Nasrallah’s Speech Confirms that “MAD” Has Been Reached Between Israel-US & the Resistance Axis | naked capitalism

Yves here. We also note in Links that Nasrallah engaged in a lot of threat display but said Hezbollah would escalate only in the event Israel. The tone of the speech was more martial than Korybko suggests but did not call for immediate action. From Moon of Alabama’s rough transcript of a translation:

It is the United States that stands in the way of a ceasefire in Gaza. As Khomeni said, it is the greatest devil – from Hiroshima, to Vietnam to now in Gaza. It must be held responsible for that and should pay the price for that….

Those who think that Hizbullah should wage total war on Israel – they should look at what is taking place on the Lebanese front. It is unprecedented. It will increase. All of Israel’s positions are under siege. It is a different battle than in 2006 in tactics and weapons.

On the border line since October 7 the Israeli army moved out. It pulled all troops to the Gaza front. It called up reserves. Our operations keep the Israeli’s army at our front and away from Gaza. A third of the Israeli army is now at our border line. Half of its navy is dedicated to our front. A quarter of its air force is. Half of its Iron done missiles. Forty three settlements were evacuated.

If the enemy starts to take action against Lebanon it will be its biggest mistake.

Even as civilians had to move out our best fighters will stay in the south.

They told us that the U.S. would bomb us. I assure you that it did not change our position. The operation on our front will continue. Any escalation will depend on development of events in Gaza.

The summary in L’Orient Jour has more detail:

We are all waging a resistance battle. We still need time to deliver the final blow. We must be realistic. But we are winning victories…

Its escalation depends on two things: the development of the situation in Gaza and the behavior of the Zionist enemy towards Lebanon. Here, we warn them again, especially regarding the civilians who have become martyrs…

Regarding the movements of the resistance. This is the point that everyone is waiting for. The Islamic resistance in Iraq has started to assume its responsibilities and has indicated its readiness to enter a new stage…

Our brothers in Yemen have publicly and officially, despite American and Western threats, taken a series of initiatives and sent missiles and drones. Even if they were shot down, these devices will reach Eilat and the south of Palestine and Israeli military bases.

Note Nasrallah depicts the conflict at its present pace as a war of attrition where he depicts the Resistance as eventually able to severely damage Israel based on anticipated weakening. He also sets out two triggers for Hezbollah escalation. One is what happens in Gaza, with no clarification as to what action might cross a red line. He is more specific about action against Lebanon.

However, there was no demand for immediate action, and Nasrallah focused on the red line of more attacks on Lebanon. He also called for more diplomatic withdrawal and stringent economic sanctions.

By Andrew Korybko, a Moscow-based American political analyst who specializes in the global systemic transition to multipolarity in the New Cold War. He has a PhD from MGIMO, which is under the umbrella of the Russian Foreign Ministry. Originally published at his website

Some observers have been surprised by the self-restraint exercised by the Israeli-US duopoly and the Resistance Axis, which has averted an all-out regional war at least for now and thus contradicted their expectations of the other’s approach to this conflict. Neither side has proven themselves to be the “rabid psychotic warmongers” that their opponents’ public took for granted that they were, and this should prompt a rethinking from both about the true state of military-strategic affairs between them.

Hezbollah chief Nasrallah gave a speech on Friday about the latest Israeli-Hamas war, which was reviewed by Al Manar, Al Mayadeen, Press TV, and RT, among others. Readers can skim through those articles to familiarize themselves with what he said if they aren’t already aware. Upon doing so, they’ll see that his speech amounts to a tacit acknowledgement of “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) between Israel-US and the Resistance Axis, the consequences of which will be analyzed in this piece.

The following points gleaned from the preceding hyperlinked reviews form the basis of this assessment:

* Hezbollah defied US threats not to join the fray and has been fighting Israel since 8 October

* These operations diverted a significant share of Israel’s military focus and forces away from Gaza

* Hezbollah’s Iraqi and Yemeni allies have contributed to this strategy in their own way as well

* US bases in Iraq and Syria have also been targeted to punish the US for orchestrating this conflict

* In spite of all this, the US still hasn’t carried out airstrikes against Hezbollah like it earlier threatened

* Nasrallah warned that Hezbollah already made preparations to counter US naval assets in that scenario

* He also said that all options remain on the table if the Gaza War worsens and/or Israel attacks Lebanon

* Considering Hezbollah’s formidable missile stockpile, these two policies likely deterred them thus far

* Nasrallah recommends reaching a ceasefire in Gaza as soon as possible in order to avoid a larger war

* To that end, he proposed an Arab energy embargo against Israel and the severing of diplomatic ties

* In the interim, he also proposed that Arabs pressure Egypt to open the Rafah crossing for civilians

Nasrallah’s careful military strategy and pragmatic diplomatic proposals suggest a reluctance to escalate.

Some observers have been surprised by the self-restraint exercised by the Israeli-US duopoly and the Resistance Axis, which has averted an all-out regional war at least for now and thus contradicted their expectations of the other’s approach to this conflict. Neither side has proven themselves to be the “rabid psychotic warmongers” that their opponents’ public took for granted that they were, and this should prompt a rethinking from both about the true state of military-strategic affairs between them.

Putting aside each party’s spin about who’s winning, here’s how everything objectively stands at present:

* Incessant Israeli airstrikes have created a massive humanitarian crisis for Gaza’s two million Palestinians

* The Rafah crossing with Egypt still remains closed to them due to Cairo’s politicalsecurity calculations

* Israel’s ground operation took longer to prepare than some expected and is proceeding slowly

* This can be attributed to Israel being caught off guard by Hamas and then distracted by Hezbollah

* The latter defied US threats not to get involved, and its allies keep striking its bases in Iraq and Syria

* But the Resistance Axis’ operations and the Israeli-US duopoly’s response remain restrained for now

* Most of the Global South and a critical mass of the Western public want a ceasefire as soon as possible

* Even so, they haven’t exerted any tangible pressure on Israel thus far to get it to stop the war

* That could change though if more civilians continue dying and public pressure becomes unbearable

* Israel might still defy them, however, in which case some might escalate to more serious pressure

* An energy embargo and/or state-level threats of war could inadvertently provoke a first strike by Israel

* The perceived threat of a preemptive Israeli response in that event could push some Arabs to act first

* To be clear, neither might happen or be seriously considered by either, but perceptions might still differ

* The conflict’s dynamics could therefore spiral out of control if the Gaza War continues worsening

* Therein lies the most pragmatic argument for a ceasefire in order to avoid the worst-case scenarios

The reason for this true state of military-strategic affairs is the MAD that presently shapes their policies.

To explain, neither the Israeli-US duopoly nor the Resistance Axis carried out a large-scale first strike against the other in the opening days of this conflict because each’s policymakers keenly understood the disastrous consequences of doing so, which nobody wanted to experience. This observation speaks to the tacit respect that they have for their opponents’ capabilities despite their representatives’ and perception managers’ tough talk aimed at convincing their audiences that they can win an all-out war.

The fact is that military-strategic parity has been reached but both are averse to admitting this.

The Israeli-US duopoly risks discrediting its gargantuan investments in conventional military capabilities by acknowledging that the Resistance Axis’ incomparably less costly unconventional ones have resulted in a balance of power that then led to MAD in this particular context. Likewise, the Resistance Axis risks discrediting its commitment to prevent Israel’s genocide of the Palestinians by drawing its supporters’ attention to the limits that MAD places on what it can realistically do in this regard.

These military-strategic dynamics have created a very dangerous security dilemma.

The more that the Israeli-US duopoly’s leverage of its conventional military dominance worsens the Palestinians’ suffering, the more likely it is that the Resistance Axis will feel pressured to leverage its unconventional military dominance to relieve their suffering, thus risking a larger war. At the same time, agreeing to a ceasefire could be interpreted as discrediting the first’s aforesaid dominance, just like letting a genocide unfold could be interpreted as discrediting the second’s own such dominance.

Both sides are understandably pressured to correspondingly stay the course and escalate in response.

They’re driven by the desire to “save face” before their respective publics as well as to uphold the integrity of their particular form of military dominance that each regard as deterring the other. Amidst this security dilemma and absent either side unilaterally backing down on the defense of their aforesaid interests, which of course can’t be ruled out and could be explained to their supporters as preventing World War III, the conflict will likely worsen unless a creative solution is found.

Russia’s policy of principled neutrality can play a pivotal role in the second of these two scenarios.

By balancing between both camps by condemning Hamas’ terrorist attack while also condemning Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinians in blatant abuse of its right to self-defense, Russia has retained credibility with each and can therefore mediate if requested by them to do so. In that event, it could propose a mutually acceptable de-escalation plan that can be spun as a victory by both, but not so much that it discredits the other in entirety, just enough to placate their own supporters and thus “save face”.

Of course, the devil is in the details, though nobody other than Russia has a realistic chance of trying.

Whatever ends up happening, for better or for worse, it would be the direct result of the dynamics brought about by the MAD that’s been achieved between the Israeli-US duopoly and the Resistance Axis. This observation accounts for the true state of military-strategic affairs much more than any other, yet both sides are averse to admitting it out of fear that they’d discredit themselves in their supporters’ eyes by acknowledging the consequent limits that this places on their actions.

If this security dilemma isn’t resolved, then mutual escalations and a larger war might be inevitable.

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