Skip to main content

The Israel-Hezbollah Shadow War

Israel and Hezbollah prefer a shadow war of terror and assassination rather than disturbing the uneasy truce on the Israel-Lebanon border, writes Ali Hashem.
A child waves a Hezbollah flag as she holds pictures of martyrs as Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters during a rally to commemorate Martyrs' Day in Beirut, February 16, 2013.  REUTERS/Sharif Karim (LEBANON - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR3DVC2

Five years ago, when Hezbollah's military commander Imad Mughniyah was assassinated in Damascus, fingers were quickly pointed toward Israel. The group's secretary-general, Hassan Nasrallah, promised to launch an open war on Israel to avenge his slain comrade. Everyone was worried the blood of the most wanted Hezbollah member might ignite a regional conflict. This never happened, and borders separating Israeli forces and Hezbollah guerillas, the usual arena for their hot skirmishes and battles, preserved its calmness. Both chose to fight another kind of war, a worldwide shadow war.

Before the assassination of Imad Mughniyah there were suggestions that he was the head of Hezbollah's foreign operations apparatus. He was accused of perpetuating attacks on Israeli and American interests in Argentine, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus and other countries, what qualified him to top the FBI most-wanted list till September 11, 2011.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.