Events follow on from one another, but we don’t really understand them. The United States has nothing against Lebanon, even if it does not like Hezbollah. However, they will support Israel if Tel Aviv engages in a war. They then risk putting their finger in a fateful gear. Hezbollah being militarily superior to Israel, they will be forced to come and crush it. Iran will defend Lebanon; and the United States, which is currently negotiating with Tehran in secret, will find itself at war with it. Benjamin Netanyahu will claim, as he has done for fourteen years, that Tehran is on the verge of producing nuclear bombs in order to finish off the Jews. Washington would then be invited to nuke Iran.
This scenario clashes with the views of Russia and China, two superpowers that participated in the Vienna negotiations on the JCPOA, and both of whom are convinced that there has been no Iranian military nuclear program since 1988.

• Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown warned that an Israeli offensive on Lebanon "may increase the risk of a broader conflict." "Hezbollah is more capable than Hamas in terms of overall capacity, number of rockets, etc. And I would just say that I would see Iran being more inclined to provide greater support to Hezbollah," he told reporters during a trip to Cape Verde. He noted that the United States supported Israel against Iran last April, but would probably not be able to do so this time.

• However, in a video posted on X, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu revealed what he had told Secretary of State Antony Blinken: "It is inconceivable that in recent months, the [Biden] administration has denied Israel weapons and ammunition. America’s closest ally, fighting for its life, fighting against Iran and our other common enemies (...) During World War II, Churchill told the United States, ’Give us the tools, we’ll get the job done.’ And I say, ’give us the tools, and we’ll finish the job much faster.’"
Amos Hochstein warned Benjamin Netanyahu that he had "exaggerated" by publishing this video.

• The White House cancelled a strategic meeting with the Jewish state, intended to study the progress of Iran’s nuclear program, under the chairmanship of National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, and in the presence of Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer. In the end, only director of the Israeli Security Council Tzachi Hanegbi will be received.

• In a new video, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "We started to see a few months ago that important issues were starting to emerge. And in fact, we tried... to smooth out this decrease in supply. And we have not been able to solve it. This is crucial in our common war to defeat Hamas, and to prevent an escalation in Lebanon from turning it into a full-blown war."

• Spokesman for the U.S. Security Council Admiral John Kirby called the remarks "deeply disappointing and certainly embarrassing for us given the amount of support we are giving and will continue to provide." He commented on them by saying that "even though there had been a pause, about those 2,000-pound bombs... the idea that we had somehow stopped helping the Jewish state with their self-defense needs is simply not accurate."

• The United States commented on the decrease in ammunition exports to the Jewish state: "We have made our position clear on this issue many times, and we will not continue to respond to the prime minister’s political statements. We look forward to constructive consultations with Defense Minister Gallant in Washington this week."

• Israeli officials, including Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer and National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, White House Middle East Affairs Coordinator Brett McGurk, and other Biden administration officials. According to CNN, the United States is ready to support the Jewish state and offer security assistance in the event of an all-out war with Hezbollah.

• U.S. ambassador to Jerusalem Jacob Lew said at a conference at Reichman University in Herzliya: "There is no change in U.S. support for Israel. This means that, even though it was very difficult, Washington has provided and continues to provide a huge amount of humanitarian aid, and we have been helpful — and that makes a strategic difference to Israel’s ability to continue and win."

• Secretary of Defense General Lloyd Austin received his Israeli counterpart, General Yoav Gallant. He said that "Hezbollah’s provocations threaten to drag the Israelis and Lebanese into a war that neither of them wants." He warned of a war that "would be catastrophic for Lebanon, and that would be devastating for innocent Israeli and Lebanese civilians."
But Yoav Gallant said: "The biggest threat to the future of the world and the future of our region is Iran – and time is running out. The time has come to fulfill the commitment of the U.S. administrations over the years, promising to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon."

• General Yoav Gallant also met with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. The latter "briefed him on ongoing diplomatic efforts to advance security, governance and reconstruction in Gaza in a post-conflict period and stressed the importance of this work for Israel’s security."
According to spokesman for the State Department Matthew Miller, General Yoav Gallant assured Antony Blinken that he wanted a diplomatic settlement with Iran. "The eyes of our enemies and friends are looking at the relationship between the Israelis and the United States — we must resolve our problems quickly, this is how we will achieve our goals and weaken our enemies," he said.

• The United States has rescheduled the strategic dialogue meeting with Israel. It was supposed to take place last week, but was cancelled in response to a video in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly criticized Washington for slowing down its ammunition deliveries. The meeting is expected to focus on Iran’s nuclear program.

•According to Politico, U.S. officials have warned Hezbollah that they may not be able to prevent the Jewish state from attacking Lebanon.
Two U.S. officials also said Washington would help the Jewish state defend itself if Hezbollah retaliated against an Israeli attack. They stressed that Lebanon should not rely on the United States to hinder Israel’s decision-making.

This is the editorial from our paywalled "Voltaire, international newsletter", n°93. For more information, do not hesitate to subscribe: 150€ per year or 15€ per month.

Gregor Fröhlich