Eyad Abu Shakra

Amid Looming War, Lebanon Lacks Optimism over Int’l, US Warnings

News from Lebanon indicates a daily shift towards a more grim and pessimistic outlook. Despite claiming to oppose this trend, many parties seem to be sliding further into worsening conditions, like sleepwalkers heading towards disaster.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned days ago that “the world cannot afford another Gaza in Lebanon,” but ground reports indicate a serious escalation, prompting concern.
This comes amid rising threats between Hezbollah and Israeli authorities, and US envoy Amos Hochstein issuing warnings to all involved during a crucial US election year.
In Israel, the departure of two moderate voices from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's inner circle has left him largely unchecked.
Netanyahu, seen as one of Israel's most opportunistic politicians, now faces little restraint against any reckless or exploitative actions.
The departure of former Chiefs of Staff Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot from the government team managing the “Gaza displacement war” is a significant development. This change is likely to unsettle even Washington’s Republican hawks.
With pragmatic leaders gone, decisions on war and peace are now in the hands of opportunistic politicians like Netanyahu and extreme settler-ideologues like Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.
In many cases, experienced and thoughtful military leaders tend to value human life, peace, and understanding more than aggressive and populist politicians.
It's notable how some Israeli military figures, starting out in militant right-wing roles, later moved towards moderation after witnessing the true costs of war.
Ariel Sharon shifted to the center, while Ezer Weizman even leaned left at times.
This brings to mind a famous quote from American General William T. Sherman: “I am sick and tired of war. Its glory is all moonshine. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. War is hell.”
Following the resignations of Gantz and Eisenkot, the latter having lost his young son in the current Gaza conflict, from the government and the war cabinet, the three extremists—Netanyahu, Ben Gvir, and Smotrich—who have never fought a day, continue to beat the drums, deliver provocative speeches, and incite tensions.
What’s even more paradoxical is that figures like these, adherents to Torah ideology—Netanyahu claiming such a stance—are adamant about exempting ultra-religious Torah followers from mandatory military service, yet simultaneously exploit Torah and Talmudic texts to justify ongoing wars and massacres.
Meanwhile in Lebanon, Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hezbollah, persists in justifying his party's independent war agenda, sidelining the state's authority.
Despite Hezbollah’s months-long adherence to its own rules of engagement with Israel, Nasrallah persists in coordinating communications through Nabih Berri, the Lebanese Speaker of Parliament, and his “friend,” envoy Hochstein, with the United States - once dubbed the “Great Satan.”
In the past two weeks, alongside the Gaza conflict and escalating threats of war from Netanyahu’s team against Lebanon, tensions have risen on the Lebanese-Israeli front through exchanged messages.
After Hezbollah intensified drone attacks, countered by Israeli assassinations and displacement operations, Nasrallah opened a new preemptive front—this time targeting Cyprus. This action bypasses any recognition or consultation with recognized state authorities.
Nasrallah has warned Cyprus against allowing Israel to use its airports and bases like Akrotiri/Episkopi and Dhekelia, threatening that this would drag them into conflict.
He claimed Hezbollah had intel suggesting Israel might strike Lebanon from these locations if Hezbollah targets Israeli airports.
Nasrallah also hinted at Israel’s fear of Hezbollah invading Galilee amid escalating tensions, emphasizing Hezbollah’s readiness with new weaponry for any scenario.
His remarks coincided with Israel revealing operational plans for a potential Lebanon strike and Foreign Minister Israel Katz renewing threats against Hezbollah amid ongoing border tensions since last October.
Amid UN Chief Guterres’s caution and US envoy Hochstein’s urgency for a swift Hezbollah-Israel resolution, Lebanon’s volatile situation remains a concern. This is compounded by domestic woes while global attention focuses elsewhere.