US worried Israel will ‘proactively’ spark full-blown war with Hezbollah: Report

The Cradle, June 13, 2024 — 

Cross-border tensions intensified after Israel assassinated a top resistance commander in southern Lebanon this week, prompting Hezbollah to launch a massive barrage of rockets.

Senior US officials say that the government is concerned that Israel plans to make a “proactive move” against the Lebanese resistance on its northern front and spark a full-blown war “without a clear strategy,” according to a report by Hebrew daily Walla.

“The US fears that Israel will make a proactive move that will lead to a war with Hezbollah or will be dragged into such a war without a clear strategy and without thinking a few steps ahead about the consequences of such a scenario,” Israeli journalist Barak Ravid quotes the unnamed US officials as saying.

Washington has intensified diplomatic efforts to avert such a scenario, with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently conveying these fears to his Israeli counterpart, Yoav Gallant. According to Ravid, Washington’s concerns mainly stem from the possibility of getting dragged further into the simmering conflict.

“We are seeing an increase in activity in [Israel’s] north, and we don’t want things to escalate into a broader regional conflict … That was something that the secretary spoke with Mr Gallant about at length yesterday,” Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said on Thursday.

Ravid also refers to his recent report in Axios in which he revealed the White House “made it clear to Israel in recent weeks that the idea that a ‘limited war’ could be launched in Lebanon is unrealistic” and also warned Tel Aviv that an Israeli ground invasion of Lebanon “would likely push Iran to intervene.”

Washington’s diplomatic efforts include hosting the commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), General Joseph Aoun, in the US capital this week. The ongoing push to clinch a ceasefire deal for Gaza has also been described as an attempt to quell tensions on the Lebanese–Israeli border.

Thursday’s report from Walla comes as cross-border hostilities between Hezbollah and the Israeli army continue to intensify after the latest targeted assassination of a top resistance commander in southern Lebanon.

Since Wednesday morning, Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets and missiles at multiple Israeli military bases and critical positions. The attacks have also sparked large forest fires across Israel’s mostly-abandoned north.

Attacks from Lebanon have become increasingly more precise over recent months after the resistance managed to take out more than 1,500 Israeli intelligence posts and devices.

Israeli analysts have determined that launching a wide-scale attack against Lebanon would prompt Hezbollah to fire thousands of rockets and precision missiles at Israel per day, which they predict would collapse its air defense systems.

“If the Israeli enemy is screaming and moaning from what it’s suffering in northern Palestine, let it prepare to cry and wail,” the head of Hezbollah’s Executive Council, Hashem Safieddine, said on Wednesday, adding that Hezbollah operations against Israel “will increase in intensity, strength, quantity, and quality.”

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