An American warning regarding Lebanon… The risk of escalation is rising, and this is the fate of the front

A report by the Washington Institute warned of the clashes on the southern front in Lebanon sliding into a large-scale war, urging the US administration to make more efforts to stop this slide.

The institute said in a report, prepared by David Schenker, who previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, that nearly six months after the start of the Gaza war, “Israel” realized that the situation that existed before October 7 in southern Lebanon no longer existed. Acceptable, as the twenty-eight settlements that were evacuated months ago are still empty, with about 80,000 settlers prevented from returning to their homes amid daily exchanges of fire and continuing fears of a Hamas-style invasion.

According to the report; Hezbollah mainly fires on Israeli military sites and bases; It also periodically launches missiles and drones into empty civilian areas. The Israeli army is targeting the party’s main infrastructure, weapons depots and its affiliated elements, especially the forces of the special “Al-Radwan” unit, whose number is estimated at 10,000, and which were deployed along the border when the crisis began.

In Schenker’s assessment, the risk of sudden escalation is high, although they in Tehran still seem to prefer to avoid all-out war for the time being.

In order to prevent an all-out war, the Biden administration seeks to mediate a ceasefire and reach a broader agreement under which Hezbollah will keep all its forces seven kilometers from the border, and in return, “Israel” will end at least some of its air operations over Lebanon, While Beirut deploys 15,000 Lebanese army soldiers south of the Litani River.

This effort, led by US envoy Amos Hockstein, and which aims to implement some aspects of “Resolution 1701,” also calls on the two parties to begin discussions on the disputed border points along the so-called “Blue Line.”

Observers believe that such negotiations would likely lead to border adjustments of several hundred meters in favor of Lebanon in areas that Israel admits it went to north of the “Blue Line.” This includes the reunification of the divided Roma village.

According to some reports, Washington is also trying to facilitate the agreement by proposing to guarantee the salaries of the Lebanese army and develop southern Lebanon economically, all in the hope of discouraging future adventures by Hezbollah against Israel. However, this prospect is likely to be unpalatable to Hezbollah, which has long sought to prevent investment in Lebanon in order to keep its Shiite voters dependent on its generosity, Schenker claimed.

The institute’s report reveals some ideas under study to strengthen UNIFIL’s strength through the presence of a separate German and/or French observation mission on the ground, but Schenker believes that the Israeli army will insist on continuing reconnaissance flights with drones over southern Lebanon after the ceasefire, and without Hezbollah is likely to agree to this condition.

The report suggests that even if a ceasefire is reached in Gaza and Hezbollah withdraws from escalation in response, Israel may choose to continue its current level of operations in southern Lebanon. (Arabi 21)

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