A big restraint on a wider Mideast war

Outside of Israel itself, perhaps no other country has more closely watched the war in Gaza than Lebanon. As Israel’s northern neighbor and home to an Islamist militant group aligned with Hamas, the country fears it might become a second, full-scale front. Yet as the fighting in Gaza enters its fifth week, that has not happened. One reason may be Lebanese youth.

Since mass protests in 2019 that demanded transparent, secular rule, and then happened again in elections last year, young Lebanese have challenged the political legitimacy and dominance of Hezbollah. That pro-Iran militant group rules the mainly Shiite south and has 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel. In the 2022 elections, Hezbollah and its political allies lost their majority in Parliament.

“There is pressure from Hezbollah’s Lebanese allies, friends and constituents, to step aside and spare Lebanon destruction that would have a long-term impact on the population,” Mohanad Hage Ali, a senior fellow at Carnegie Middle East Center, told Arab News.

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