The Resistance’s New Equation: Deterrence by Punishment

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Hezbollah supporters waving the Resistance and the Palestinian flags during a memorial ceremony to honor six Hezbollah fighters killed in Syria by an Israeli airstrike, Friday, January 30, 2015. Al-Akhbar/Marwan Tahtah

By: Ibrahim al-Amin

Published Saturday, January 31, 2015

It is possible now to talk about the “next day” in the struggle against Israel. The Resistance’s daring attack in the Shebaa Farms was a result of the enemy’s miscalculation in assessing the reality of the Resistance.

By doing so, the enemy gave Hezbollah the cue to engage in its favorite “hobby,” namely to turn threats into opportunities. This is what made the Resistance’s military response, and its political and operational implications, akin to turning a new page.

Fundamentally, the Resistance has had its say. Now it’s Israel’s turn.

What does this mean?

First: The intelligence and military abilities of the Resistance seem to be in a state that even surpasses full theoretical readiness. In reality, the Resistance is in a state of permanent readiness to deploy and act whenever the need arises.

Second: The details of the Shebaa operation show that the Resistance’s operational arms are extremely flexible — whether in terms of meeting the political needs to choose an appropriate military target; in terms of preparing the right weapons and timing to achieve proportionality with the enemy; or in terms of delivering a tough message, whose significance surpasses the mere number of casualties.

Third: The nature of the Resistance’s military and intelligence response to the operation is indicative of its ability to avoid a compulsive emotional response. It also shows that the enemy even if, in theory, it had calculated the coming response, it was still unable to implement measures on the ground to protect itself from such an attack.

Fourth: While the Resistance had prepared for a confrontation that could turn into a full-scale war, the enemy was not prepared for such a contingency. This also means that the Resistance’s leadership
demonstrated a capacity to respond that exceeds that of the enemy, as the latter proceeded to respond indiscriminately, before it decided to contain the situation.

Fifth: The nature of the Resistance’s military, intelligence, and logistical deployment, before giving the attacking group the go-ahead to carry out the operation, covered a very vast area of Lebanon and even Syrian territory. The implication of this is that the Resistance has capabilities that should deter the enemy — if, that is, they recognize them.

Sixth: The enemy has realized that a Resistance that can control itself, and give it a very calculated slap in the face, can do much more. More importantly, the enemy’s army can now rein in any excesses of its political leadership, if the latter decides to commit suicide.

Incidentally, as much as the enemy’s army and intelligence are angry about what happened, they are also in a lax state that prevents politicians from dragging them into a confrontation for which they are not ready. In the coming few months, they will definitely receive additional budget allocations.


What about the new deterrent?

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said that the Resistance will no longer abide by any rules of engagement, and that it has the right to respond to any aggression. Nasrallah said: “The Resistance will choose for itself the method and place for the response against any military aggression or covert assassination.”

This means:

First: That the enemy has accepted, albeit reluctantly, that its foes, especially Hezbollah, have the right to respond to covert operations wherever they can.

There is a record of these ongoing confrontations that has yet to be released. While recruiting Mohammad Shawraba helped the enemy thwart a number of these responses in previous years, what Nasrallah said yesterday reflects a new direction. Namely, that the Resistance can today choose the appropriate way to respond to any assassination, which means very simply that if the enemy assassinates a Resistance operative or leader covertly — and it will definitely try — the Resistance will respond either covertly or even militarily, as it did a few days ago.

Second, the enemy’s assassination of the martyrs in Quneitra revealed the nature of the confrontation taking place in Syria. Nasrallah’s unequivocal characterization of the terrorist groups in southern Syria means simply that the Golan front has joined the arena of direct confrontation.

As for how this will translate on the ground, that depends on operational and political calculations. It is worth noting however that the Resistance will not wait for 15 years to establish the equations and rules of engagement in the Golan, as happened in Lebanon previously, but is saying that it has started operating there as of January 28, 2015. The enemy can only imagine what lies in store.

Accordingly, the Resistance, which chimed in a new stage in the struggle, needs real, calm assistance from its supporters. The Resistance needs a great deal of support, solidarity, and trust, and does not need anyone to be clamoring around it, even unintentionally.

We must be vigilant that those who are not capable or are not needed on the battlefield can do many other things. Most importantly, they should entrench an awareness of the resistance in their mind and daily behavior — and not on the basis of emotions that fail at the moment of real confrontation. Resistance is a major act, and it does not require hyperbole and passions as much as it needs to be turned into an entrenched idea that no tyrant or ignorant person can undermine.

Ibrahim al-Amin is the Editor-in-Chief of Al-Akhbar.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect Al-Akhbar English's editorial policy. If you would like to submit a thoughtful response to one of our opinion pieces, send your contribution to our submissions editor.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

Comments

Let’s not forget that an Israeli attack on any member of the resistance, be it Syria or others, should be considered as an attack on all Resistance members, thereby calling for retaliation by any member of the Resistance. For instance, an attack on Syria can be revenged by another member if it happens to be more convenient. Also, the retaliation should not necessarily be proportional, but more severe to cost the attacker heavily and to make it think twice before its next attack.

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