Israel’s resolve to use force may serve this goal. If conflict breaks out between Israel and Hezbollah, Moscow would probably let Hezbollah and Iran bleed in order to weaken their regional positions. But it would also seek to prevent a total Israeli victory, since it still needs Hezbollah as a strategic actor in the region, and because doing so could demonstrate to Israel the limits of its power. By settling the conflict and restoring the status quo ante bellum, Russia could validate that it matches or exceeds the United States as a force in the Middle East.Sponsored Links
The best result for the Kremlin would thus be a short war confined to Lebanon that fades out and allows both Israel and Hezbollah to claim victory after having turned to Moscow to broker an end to the fighting. The worst outcome would be Lebanon’s disintegration—a development that would turn the country into a jihadist Pandora’s box like post-Saddam Iraq—and the spread of the fighting to the Syrian Golan Heights, which would endanger Moscow’s achievements in pacifying Syria and could destabilize the region.