US Ready To Back Israel Against Hezbollah If Diplomacy Fails

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Jun 20, 2024 - 09:20 PM

The White House has been warning against escalation toward an all-out Israel and Hezbollah war, as the daily exchanges of rocket and drone barrages has ramped up for weeks.

However, on Thursday's Biden's special envoy for the region Amos Hochstein signaled to the Lebanese government that if diplomacy fails, the US is ready to stand behind Israel in a new anti-Hezbollah offensive.

The "blunt" warning was delivered as Hochstein is meeting with officials on both sides of the border, and as Israel's top generals have lately approved war plans for an offensive into southern Lebanon. He was previously in Israel at the start of this week and is now in Beirut.

White House special envoy Amos Hochstein

"The US will stand by Israel and not condemn them publicly if it launches an offensive against Hezbollah," Hochstein told top leaders in Beirut, according to Middle East Eye. The statement was conveyed to the regional outlet via a senior Arab official privy to the meetings.

The meetings included caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri. The US envoy reportedly conveyed that Washington "anticipates roughly five more weeks of intense fighting in Gaza, after which it will pause its main offensive across the enclave." 

Following an anticipated Gaza wind-down, he said Israeli leader are ready to turn their full attention to the northern border, where nearly 100,000 Israeli citizens have remained out of their homes since last October.

Hochstein warned, "Israeli officials intend to turn their full focus to the northern border with the aim of pushing Hezbollah back from the area so the roughly 60,000–96,000 displaced Israelis can return to their homes before the start of school in the fall," according to MEE.

But he reportedly still held out hope for Israel-Hezbollah negotiations toward a detente. There have long been hopes that a final Israel-Hamas deal could also halt fighting in the north, as generally Iran-backed Hezbollah has shown willingness to abide by and respect Hamas decision-making.

On Wednesday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned that an Israeli military invasion would trigger a war "without rules or ceilings." He even said nearby Cyprus could come under attack if it plays host to Israeli jets and personnel.

"We have more than 100,000 fighters, and even more, even in the worst-case scenario. We have prepared for the worst-case scenario and Israel knows it," Nasrallah warned, and threatened that "no place… will be spared our rockets."

The longer all of this simmers, and the longer there is no achieved ceasefire or hostage/prisoner exchange with Hamas, the more potential for a major war on the Israel-Lebanon border. This would portend the possibility too of a broader regional war involving Iran, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. From there, chances increase for US troops to be drawn in on Israel's side.