November 03, 2023

Preventing A Wider Middle East War

Originally published in The Liberal Patriot

After twenty days of airstrikes and limited raids to weaken Hamas’s infrastructure, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a ground offensive into Gaza last week. While on the offensive against in Gaza, Israel still must defend against attacks from other Iranian-backed groups, including the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah, which last went to war with Israel in 2006, and the Houthis, who recently displayed the breadth of the drone and missile capabilities when firing at southern Israel from Yemen. These defensive responsibilities prevent the IDF from bringing its full power to bear against Hamas.

America’s support for Israel—its right to exist and defend itself—and the U.S. military aid arriving in Israel on a near-daily basis has also put American troops based in the region within the crosshairs of Iranian-backed groups. No one in Washington wants the United States pulled into another war in the Middle East, and keeping American involvement in the Israel-Hamas war (which includes troops advising the IDF) separate from Iranian proxy activities has been paramount. But U.S. troops would be under threat regardless, given previous attack patterns targeting U.S. forces.

No one in the region—including Iran—has an interest in a broader war, as Ken Pollack so smartly outlines. But while all of the incentives to contain and deescalate this conflict exist, one spark could ignite the Middle East tinderbox.

Read the full article at The Liberal Patriot