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al-Aruri's Death: A Blow to Hamas, Unveils Iran's Fractured Proxy Network 

The assassination of Salah Al-Aruri, no. 2 in Hamas and one of the architects of the October 7th massacre, marks a pivotal moment. The world is a better place without al-Aruri.


Al-Aruri's death not only represents a significant blow to Hamas but also sheds light on the intricate and often fragmented nature of the Iranian network of proxies. What is particularly noteworthy is Hezbollah's response. The assassination of al-Aruri took place in the Dahieh neighborhood of Beirut, known to be a stronghold of Hezbollah, signifying a notable escalation in Israel's tactics. Hezbollah is likely to retaliate, and the organization already initiates more border incidents. Yet, Hassan Nasrallah appears keen on striking a delicate balance Their reaction may suggest a strategic restraint, aimed at avoiding an all-out war.


The situation underscores the less-than-uniform nature of Iran's proxy network, previously perceived as more cohesive. As we wrote in the past, Hezbollah and Iran are determined not to be dragged prematurely into a war they did not initiate nor prepare for. The proxies within this network exhibit a higher degree of autonomy, operating under a complex web of domestic as well as external constraints and motivations.

Al Arouri in a cemetery

This situation serves as a revelation for Israel, with risks and opportunities. On the positive side, it reaffirms that as long as Israel will seek to focus on Hamas, the prospects of further escalation to a regional war initiated by Hezbollah, are low., We suggested earlier that if escalation in the North was to happen, it would likely be an Israeli initiative (see Hezbollah & Israel are out of sync: Conflict seems inevitable).


On the other hand, the decentralization of the Iranian proxies network complicates the prospects to reach a “day after”. Iran initiated the 'ring of fire' against Israel by empowering armed terror groups across the Middle East, and thus bears significant responsibility for the current situation. However, Iran may have a deliberately limited capacity to control other players. If this is the case, achieving a stable new equilibrium might be an even more complex task than previously perceived. It would require Israel to apply distinct measures and pressures to each actor in the Iranian proxy network, tailored to their individual contexts and influences.


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