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OPINION

More Mideast Worry: Are Israel, Hezbollah Headed for War?

natural gas facility in the middle east

Israel gas reserve, Israel Gas storage reservoir. Natural gas tanks in Israel. Exact location unknown. Undated photo. (Kar881am/Dreamstime.com)

George Papadopoulos By Tuesday, 25 June 2024 01:02 PM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

On June 23, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the "intense phase of the war with Hamas (Gaza) is about to end."

However, nature abhors a vacuum and so do geopolitics.

As one bloody conflict slowly ends, another is brewing to the north of Israel with Iranian proxy, Hezbollah.

The weak and feckless leadership of the Biden administration has invited and emboldened Iran to not only strike Israel directly with a foray of ballistic missiles and drones, but through its powerful paramilitary proxy, Hezbollah.

Hezbollah is not Hamas.

It has become the most heavily armed nonstate actor in the world with direct support from Iran, Russia and Syria with an estimated 130,000 rockets and missiles.

The last time the north of Israel was as unstable as it is now was in 2006 when both Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34 day intense war.

On June 18th the IDF announced that its general command had authorized operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon.

140,000 people have already been displaced on both sides of the border.

Fighting between Israel and Hezbollah has escalated since the day after the Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7, 2023, with rockets, anti tank missiles and drones fired into Israel.

These attacks have been followed by Israeli air strikes and artillery fire.

Senior Hezbollah commanders have been assassinated by Israel and Iranian targets have been hit in the region.

This portends escalation by both sides.

The region’s geopolitics are quickly shifting along this backdrop.

Turkey, a one time partner of Israel, has reoriented its foreign policy towards the east.

A secular country and bulwark against the Soviet Union during the cold war, Turkey, under the Erdogan regime, seeks a revanchist foreign policy, has reclaimed Islamism as a governing ideology at home and has embraced Russia, Iran and China abroad.

To the south of Turkey, a bonanza of natural gas discoveries last decade has transformed the region into a new source and route of energy for the global market.

Israel has turned into a net exporter of natural gas to its neighbors while its strategic and military partnership with both Greece and Cyprus allows it to train its pilots and soldiers against looming threats in the region and beyond.

On June 19, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatened the island of Cyprus.

Suggesting in a televised address that the island will be "part of this war too" in the event that it "opens its airports and bases to Israeli forces."

The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the European Union and in the event that conflict reaches the island then the European Union itself would be under attack.

Iran is making unprecedented progress in its nuclear program after sanctions relief by the Biden administration.

There is a major expansion inside Iran’s most heavily protected facility, the fordow enrichment plant, where production of enriched uranium has tripled, inspectors with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have confirmed.

It's now on the threshold of becoming a nuclear power while enjoying the sanctions relief given by the Biden administration to support and finance Hezbollah, Hamas, and attack American military personnel.

These developments coincide with a dramatic drop in American arms reaching Israel and the cancellation of a high-level forum on Iran where U.S. security officials were slated to participate.

What can we expect?

Heavy losses on both sides with the potential decommission of the Haifa port, a critical node of economic activity for Israel.

This will require regional partners, and allies of Israel, such as Cyprus, to play an oversized role. Cypriot ports can be temporarily available and UK air bases on the south of the island can be used to strike back deep into Lebanon should Israeli air bases come under attack.

It would behoove the Biden administration to broker a diplomatic arrangement to prevent a war. But the current architects of U.S. foreign policy have demonstrated that there is no coherent strategy for the greater region.

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Charles Brown, warned that should there be a war between Israel and Hezbollah to the north of Israel, then not only would it threaten the entire region but the conflict would make it very difficult for the U.S. to defend Israel.

The general also predicted that there is a strong possibility that Iran would enter into a direct war with Israel, too.

The region is currently in war.

The geopolitics have evolved, partnerships have changed, but the core of the potential conflagration is once again Israel in a proxy war with Iran. Netanyahu says that Israel will “stand alone” if it must.

With Donald Trump in office, Israel had no stronger and close partner than the United States. The Abraham accords ushered in an era of peace and stability, Iran was weakened and the threat of Islamist terror organizations seemed to be a relic of a bygone era.

In just over three years, the successful foreign policy of peace through strength and standing with Israel has been abandoned and replaced with weakness and ambivalence towards that nation.

Without U.S. leadership Israel will be left to fight this war, and potentially more, on its own. This makes America and the world less safe.

Never has a presidential election been more important for global peace and stability.

George Papadopoulos is a current Newsmax TV contributor and policy analyst. He has held previous roles as Foreign Policy Advisor on both the 2016 Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson presidential campaigns. Between 2011-2015 he worked as a research associate at the Hudson Institute think tank.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


GeorgePapadopoulos
As one bloody conflict slowly ends, another is brewing to the north of Israel with Iranian proxy, Hezbollah. Without U.S. leadership Israel will be left to fight this war, and potentially more, on its own. This makes America and the world less safe.
cyprus, hamas, hezbollah
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2024-02-25
Tuesday, 25 June 2024 01:02 PM
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