US Worried About Potential Wider War in Middle East

The Biden administration is reportedly concerned that escalating tensions between Israel and Hezbollah could lead to a wider conflict.

An increase in attacks between Israel and Hezbollah has reportedly raised concerns within the Biden administration that the United States could be drawn into a larger Middle East war.

US officials are “increasingly concerned” about the possibility of the Israel-Hamas war expanding into a larger conflict involving Hezbollah and American troops, reported on Saturday. Recent exchanges of rocket fire across the Israeli-Lebanese border have heightened the risk of a wider war, as well as the possibility of attacks by Iranian-backed militias on American military forces in Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, the outlet said.

Like Hamas, which has been fighting a war with Israel since last October, Hezbollah is supported by Iran. Amos Hochstein, a diplomatic advisor to Biden, is scheduled to travel to Israel on Monday to work on “de-escalating the conflict,” CBS said.

Unidentified US officials who spoke to the outlet highlighted several troubling scenarios, including the possibility that deeper strikes into Lebanon by West Jerusalem could signal preparations for a major assault by the Israeli military. The Biden administration also fears that the rising number of Hezbollah rocket attacks could provoke Israel to respond in a way that results in an “unintended war,” according to the CBS sources.

These officials are increasingly concerned that Israel will start a war against Hezbollah in Lebanon that it cannot finish without American support.”

Washington views the Israeli-Hezbollah tensions and efforts to broker a ceasefire in the war with Hamas as “intertwined.” Any ceasefire agreement will require “specific arrangements” on the Israel-Hezbollah tensions, a senior US official told reporters on Thursday in Italy.

“The most important thing about the hostage release and ceasefire deal that’s on the table now is that if it’s achieved, it can have an impact in the north [of Israel], so that is an opportunity for us to be able to bring this conflict to a full close,” the official said.

Such an agreement would enable residents who were evacuated from northern Israel after the war with Hamas began to return to their homes under security guarantees. Tensions with Hezbollah have become a “potent political issue” within Israel because residents near the Lebanese border have been displaced for more than eight months.

Israeli brigades in the north have been conducting training exercises, but they are not yet in position to launch an attack, a US official told CBS. “Unlike the surprise attack by Hamas in October, a possible war with Hezbollah in Lebanon is something the Israeli military has been gaming out for years,” the outlet said.