A New Front Opens?

We are approaching nine months since the horrific events on October 7th launched the current phase of conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Despite efforts by the UN Security Council and the filings by South Africa at the International Criminal Court to either bring the fighting to an end or to have Israel do more to protect Palestian Civilians during operations, therre appears to be no end in sight to the conflict.

So what happens next? We may get an answer to that question in short order. Over the last couple of days Lebanon has become the epicenter of interest by pundits and analysts. Gradually tensions along the border between Israel and Lebanon have been ramping up. Hezbollah has been launching rockets into Northern Israel which precipitates reprisal strikes by the Israeli Defense Forces.

At the time of this posting (2000 UT) on 21 June there is speculation that the IDF will enter Lebanon to take on Hezbollah on June 24. That is the normal part of the speculation. Just a day before, the leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah made some interesting comments which included threatening Cyprus if it opens its airspace to allow Lebanon to be attacked.

Why would Nasrallah make this statement? One may consider this to be a case of Nasrallah trying to isolate Israel. But however there could be an ulterior motive lurking here. There is one Natural Gas field in the huge Eastern Mediterranean Gas Area tht just happens to lie along the Israeli-Lebanese Border. Could Nasrallah be thinking about getting access to the potential revenue stream that would be created? Also that Gas that will be shipped to Europe is transited to market via Cyprus.. On that level the ultimatum makes sense along with keeping a potential Israeli ally in check.

The threat of expanded conflict has compelled several nations to warn their nationals. Kuwait has already warned their nationals not to travel to Lebanon and has encouraged those currently in Lebanon to leave the country. There are now additional reports of a deployment of a small detachment of Canadian Troops in Lebanon preparing to evacuate their citizens as necessary.

One interesting concern ofr this is how much additional pressure the potential spread of the conflict could place on the Biden Administration. The Administration has faced pressure from students and activist groups regarding the support for the Israeli action in Gaza and there were several instances of non committal votes in the recent Democratic Primaries this past spring. There is a debate scheduled on June 27 with his immediate predecessor where this conflict is expected to be a topic of contention.

The opening of another front in this conflict may be seen as a failure in agreeing to and implementing a ceasefire. Both Hamas and Prime Mnister Netanyahu share responsibility for the continuation of this conflict. having it spread into Lebanon means that both sides are planning for an extracted period of conflict that benefits noone.

The longer the continues, the greater the chance for it tospread.

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