Financial Times:

Raya Jalabi in Beirut 

As Iran and Israel stepped back from the brink of all-out war last week, one signal that neither party was keen on escalation stood out: the limited role of Hizbollah.

Rising tensions between Israel and the Lebanese militant group since Hamas launched its deadly assault on October 7 have led to the most deadly clashes beyond Israel’s borders in decades.

Yet when regional hostilities reached their most dangerous level yet in the conflict — with Tehran launching a barrage of 300 missiles and drones in its first ever direct attack on Israel — Hizbollah’s participation was largely symbolic.

On April 14, the group fired dozens of rockets in co-ordination with Tehran’s attack on an Israeli barracks in the Golan Heights — most likely from Syria where its fighters also operate. But the barrage was smaller than others it has launched since October.

And when Israel chose to respond to Iran six days later, Hizbollah positions were not among those targeted. 

That neither side chose to heavily involve Hizbollah, Iran’s most powerful proxy, was one of the most important decisions in containing what could have been an uncontrollable escalation that Israel and Iran say they do not currently want, analysts said.

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