After eight months of negotiations, Saad Hariri finally formed a new Lebanese government. The Prime Minister will head the new 30-member government and will initiate urgent economic and political reforms. In a recent speech, Hariri stated that the economy will be the government’s main challenge moving forward.
Israel’s general election is coming up on April 9th and it could possibly facilitate a new era of politics in the region. Despite the fact that popular opinion still generally favors Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ruling center-right coalition, an opportunity for center-left challenger Benny Gantz rises in the midst of growing discontent. Whoever wins, however, will need to deal with brewing threats from Iran, Hezbollah and Palestine that could escalate to a major conflict as well as increasing criticism from U.S. Politicians regarding Israel’s ties with China.
The Syrian state media reported on Monday February 11th, 2019 that Israel bombed a demolished hospital and observation post in Syria’s southern Quneitra province near the border between Israel and Syria. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on February 12th, 2019 that Israel did in fact strike Hezbollah targets in Syria the previous day. "We operate every day, including yesterday, against Iran and its attempts to entrench itself in the region," Netanyahu stated as he set out to attend an international conference on the Middle East in Warsaw.
Earlier this week on Tuesday, ISF announced that a cross-border Hezbollah tunnel has been destroyed as part of the Operation Northern Shield. This was the first tunnel ISF has discovered to destroy tunnels crossing the “Blue Line,” the border demarcation between Lebanon and Israel published by the United Nations in June 2000 to verify that Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon.
Mohamed Hamdan, also known as Abu Hamza, was targeted on Sun. 14th of January in a car bomb in the city of Sidon, southern Lebanon. According to reports, M. Hamdan survived the blast but was wounded in the attack, which required the amputation of his leg. Security sources and news channels claim that an explosive device weighing between 400g and 500g was placed under the seat of his car and was detonated as M. Hamdan was entering his vehicle.
Tension and security situation that started in late 2015 continued throughout 2016. The Palestinian uprising that started in October 2015 was mainly characterized by lone-wolf attacks carried out by individuals non-aligned with Palestinian factions. Over 60% of attacks reported were conducted by individual Palestinians not backed by political parties, 23% belonged to a specific party but conducted individually without an order or coordination from the party’s leadership, and less than 17% of the attacks were carried out by individuals who were backed by a specific party.