By Wissam Nasrallah

I often speak on WhatsApp with my parents while I make my way back home through the Lebanese mountains. The recurring question arises, almost ritually: “So, how is the situation? Any news?” Each time, I echo the refrain of uncertainty: “No one really knows… yet, life needs to go on.” My automatic answer does not deter us from trying to analyze the latest visit of the American envoy to the region, or the most recent pronouncement from Hezbollah’s secretary-general, or share the plight of families uprooted from the south of Lebanon. 

Despite my mother’s steely nerves, honed as a nurse during the Lebanese civil warmy parent’s plans to visit Lebanon have been repeatedly shelved until “the situation becomes clearer.” “You might be waiting forever,” I warn them, my voice a mixture of jest and solemn truth. 

Their concern is not without substance. The scope of Israel’s strikes has been widened from the established rules of engagement since October 7. Areas once thought to be outside the fray, like Nabatieh and Ghazieh near Sidon, now find themselves under the shadow of conflict. The strategy appears clear: the elimination of specific targets now takes precedence over the cautious dance of non-escalation. Hezbollah, for its part, has not remained idle, its sphere of retaliation growing in kind. 

A recent poll suggests a chilling consensus, with 76% of Israelis endorsing a “major operation in Lebanon.” 

Hezbollah’s rhetoric escalates in fervor, yet their actions on the ground betray a more restrained posture, perhaps a reflection of Iran’s broader strategic desire to de-escalate tensions. Diplomacy still flickers on the horizon as the most viable exit from this impasse, yet the machinations of war are being quietly assembled by both factions. 

To my parents, I offer a steady stream of “don’t worry we will be ok”, as much to still my own anxieties as theirs. 

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