2015. "V sostoyanii voiny": borba s terrorizmom v Severnom Sinae // Aziya i Afrika segodnya. N 12) (in Russian)

Nurhan al-Sheikh. 29 Egypt - Russia: from partnership to alliance. What prevents the two countries from reaching a new level of cooperation? // Asia and Africa today. 2016. N 3, p. 49.


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