Possibility of an Israeli Offensive Into Lebanon

U.S. Concerns Over An Israeli Offensive in Lebanon

  • On Sunday, June 23, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General CQ Brown, voiced concerns over an Israeli military offensive into Lebanon.
    • He warned of the potential for an Iranian defensive response and heightened danger for U.S. forces in the region.
    • He also analyzed that Iran may back the Lebanese group, “particularly if [Iran] felt that Hezbollah was being significantly threatened.” 
  • During a visit to Beirut last week, U.S. envoy Amos Hochstein called for “urgent” de-escalation between Israel and Hezbollah, stressing that “it’s in everyone’s interest to resolve it quickly and diplomatically — that is both achievable and it is urgent.”
    • Hochstein has participated in meetings with Lebanese parliament speaker Nabih Berri and Israeli officials.
    • He assured that “a ceasefire in Gaza and, or, an alternative diplomatic solution could also bring the conflict across the Blue Line to an end.”
  • U.S. and Israeli officials are discussing indirect diplomacy between Israel and Hamas on an agreement to release hostages and alleviate suffering in Gaza.
    • U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has also called for a diplomatic solution to avoid an all-out Israel-Hezbollah war.

Israeli Approval of Lebanon Offensive Plans

  • On June 18, Israel Defense Forces’ Northern Command Major General Ori Gordin and head of the Operations Directorate Maj. Gen. Oded Basiuk approved operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon.
    • Israeli officials have warned that, in the case of failed diplomatic efforts, the battle plans will operate to push Hezbollah forces further north.
    • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the “intense” phase of fighting in Gaza is winding down, but signaled that it will be replaced by a shift in focus to Lebanon.
  • Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah responded that Israel will face “a much more powerful enemy than in the past” if the offensive ensues, while clarifying that Hezbollah does not want war. 
    • Analysts warn that, if the conflict grows into a war, thousands of fighters from Iran’s proxies may travel to Lebanon to join Hezbollah’s battle efforts.
  • Hezbollah and Israel have been engaged in cross-border attacks since October 8th, and recent tensions have risen over the assassination of senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdallah.
    • The exchange of attacks have resulted in over 350 Lebanese casualties, more than 50 of which are civilians, while the casualty count for Israel is about 20.



(Banner image: IDF)

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