Home west asia Israeli Offensive In Lebanon Increases Risk of Broader War, Says US General

Israeli Offensive In Lebanon Increases Risk of Broader War, Says US General

An Israeli military vehicle manoeuvres, amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, near the Israel-Gaza border, in Israel, REUTERS/Amir Cohen

A US general said that an Israeli offensive in Lebanon has the potential to increase the risk of a broader conflict that draws in Iran and Iran-aligned militants. This is particularly so if Hezbollah’s existence is threatened.

Israeli offensive could draw in Iran

Air Force General C.Q. Brown, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged Israel’s right to defend itself. But he cautioned that a Lebanon offensive “can drive up the potential for a broader conflict.”

“Hezbollah is more capable than Hamas as far as overall capability, number of rockets, and the like. And I would just say I would see Iran be more inclined to provide greater support to Hezbollah.”

Brown spoke to reporters before stopping in Cape Verde on his way to regional defense talks in Botswana.

“Again, all this could help to broaden the conflict in the region and really have Israel not only be worried about what’s happening on their southern part of the country, but also now what’s happening in the north.”

Hezbollah attacks increase

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that a coming end to the intense phase of fighting in Gaza would allow it to deploy more forces along the northern border with Lebanon.

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Hezbollah began attacking Israel shortly after Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault sparked the war in Gaza. The sides have been trading blows in the months since then. Hezbollah has said it would not stop until there is a ceasefire in Gaza.

Hezbollah has also targeted Israeli towns and military sites with the largest volleys of rockets and drones in the hostilities so far. This was after an Israeli strike killed a senior Hezbollah commander.

Gallant heads to Washington

Brown’s remarks came as Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant headed to Washington on Sunday. Gallant will discuss the next phase of the Gaza war and escalating hostilities on the border with Lebanon.

Brown noted that the US could be more limited in its ability to defend Israel from attacks by Hezbollah than it was in helping intercept Iran’s missile and drone attack on Israel in April.

“From our perspective, based on where our forces are, the short range between Lebanon and Israel, it’s harder for us to be able to support them in the same way we did back in April.”

With inputs by Reuters