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US Concerned Israel Could Drag US Into War in Lebanon

by | Jun 17, 2024

US Concerned Israel Could Drag US Into War in Lebanon

by | Jun 17, 2024

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Hezbollah training

Washington fears a potential miscalculation could trigger a wider conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

US officials are increasingly concerned Israel is preparing for a large assault on Lebanon. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Hezbollah militants have exchanged missile fire on a near-daily basis over the past eight months.

Officials speaking with CBS News outlined multiple scenarios that could lead to a broader war in the Middle East, with some suggesting Israel is gearing up for a major attack on Lebanon. If Israel does start a war with Hezbollah, American officials say Tel Aviv would need US aid to end the conflict.

On Wednesday, Axios reported that Washington is concerned that Tel Aviv will rush into war in Lebanon. Since January, the White House has been anxious that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would expand hostilities with Hezbollah to boost his domestic political standing.

Over the past eight months, Israeli officials have expressed a desire and willingness to invade southern Lebanon, with Netanyahu saying Tel Aviv was prepared for a “very intense” operation against Hezbollah.

CBS News spoke with officials who say the White House is working behind the scenes to prevent that outcome. While US support is crucial to keeping Tel Aviv’s war machine running, several previous American presidents have exerted pressure to curb Israeli militarism.

Officials presented a second possibility in which tit-for-tat attacks between Hezbollah militants and the IDF escalate to full-scale war. Under this scenario, an Israeli strike deep in Lebanon would trigger a large missile barrage by Hezbollah. If the group’s leadership miscalculated the size of the strike, it could prompt a major Israeli assault in response.

The ongoing tit-for-tat warfare is causing problems in Israel, as hundreds of thousands of citizens have been displaced from the country’s border with Lebanon. Additionally, Tel Aviv has been forced to dedicate some of its military resources to its northern border, tying up troops that could be used for operations in Gaza and the West Bank.

UN officials have also expressed unease that the war will expand. The United Nations special coordinator for Lebanon, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, and the head of UN peacekeeping forces in Lebanon, Aroldo Lazaro, said they were “deeply concerned” over the current tensions. A statement from the officials published Saturday explained that “The danger of miscalculation leading to a sudden and wider conflict is very real.”

The White House assesses that ending the war in Gaza will lead to a reduction in attacks between the IDF and Hezbollah. Some analysts disagree and believe Tel Aviv would take ending the operations against Hamas as an opportunity for a larger war with Hezbollah.

This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, opinion editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter and Connor Freeman.

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