Israel Intent On Launching An Incursion Into Lebanon, Blinken Warns

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Jun 21, 2024 - 10:40 PM

CNN has revealed that Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned top Arab officials that Israel is intent on launching an incursion into Lebanon. "It seems that they [Israel] are very serious about going into Lebanon," a source who was privy to Blinken's meeting with an Arab counterpart during his latest trip to the region said.

CNN described further, "The Arab official’s response to Blinken, the source added, was that Hezbollah has communicated that they will not stop their strikes on Israel until Israel stops its operations in Gaza."

Via Reuters

Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has warned this week that in the scenario of all-out war, no place in Israel would be safe and even nearby allies of Tel Aviv could come under Hezbollah rocket fire if they offer assistance - in a threat specifically warning Cyprus. This came soon after Israel's top generals approved battle plans and acknowledged the IDF is on the 'brink' of launching an offensive against the Shia paramilitary group backed by Tehran.

The US is till seeking to cool tensions and making the argument that broader war is good for no one. CNN additionally included the following surprising statement from the Israeli side (surprising given that Israeli military leaders know full well that Hamas is far more formidable a foe than Hamas):

Israel has made the case that it can pull off a "blitzkrieg," but the US is warning them that they may not be able to ensure that it remains a limited campaign, the official said.

Israel's strategy in a ground invasion scenario would be to keep the offensive 'limited' inasmuch as possible, primarily with the aim of creating a buffer zone of some 10km, which could allow the return of the tens of thousands of residents of northern Israel who have been within easy reach of Hezbollah's constant drone and rocket barrages.

Washington too has been pressing a ceasefire plan that would ideally see Hezbollah agree to a buffer zone. Referencing Biden's special envoy in the region Amos Hochstein, who has been in Beirut the last couple of days (and in Israel before that), CNN writes that "If war is averted and Hochstein’s plan goes into effect, it would similarly see Hezbollah pull back around six miles, or ten kilometers, away from the border." And more:

"The fact that we have managed to even hold the front for this long has been a miracle," a senior US official said, referring to the US’ efforts to keep the Israel-Hezbollah attacks from spiraling into an all-out war.

"We’re entering a very dangerous period," another senior Biden administration official said. "Something could start with little warning."

However the IDF might have trouble keeping operations limited: "But in order to prevent a return by the group in the future, Israel may want to further destroy Hezbollah’s infrastructure in the area," notes the report.

It must be remembered that all the way back in January, Israel received a warning from US military intelligence (DIA) laying out that fighting a two-front war with Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north would be devastating, and likely a losing situation.

This surprise revelation and blunt warning was buried in a prior Washington Post story

In private conversations, the administration has warned Israel against a significant escalation in Lebanon. If it were to do so, a new secret assessment from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) found that it will be difficult for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to succeed because its military assets and resources would be spread too thin given the conflict in Gaza, according to two people familiar with those findings. A spokesperson for the DIA did not offer comment.

We previously unpacked the implication in special analysis If Full War With Hezbollah Opens, Israel Will Lose.

Blinken's office was cited in the same report as saying at the time: "It is in no one’s interest — not Israel’s, not the region’s, not the world’s — for this conflict to spread beyond Gaza." This has been the official US line since then as well. Of course, this would likely hasten a broader Israel-Iran war, likely to also spill into Syrian and Iraq.