In late 2022, Israel and Lebanon signed a US-brokered maritime agreement establishing their permanent maritime boundary and exclusive economic zones, and regulating their rights to gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean. Preceding the agreement was a sustained coercive-diplomacy campaign by Hezbollah. Between June and October, the organization conveyed overt and covert threats, and it pursued actions that were unprecedented in the Israel-Hezbollah conflict: openly threatening to target Israel's entire gas production and risk all-out war if Israel proceeded with its plan to unilaterally extract gas from the contested Karish gas field. A textbook case of coercive diplomacy, Hezbollah's maneuver was calculated and deliberate, which reflects the group's strategic expertise. Drawing on open-source materials and public statements in Arabic and Hebrew, this article analyzes Hezbollah's coercive-diplomacy campaign and examines its implications for escalation scenarios between Israel and its central military opponent.
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