Newsweek

Hezbollah vs. Israel: The Next Middle East War?

The Syrian civil war made the Lebanese Shiite organization stronger, but as tensions with Israel flare, Hezbollah risks losing much of what it gained.
Supporters of Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah chant slogans and gesture during a rally marking Al-Quds day in Beirut's southern suburbs in Lebanon on June 23.
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Updated | A tall, husky man with a large machine gun stands next to a missile in a field just south of Damascus, Syria. It’s a warm morning in May, and pale yellow butterflies flutter around him. Rabieh is a Hezbollah fighter stationed in the area, and like other Hezbollah members who spoke to Newsweek, he asked to be identified by a pseudonym because he isn’t authorized to speak to the press. "God willing, we will soon liberate Syria and go back to our country,” Rabieh says. "But until that happens, we will stay here until our last breath.”

Since 2012, Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite organization, has been fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against rebel and extremist groups. Though many of its fighters have died in these hills and beyond, Hezbollah has emerged stronger and emboldened from the war. The Syrian conflict has given it training and experience, as well as an impressive arsenal of weapons, courtesy of Iran, Assad and Russia.

But that strength could be short-lived. The

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