US Won’t Be Able to Help Israel in 'Broader Hezbollah War', Warns Air Force General

© AFP 2023 / RABIH DAHERA smoke plume billows during Israeli bombardment on the village of Khiam in south Lebanon near the border with Israel on June 23, 2024 amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
A smoke plume billows during Israeli bombardment on the village of Khiam in south Lebanon near the border with Israel on June 23, 2024 amid ongoing cross-border tensions as fighting continues between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.06.2024
The US has been "scrambling" to prevent an all-out conflict between Israel and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Axios reported earlier in June. Washington has reportedly been cautioning Tel Aviv against the notion of a "limited war" in Lebanon for weeks, warning that Iran could intervene.
The United States won’t be able to help Israel defend itself against “a broader Hezbollah war,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Air Force Gen. CQ Brown told reporters on Sunday.
A full-blown Israeli military offensive into Lebanon, in his opinion, would risk triggering a broader war that would entail a strong Iranian response in defense of Hezbollah. Iran, said the general, “would be more inclined to support Hezbollah,” in case it felt that the Lebanese militant group was "being significantly threatened.” An escalation of such a level could put US forces in the region in danger, added Brown.
According to Brown, the US is engaged in talks with Israeli leaders in a bid to warn them of the consequences of a wider conflict. Washington’s principal message is “to think about the second order of effect of any type of operation into Lebanon, and how that might play out and how it impacts not just the region, but how it impacts our forces in regions as well.”
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin had reportedly raised similar concerns in a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant in a recent phone call.
The issue is expected to be discussed during Gallant’s visit to Washington for meetings with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and other senior US officials.
After US President Joe Biden’s senior adviser, Amos Hochstein, met with officials in Lebanon and Israel last week, he told reporters in Beirut on Tuesday that it was a “very serious situation.”
Given the amount of rocket fire we’ve seen going from both sides of the border, we’ve certainly been concerned about that situation, and both publicly and privately have been urging all parties to restore calm along that border, and again, to seek a diplomatic solution,” Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said last week.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the phase of intense fighting in the Gaza Strip’s Rafah was winding down, and the IDF would be readying itself to potentially face Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
“After the end of the intense phase”, Israel will “redeploy some forces to the north… primarily for defensive purposes,” the PM said in a Channel 14 interview. Netanyahu voiced hope for a diplomatic solution but added that, “We will meet this challenge too. We can fight on several fronts, we are prepared for this.”
He doubled down on the need for a deal with Hezbollah to ensure that its forces are not on the border. “It will include the physical distancing of Hezbollah from the border, and we will need to enforce it… We are committed to returning the residents of the north to their homes,” he added.

Israel and Hezbollah, who is an ally of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, have exchanged fire almost daily since the beginning of the Gaza war on October 7. Hezbollah says it will only stop if there is a truce in Gaza. Hezbollah launched more than 200 rockets into northern Israel, in retaliation against the killing of the Lebanese militant group’s highest-ranking commander, Taleb Sami Abdullah, by the Jewish state on June 12. Earlier in the month, the Israel Defense Forces said it had approved and validated operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon as part of a situational assessment.

The Biden administration has been voicing concern about a scenario in which the current bilateral tensions between Israel and Lebanon escalate into an "all-out war," Axios reported earlier in June citing unnamed American officials. The White House fears that Israel could start a war with Hezbollah "without a clear strategy or consideration of the full implications of a wider conflict."
Ever since Netanyahu began indicating that he was ready to expand the Gaza conflict into Lebanon against Hezbollah, a chorus of voices began warning that the Lebanese group is far stronger than Hamas and has access to an array of sophisticated missiles and rockets that would be able to overwhelm Israel’s air and missile defense network. Furthermore, political and military observers have warned that Israel would be unable to completely isolate Lebanon, and Hezbollah would be able to receive support from abroad if Tel Aviv were to invade.
Fighters of the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah take part in a ceremony to commemorate the party's fallen leaders in the Lebanese village of Jibshit, about 50 kilometres south of the capital Beirut, on February 15, 2024. - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.06.2024
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