Up Hizballah's Sleeve
There have been many questions and suggestions about Hizballah's motives and actions to the north during Israel's preoccupation with Gaza operations in the south. I would suggest that Yoav Stern nails it, and the following should be considered as strongly as any analysis out there.
Ibrahim al-Amin, an associate of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and the editor of al-Akhbar, wrote on Wednesday that, "The actions in the field are ongoing, the ones out in the open and the ones that remain hidden in southern Lebanon, especially in the area in which UNIFIL operates south of the Litani River." Al-Amin was referring to the United Nations peacekeeping force deployed to monitor the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah.
In other words, Hezbollah has been extremely active, apparently also in areas where it has been forbidden to do so militarily. And looking ahead, when will Hezbollah have a better opportunity to change the regional rules of the game than it does now, during Israel's offensive against Hamas in Gaza, when cross-border fire receives greater legitimacy than during quiet times?
This should not be taken to mean that Hezbollah is interested in opening a new front, at least not at this stage. Lebanese commentators assert that the scenario in which a Palestinian group, probably Ahmed Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, does the dirty work for Hezbollah, is the one that we are seeing now and are likely to see more of in the coming days, although not a confrontation of a greater magnitude.
I said to Hugh Hewitt Monday that if Iran really wanted to open a second front to the north again as it did in 2006, it probably would have done so by now. Yoav Stern explains why with succinct clarity in the Ha'aretz analysis linked and cited above. They may yet change their minds, but I clearly concur with Stern.