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Hezbollah's three options on Israel

The Lebanese Shiite group has only a few options for responding to the Israeli strike against it in Syria and wants to be careful not to cause an expansion of the conflict onto Lebanese territory.
An Israeli soldier looks through binoculars towards the border with Lebanon from above the Israeli town of Metula January 20, 2015. Hezbollah supporters turned out in force on Monday to bury the son of the group's late commander, one of six fighters who died in an Israeli air strike in neighbouring Syria that also killed an Iranian general. Israel has not officially commented on the hit, but an Israeli security source confirmed to Reuters that Israel had carried it out. An Israeli defence official said esca
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Changing the rules of the game along Lebanon's southern border was the main challenge Hezbollah faced after the 2006 war with Israel. In the years since, the group has been touting deterrence as the main accomplishment of the war. Tit-for-tat strategies made the equation clear to all concerned, and both Israel and the Shiite Islamist group adhered to the de facto red lines. Since no one had any interest in igniting a new war, the Israeli-Lebanese border became the most stable area in a region prone to explosions. The Jan. 18 Israeli missile strike on the Golan Heights looks like it might alter the equation, although nothing in the immediate aftermath appears to have really changed.

The Israeli attack occurred outside Lebanese borders, but it represents the first major breach of the deterrence Hezbollah had established. The strike was something of a wake-up call to the Shiite organization, perhaps "distracted" by fighting in Syria for the past two years and advising allies in Iraq. The current situation leaves Hezbollah with few options, and all of them will leave a bitter taste.

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