Proxy war in Lebanon? No adversary vs Iran

Difficult to see a proxy war in Lebanon with Hezbollah and Iran having no enemy. They can only hope that Israel would be stupid enough to be the “proxy” since that would cement Iran and Hezbollah’s control over Lebanon and with it legitimize much of Iran’s support for Syria in the process. Also few in Israel are interested in confronting Hezbollah, the risks just are too significant and the gains difficult to define: dislodging Hezbollah is impossible because Hezbollah has such strategic depth now into Syria, Iraq and Iran now and are, in a strategic sense, an arm of the Iranian IRGC. Even if Hezbollah could be driven out of Lebanon, few in the region would consider a victorious Israel in Lebanon to be preferable to the status quo, most likely including most in Riyadh.

The Saudi Arabian military itself is vast on paper but impotent in reality and hampered greatly by being perceived as a western ally. While Iran and its proxies can commit war crime after war crime in Syria and Iraq (hundreds of thousands died at the hand of the Assad regime alone), Saudi Arabia’s ugly war in Yemen is eating away at its legitimacy while it is exponentially smaller than the human cost of the conflicts Iran sponsors in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

Iran is winning this conflict and has no interest in backing down. It probably will avoid seeking to confront Israel at this point but baiting and trapping the Saudis is just too easy. Especially now that MbS and Kushner seem to be in control of strategy.

Meanwhile the nuclear agreement with Iran and the need to keep the gulf open keeps the west from seeking to really inhibit Iran. Besides, the only proxy force that was available to the Saudis was the US, but just how likely is that a vastly unpopular president will plunge his country into yet another impossible war for oil?

Green light for Iran’s ambitions. They’ll be hit by their own hubris though. But it’ll cost many many more lives.

https://www.ft.com/content/f8b32d66-cea8-11e7-9dbb-291a884dd8c6