October 31, 2023

Why Iran Would Likely Keep Hezbollah in Check

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by Farhad Rezaei, Senior Research Fellow

Many observers suggest that an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, in response to the Hamas terrorist attack would inevitably draw Iran and Hezbollah into the conflict. But what if Iran and Hezbollah were actually more likely to sit this one out?

On October 7, Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group, alongside other terrorist group, the Islamic Jihad (PIJ), carried out a coordinated attack against Israel which resulted in the death of around 1,400 Israelis. The vast majority of victims were civilians, subjected to a barrage of rockets and other forms of violence. This unprecedented attack has left Israel in a state of shock but also with the resolve to end Hamas ability to threaten Israel again. In response, Israeli leaders have been planning a major ground incursion into Gaza aimed at eliminating the entire terror infrastructure of Hamas and removing it from power.

This raises the question of whether a potential Israeli large-scale ground invasion of Gaza will trigger a response from Iran and its terror proxy, Hezbollah in Lebanon.

To be sure, a large-scale ground offensive of Gaza to destroy Hamas will be bloody. But Israeli decision makers believe that the potential costs of a ground invasion are outweighed by the need to avoid a next devastating war with Hamas.