How Israel can avoid war in the North

Israeli Minister of Defense Ehud Barak:

“The northern front is especially sensitive, but Israel has no interest in deterioration,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Saturday night. “The other side knows this and according to our assessments they too have no interest in deterioration.” — Jerusalem Post

So who is “the other side” ?

If he means Syria, he’s probably correct. They have the most to lose. But what is Iran’s interest? My thinking about Hezbollah is that it is a creature of Iran and doesn’t have independent volition. In that case, Nasrallah’s recent threats are Iranian threats.

Therefore, in order to avoid war, Israel needs to have a deterrent that is credible against Iran.

In simple terms, the Iranian leadership must believe that an attack on Israel by Iranian proxies will result in a counterstrike against Iran that will do unacceptable damage.

It doesn’t help to strike the proxies alone. For example, if Hezbollah attacks Israel, and Israel thinks that Syria will support Hezbollah by missile strikes, Israel will bomb missile installations in Syria to prevent their use. So Syria will think carefully about the consequences of such a path, and will only take it if the probability of success is very high.

But what is the cost to Iran of unleashing the Hezbollah proxy that she has nurtured? In 2006, it was only money.

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