American warnings of war on Lebanon

Hiyam Qasifi wrote in “Al-Akhbar”:

With the UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the new American-Israeli discrepancy, American circles warned of “deeply disturbing Israeli intentions” and “dangerous plans to transform part of Lebanon into uninhabited areas, similar to what happened in the Gaza Strip.” According to the sources, Washington is taking this information seriously to prevent the translation of Israeli threats, after it worked over the past six months not to turn Lebanon into an arena for all-out war, and it is aware that the countries of the world cannot once again tolerate a similar, even a miniature, version of what happened in Gaza, in light of an international consensus to prevent the war from spreading to Lebanon.

Although the Israeli threats did not stop, and their intensity decreased or increased depending on the facts on the ground, the Israeli rhythm remained throughout the last period adhering to the American red lines, with some exceptions that were curbed. Israel also took advantage of Iran’s unwillingness to expand the war, and responded to European messages by keeping the escalation between it and Hezbollah within the established frameworks. However, with the recent transformations, the tone of Israeli threats has risen and taken an upward trend, taking into account two basic factors:

First, Israel will not recognize the recent Security Council resolution to cease fire in Gaza, and will take the situation towards further aggravation. The high level of tension between it and the United States confirms what it has been saying publicly, since the first day of the Gaza war, that it will not back down before achieving the goals it set for the war, and will not respond to any American, European, or UN proposals. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s recent visit revealed to the public the sharp difference between the two parties regarding Israel’s plans to complete the war in Gaza to include Rafah. The UN resolution opens a wider scope for it to take a sharp stance, not only towards Gaza, but also as an extension to Lebanon, taking advantage of the dispute with the US administration and seeking to put pressure on the latter before the US elections, to turn this conflict into a rich electoral material, and it believes that it has begun to succeed in achieving this. Despite the intensity of media campaigns in solidarity with the victims of the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. It is still planning the pace of its internal – and external – campaigns towards Lebanon under the pretext of preventing a threat to the security of the residents of the north in the future. In this case, the international resolution will not constitute an obstacle to it, especially since Lebanon has experience in Israel’s response to such resolutions.

Secondly, the international resolution did not mention Lebanon, neither directly nor remotely, and limited the demand for a ceasefire to Gaza. This means that Israel is not bound in this regard to any international obligations, while Hezbollah is the one that has linked itself to Gaza and will stop any military action if the war there stops. Although the Israelis had committed to a certain rhythm in the war with Hezbollah, the transition to the Rafah stage and non-compliance with the international resolution will also free Israel from the consequences of any commitments with Washington in this matter, after the shift in the direction of their dispute. The international resolution also carries, for Lebanon, another aspect that refers to its dealing with a skeptical outlook, a few days ago, with the briefing presented to the Security Council on Resolution 1701, while it deals with the current resolution with a completely different outlook. This presents Lebanon, in the coming months, with a similar challenge in dealing with the renewal of international forces and the requirements of Resolution 1701 according to new mechanisms. Moreover, this matter will now be a serious test for the countries that have previously entered into the process of activating it or amending the tasks of international forces. But until that time, the Israeli threat remains valid, with messages that dealing with Lebanon will be as an integrated unit, since official Lebanon has dealt with the messages it received in identification with Hezbollah’s positions. As for the American position, after the discrepancy between Washington and Tel Aviv, it will face great difficulty in curbing any escalation towards Lebanon, in parallel with direct and indirect contacts with Iran that have not yet yielded what could constitute a final opportunity for calm. Amid a volatile field scene and a tumultuous regional scene, redirecting attention to Lebanon carries with it many signs of concern once again.

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