United States Intel Warns About Israel Invading Lebanon in Upcoming Months

According to sources from the American intelligence community, Israel is reportedly flirting with the idea of launching a military incursion into southern Lebanon in the spring or at the start of summer should diplomatic efforts to keep Lebanon off the border fail. 

“We are operating in the assumption that an Israeli military operation is in the coming months,” an anonymous US official said to CNN on February 29, 2024. 

“Not necessarily imminently in the next few weeks but perhaps later this spring. An Israeli military operation is a distinct possibility,” the official stated. 

“I think what Israel is doing is they are raising this threat in the hope that there will be a negotiated agreement. Some Israeli officials suggest that it is more of an effort at creating a threat that they can utilize. Others speak of it more as a military necessity that’s going to happen.” 

Another American official indicated that there are factions of the Israeli government that are in favor of launching a ground operation in southern Lebanon, but others who are against such a measure. The second official added that any Israeli incursion into Lebanon could lead to an escalation that will get out of control. 

Per CNN, there is also a strong chance that the present Israeli aerial bombing campaign against Lebanon could broaden.

This bombing campaign could reach “much further north into populated areas of Lebanon and eventually grow to a ground component as well,” a third source connected to US intelligence informed the outlet. 

Israel has recently ramped up its attacks on Lebanon. As a response, Hezbollah militants have expanded their target range and launched rocket attacks deeper into northern Israel. 

Authorities in the US and France have been advocating for a de-escalation proposal with respect to Lebanon since the start of February. The main demand of the western proposal is a withdrawal of Hezbollah from the southern border region. 

According to a report by The Cradle, the proposal does not feature any Israeli concessions to Lebanon, such as withdrawing forces from areas that have been occupied for decades. Instead, Israel will be pushed to carry out small-scale withdrawals of its reservist forces from the border area. 

On top of that, the proposed deal features an ambiguous border demarcation agreement. Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib recently described this proposal as a “partial” solution. 

However in early February, Lebanese media alluded to sources that claim that a Hezbollah withdrawal from the southern border is an “unthinkable” proposal and that Lebanese officials believe the proposal does not meet any of Lebanon’s demands. 

Hezbollah has publicly promised to continue launching rocket attacks into Israel until its punitive military campaign in Gaza is halted. 

The million dollar question here is will Israel go through with this conflict? Equally more pressing, is if the US will unconditionally back Israel should it invade Lebanon. 

It’s anyone’s guess what will happen. Nevertheless, if the US wants to maintain geopolitical stability and  avoid potentially getting itself mired in another foreign policy quagmire, it must exercise non-intervention in this instance.

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