The US House of Representatives hastily passes a bill to send and involve US forces in a war in the Middle East. US forces will fight alongside Israel should the military conflict with Hamas escalate into a larger war with Hezbollah or even Iran.
According to American sources, “Israel will need help and ground military reinforcement in case Hezbollah and other Shiite forces of the Axis of Resistance open other fronts. The situation for Israel will be very difficult.”
“The White House has discussed the possibility of using military force if Hezbollah joins the war and attacks Israel with its massive rocket arsenal,” three US officials and one Israeli said.
For this reason, the top US general for the Middle East went to Tel Aviv.
“I am here to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself, and I am particularly focused on preventing other parties from expanding the conflict,” said CENTCOM chief General Kurila .
Top US military general for the Middle East is in Tel Aviv. “I’m here to ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself, and am particularly focused on avoiding other parties expanding the conflict,” CENTCOM chief Gen. Kurilla said. pic.twitter.com/8sVXGknTUL— Joseph Haboush (@jhaboush) October 17, 2023
CNN: The House of Representatives is preparing a bill to send American forces to Israel!
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul told CNN on Monday that his committee is working on a bill “in case it is necessary” to authorize US military force to engage on Israel’s side if the current conflict with Israel Hamas has expanded into a wider proxy war with Iran.
“I hope I never have to make use of this bill. But we have a situation in the Middle East that is growing day by day in tension, and if Hezbollah gets involved, Iran has already threatened… ,” he told CNN.
The revelation that his committee is working on a bill – known as the Authorization for Use of Military Force – is a sign that the US administration is deeply concerned about how the current crisis could escalate in a way that might require a US military response.
McCaul was careful not to say whether the White House had specifically requested such an authorization, telling reporters:
“I don’t want to confirm it (ss so requested). There’s just concern … we’re currently drafting a bill in case it’s necessary.”
When asked by CNN what that potential authorization might entail, McCaul said:
“I would prefer not to put Iran as a nation state there. It includes more of Iran’s proxies, you know, like Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militias, but if Iran is directly involved, then we have to put them on the list.”
In an interview later with CNN’s Caitlan Collins, McCaul said he would like any possible authorization to have the full support of the American people.
“I am currently preparing a draft in case it is requested and necessary, but the most important thing is that it is supported by the American people ,” he said.
CNN: House Foreign Affairs Committee drafting legislation authorizing military force if Israel-Hamas conflict expands pic.twitter.com/POh0sLf9pn— Apex 🎃 (@Apex_WW) October 17, 2023
The White House has discussed the US military response if Hezbollah attacks Israel!
The White House is discussing the possibility of using military force if Hezbollah joins the war in Gaza and attacks Israel with its massive rocket arsenal, three U.S. officials and one Israeli official familiar with the situation told Axios.
One of the US officials said the response the Biden administration received from Iran and Hezbollah through intermediaries was that while they did not want an escalation, they might have to intervene if Israel continued its military operation in Gaza.
The Biden administration followed those messages by sending two aircraft carriers and several other warships to the eastern Mediterranean and put more forces on alert for possible deployment in the region.
Two US officials said Secretary of State A. Blinken told regional Arab leaders he met with in recent days that the US was “not kidding” by sending so many troops into the region to support Israel.
The scenario of using US military force if Hezbollah joins the war has come up in several meetings at the White House in recent days, the officials said.
They added that any decision to use force would be made according to the scope of a Hezbollah attack and Israel’s ability to respond.
The two US officials stressed that the administration is doing everything it can to keep Hezbollah out of the war – but is also preparing for the opposite scenario.
The White House declined to comment.
In a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday, Biden expressed concern about the war expanding along the Israel-Lebanese border, US and Israeli officials said.
The officials said Biden asked Netanyahu to keep Israel Defense Forces (IDF) operations in Lebanon as low-key as possible and warned of a possible miscalculation that could lead to a serious escalation with Hezbollah.
One of the legal justifications for the US to use force in the event of a Hezbollah attack would be to protect the tens of thousands of American citizens living in Israel, said Jonathan Lord of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
“Under common understandings of Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the president can commit U.S. forces to hostilities to protect Americans abroad,” Lord said.
He added that if Biden made that decision, he would have to notify Congress within 48 hours under the War Powers Resolution of 1973. That would give Biden 60 days to act before requiring congressional authorization to use military force.
“The White House has been discussing the possibility of using military force if Hezbollah joins the war in Gaza and attacks Israel with its huge arsenal of rockets, three U.S. officials and one Israeli official with knowledge of the situation tell Axios.” https://t.co/jM69Lc13jq— Alireza Nader علیرضا نادر (@AlirezaNader) October 17, 2023
Top Israeli official predicts US ‘involvement’
Israel’s national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi did not rule out US “involvement” if the war with Hamas escalates.
“I make it clear to our enemies that if they even think about taking part in attacks against Israeli citizens then there will be American involvement ,” he said.
“Israel will not be alone … An American force is here and ready ,” he added, without elaborating further.
It is recalled that the US has sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East in recent days, while a second one is about to arrive. These are the USS Gerald Ford and the USS Eisenhower.
For his part, the head of the US Pentagon, Lloyd Austin, said that this move is aimed at preventing “any attempt to expand this war”.
The Pentagon said 2,000 troops were placed on “heightened alert” but no final decision has been made on their deployment.
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