War talk in Lebanon: Will there be a third Lebanon-Israel war this summer?

Published June 19th, 2016 - 06:59 GMT

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Beirut, Lebanon--Shattered glass still lines the narrow avenue behind the Blom Bank headquarters near downtown Beirut. Security officers direct traffic amidst the destroyed cars and debris. But aside from this street, all in the surrounding Verdun neighborhood remains business as usual after a bomb exploded outside the bank on June 12, killing none and wounding two. Who carried out the attack remains unknown. Blom Bank is one of the Lebanese banks to comply with a new U.S. law restricting financial dealings with Hezbollah, though, and rumors soon surfaced that the Shia militant group was behind the bombing. Two have been arrested thus far while the investigation continues. The explosion was the latest of a series of mini escalations in the country. Since the spring, various Lebanese and international media outlets have reported on rumblings that a third war between neighboring Israel and Hezbollah may be on horizon. But is the threat real? Or merely conjecture? The following is a breakdown of Lebanese and international media reports on a new war’s possibility alongside pictures of three areas significantly affected by the previous 2006 Lebanon war: Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold; Tyre, a city in the south near the Israeli border; and Beirut, the Lebanese capital. Continue reading below »

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Roman ruins in Baalbek, facing the Syrian border. In February, Hassan Nasrallah boasted of Hezbollah’s ability to hit Israel’s Ammonia gas storage facilities near Haifa, which he said would have the affect of an ‘atomic bomb.’ Hezbollah is a Shia group formed in 1985 to fight Israel's invasion of south Lebanon with strong ties to Iran.
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Image 1 of 9:  1 / 9Roman ruins in Baalbek, facing the Syrian border. In February, Hassan Nasrallah boasted of Hezbollah’s ability to hit Israel’s Ammonia gas storage facilities near Haifa, which he said would have the affect of an ‘atomic bomb.’ Hezbollah is a Shia group formed in 1985 to fight Israel's invasion of south Lebanon with strong ties to Iran.

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A Shia mosque in Baalbek. Also in February, Saudi Arabia announced the cancellation of its aid to Lebanon and its armed forces, the latest in a series of measures the country is taking in the region against Iran and its allies-like Hezbollah.
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Image 2 of 9:  2 / 9A Shia mosque in Baalbek. Also in February, Saudi Arabia announced the cancellation of its aid to Lebanon and its armed forces, the latest in a series of measures the country is taking in the region against Iran and its allies-like Hezbollah.

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A poster for the Amal party - a Hezbollah ally - in Baalbek. Naharnet reported in February that a US official said the country is “fragile” and “not at the edge of the abyss but it has reached midway into falling in it.” He also stressed that Washington would not allow Lebanon to fall.
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Image 3 of 9:  3 / 9A poster for the Amal party - a Hezbollah ally - in Baalbek. Naharnet reported in February that a US official said the country is “fragile” and “not at the edge of the abyss but it has reached midway into falling in it.” He also stressed that Washington would not allow Lebanon to fall.

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A beach in Tyre. In March, the pro-Hezbollah news site al-akhbar posted an Arabic-language article saying that a US official had warned Lebanon that a war with Israel was imminent. It’s unclear whether it was valid or a propaganda ploy.
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Image 4 of 9:  4 / 9A beach in Tyre. In March, the pro-Hezbollah news site al-akhbar posted an Arabic-language article saying that a US official had warned Lebanon that a war with Israel was imminent. It’s unclear whether it was valid or a propaganda ploy.

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Fishermen in Tyre. Nasrallah said in March that there will be “no limits, and no red lines” in the next war with Israel to Al Mayadeen. He again threatened Israel’s chemical plants in the country’s north.
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Image 5 of 9:  5 / 9Fishermen in Tyre. Nasrallah said in March that there will be “no limits, and no red lines” in the next war with Israel to Al Mayadeen. He again threatened Israel’s chemical plants in the country’s north.

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A picture of the Ayatollah Khameini in Tyre. In April, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Major General Yair Golan warned that any future Israeli war with Hezbollah would be a “full-scale war.” “(It) could create devastating damage to Lebanon,” AP quoted him as saying.
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Image 6 of 9:  6 / 9A picture of the Ayatollah Khameini in Tyre. In April, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Major General Yair Golan warned that any future Israeli war with Hezbollah would be a “full-scale war.” “(It) could create devastating damage to Lebanon,” AP quoted him as saying.

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A picture of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem alongside the Muslim declaration of faith near downtown Beirut. The hawkish Avigdor Lieberman-who said a third Lebanon war is inevitable in 2015, became Israel’s minister of defense in May.
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Image 7 of 9:  7 / 9A picture of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem alongside the Muslim declaration of faith near downtown Beirut. The hawkish Avigdor Lieberman-who said a third Lebanon war is inevitable in 2015, became Israel’s minister of defense in May.

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On June 12, the headquarters of the Blom Bank in downtown Beirut were hit with a massive explosion. Nobody was hurt during the off-hours attack. While the responsible party remains unknown, some speculated Hezbollah carried it out in retaliation for the bank’s closure of its accounts in compliance with a new US law. (Image credit: AFP)
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Image 8 of 9:  8 / 9On June 12, the headquarters of the Blom Bank in downtown Beirut were hit with a massive explosion. Nobody was hurt during the off-hours attack. While the responsible party remains unknown, some speculated Hezbollah carried it out in retaliation for the bank’s closure of its accounts in compliance with a new US law. (Image credit: AFP)

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Despite the aforementioned occurrences, Lebanon has not suffered from war in ten years, and its 2016 elections passed without any major disruptions. One can hope the Switzerland of the Middle East can remain at peace.
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Image 9 of 9:  9 / 9Despite the aforementioned occurrences, Lebanon has not suffered from war in ten years, and its 2016 elections passed without any major disruptions. One can hope the Switzerland of the Middle East can remain at peace.

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Roman ruins in Baalbek, facing the Syrian border. In February, Hassan Nasrallah boasted of Hezbollah’s ability to hit Israel’s Ammonia gas storage facilities near Haifa, which he said would have the affect of an ‘atomic bomb.’ Hezbollah is a Shia group formed in 1985 to fight Israel's invasion of south Lebanon with strong ties to Iran.

Image 1 of 9Roman ruins in Baalbek, facing the Syrian border. In February, Hassan Nasrallah boasted of Hezbollah’s ability to hit Israel’s Ammonia gas storage facilities near Haifa, which he said would have the affect of an ‘atomic bomb.’ Hezbollah is a Shia group formed in 1985 to fight Israel's invasion of south Lebanon with strong ties to Iran.

2

A Shia mosque in Baalbek. Also in February, Saudi Arabia announced the cancellation of its aid to Lebanon and its armed forces, the latest in a series of measures the country is taking in the region against Iran and its allies-like Hezbollah.

Image 2 of 9A Shia mosque in Baalbek. Also in February, Saudi Arabia announced the cancellation of its aid to Lebanon and its armed forces, the latest in a series of measures the country is taking in the region against Iran and its allies-like Hezbollah.

3

A poster for the Amal party - a Hezbollah ally - in Baalbek. Naharnet reported in February that a US official said the country is “fragile” and “not at the edge of the abyss but it has reached midway into falling in it.” He also stressed that Washington would not allow Lebanon to fall.

Image 3 of 9A poster for the Amal party - a Hezbollah ally - in Baalbek. Naharnet reported in February that a US official said the country is “fragile” and “not at the edge of the abyss but it has reached midway into falling in it.” He also stressed that Washington would not allow Lebanon to fall.

4

A beach in Tyre. In March, the pro-Hezbollah news site al-akhbar posted an Arabic-language article saying that a US official had warned Lebanon that a war with Israel was imminent. It’s unclear whether it was valid or a propaganda ploy.

Image 4 of 9A beach in Tyre. In March, the pro-Hezbollah news site al-akhbar posted an Arabic-language article saying that a US official had warned Lebanon that a war with Israel was imminent. It’s unclear whether it was valid or a propaganda ploy.

5

Fishermen in Tyre. Nasrallah said in March that there will be “no limits, and no red lines” in the next war with Israel to Al Mayadeen. He again threatened Israel’s chemical plants in the country’s north.

Image 5 of 9Fishermen in Tyre. Nasrallah said in March that there will be “no limits, and no red lines” in the next war with Israel to Al Mayadeen. He again threatened Israel’s chemical plants in the country’s north.

6

A picture of the Ayatollah Khameini in Tyre. In April, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Major General Yair Golan warned that any future Israeli war with Hezbollah would be a “full-scale war.” “(It) could create devastating damage to Lebanon,” AP quoted him as saying.

Image 6 of 9A picture of the Ayatollah Khameini in Tyre. In April, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Major General Yair Golan warned that any future Israeli war with Hezbollah would be a “full-scale war.” “(It) could create devastating damage to Lebanon,” AP quoted him as saying.

7

A picture of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem alongside the Muslim declaration of faith near downtown Beirut. The hawkish Avigdor Lieberman-who said a third Lebanon war is inevitable in 2015, became Israel’s minister of defense in May.

Image 7 of 9A picture of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem alongside the Muslim declaration of faith near downtown Beirut. The hawkish Avigdor Lieberman-who said a third Lebanon war is inevitable in 2015, became Israel’s minister of defense in May.

8

On June 12, the headquarters of the Blom Bank in downtown Beirut were hit with a massive explosion. Nobody was hurt during the off-hours attack. While the responsible party remains unknown, some speculated Hezbollah carried it out in retaliation for the bank’s closure of its accounts in compliance with a new US law. (Image credit: AFP)

Image 8 of 9On June 12, the headquarters of the Blom Bank in downtown Beirut were hit with a massive explosion. Nobody was hurt during the off-hours attack. While the responsible party remains unknown, some speculated Hezbollah carried it out in retaliation for the bank’s closure of its accounts in compliance with a new US law. (Image credit: AFP)

9

Despite the aforementioned occurrences, Lebanon has not suffered from war in ten years, and its 2016 elections passed without any major disruptions. One can hope the Switzerland of the Middle East can remain at peace.

Image 9 of 9Despite the aforementioned occurrences, Lebanon has not suffered from war in ten years, and its 2016 elections passed without any major disruptions. One can hope the Switzerland of the Middle East can remain at peace.

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Words and photos by Adam Lucente, unless otherwise noted

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