US warns war with Hezbollah could draw in Iran

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says U.S. won’t be able to help as it did when Tehran launched missiles at Israel in April.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Sunday that if Israel goes to all-out war with Hezbollah as it is threatening to do, there is a real risk of igniting a wider conflict that could pull Iran in to help its chief proxy directly.

“I would just say I would see Iran be more inclined to provide greater support to Hezbollah,” Air Force General C.Q. Brown told the press while on his way to a meeting with African defense ministers.

This would be the case “particularly if they felt that Hezbollah was being significantly threatened” by Israel, he said.

In such a case, Brown added, the U.S. would be more limited in what it could do to help the Jewish state.

“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,” he said.

Brown was referring to the international alliance, led by the U.S., that helped Israel intercept more than 30 cruise missiles, 120 ballistic missiles and 170 UAVs Iran directly launched at Israel on April 13.

Read  Nasrallah vows 'no place' in Israel will be safe if war declared, threatens Cyprus

The attack was retaliation for the IDF’s assassination of several top Iranian military heads in Syria earlier in the month, including a senior commander in the al-Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Since it took several hours for most of the missiles to arrive, there was time to set up the defensive array that took them down.

There are two primary reasons why Tehran might be willing to take a more active role if Israel opens a second front in Lebanon.

While Hamas is a Sunni Muslim terror organization, Hezbollah is Shiite, like Iran, making them ideological soulmates. It is also the most powerful of Tehran’s puppets, with a reported arsenal of over 150,000 rockets and missiles, as well as a UAV force.

It has been testing Israel constantly since October 8, the day after Israel declared war on Hamas following its previous day’s invasion of Gaza envelope communities in which its men and other terrorists slaughtered 1,200 people, including the elderly and infants.

Sixteen IDF soldiers and 10 civilians have been killed as a result of Hezbollah’s firing of thousands of rockets and hundreds of UAVs over the border in support of their Hamas colleagues for the last eight and a half months.

However, it has not used almost any of its airborne projectiles that could reach all of Israel, including several thousand, if not more, that are estimated to be precision-guided and thus far more dangerous to sensitive IDF installations or vital infrastructure.

Read  Fearing Israeli strikes, Hezbollah orders troops not to use cell phones

Israel has responded so far only in tit-for-tat fashion, targeting launchers, military sites and Hezbollah personnel in thousands of pinpoint airstrikes, but going no further.

Over the last few weeks, the Hezbollah rocket fire has sharply intensified, and the U.S. is trying to deescalate the situation, sending its envoy Amos Hochstein to talks in both Jerusalem and Beirut last week.

While Israel has said it prefers a diplomatic solution in the north, the IDF has also declared itself ready with pre-approved operational plans for dealing with the threat from Lebanon.

The danger of war also grows closer because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows the legitimacy of his government is at stake.

No government can continue to accept thousands of airborne attacks, which has led to the evacuation of some 60,000 residents from their border homes for their own safety, and the shutdown of its entire north.