While the Israel-Hamas war is still ongoing, dilemma in Washington is increasing on whether the US should join the war in support of Israel or not.
As the war between Hamas and Israel entered the second week this Saturday, there is a growing atmosphere of dilemma going on in Washington over whether the US should join Israel, its strategic ally, if the war with Hamas escalates.
To read between the lines, some White House officials have been talking about the possibility of using military force by US if Hezbollah joins the war in Gaza and attacks Israel with its huge arsenal of rockets. In this regard, three US officials with knowledge on the matter told Axios last week that Washington is ready to come to help if the war between Hams and Israel escalates, especially should Hezbollah join the conflict.
“Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah have only been increasing since the Gaza war began Oct. 7, with daily skirmishes between the parties along the Israel-Lebanon border,” one US officials said, adding that “this can increase the extension of the war to Hezbollah and Israel, which could in turn provoke a US response.”
The US recognizes that Israel must respond to the increased targeting of its northern border by Hezbollah and it would respond to Israel’s demand for military help if the war escalates to more alarming levels,” another official noted.
Biden dismisses any US declare of military support to Israel
Despite the above-mentioned remarks on the US readiness to support Israel in case Hezbollah joins the war, US president Joe Biden himself dismissed such interest. On the contrary, two White House officials familiar with the matter told the Times of Israel on Wednesday that the Biden administration has privately been urging Israel not to launch a military campaign against Hezbollah, as Washington works to keep the current war from spreading beyond Gaza.
“The US has in fact been cautioning Israel in the recent days to be careful in its military responses to Hezbollah fire, explaining that an IDF mistake in Lebanon could spark a much larger war,” the officials noted. Biden himself also rejected the idea and speaking to reporters on Wednesday following his brief solidarity visit to Israel, he asserted that it “was never said” that the US would join in the event of a front with Hezbollah.
Likewise, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby added to reporters that there was “no intention to put US boots on the ground in combat” but that the US has its “national security interests” and “we’ll protect them if we need to.”
Kirby also explained that a pair of aircraft carrier strike groups dispatched last week by the Pentagon to the eastern Mediterranean was to “deter” Israeli and American adversaries in the region “from taking action.”
It was on October 10 that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered the Ford carrier strike group to sail to the Eastern Mediterranean to be ready to assist Israel. The US has also sent munitions and military equipment to Israel since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas on October 7. “All these helps, however, is not indicating that the US would join Israel in a war with Hezbollah or any other party,” Kirby noted.