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Pentagon chief recommends avoiding Israel-Hezbollah war but sends fighter jets to Israel anyway

  For U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin an immediate diplomatic solution is needed to  prevent a "costly war" between Israel and...

 For U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin an immediate diplomatic solution is needed to prevent a "costly war"between Israel and Lebanon despite "Hezbollah's provocations."

"Diplomacy is by far the best way to prevent more escalation. We're urgently seeking a diplomatic agreement that restores lasting calm to Israel’s northern border and enables civilians to return safely to their homes on both sides of the Israel-Lebanon border," Austin claimed to reporters during a meeting at the Pentagon with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on June 25.

Hezbollah and Israeli forces have exchanged fire on a near-daily basis since the beginning of the war in Gaza, but escalating attacks over the last several weeks have caused growing unease. And the U.S. official blamed the Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah's threats. "Hezbollah's provocations threaten to drag the Israeli and Lebanese people into a war that they do not want and such a war would be a catastrophe for Lebanon and it would be devastating for innocent Israeli and Lebanese civilians," Austin told Gallant. "Another war between Israel and Hezbollah could easily become a regional war with terrible consequences for the Middle East, and so diplomacy is by far the best way to prevent more escalation."

Previously, Gallant suggested Israel pursue a large-scale war against Hezbollah but during the meeting, he said he was "working closely" with Austin to find a diplomatic resolution. However, they also discussed military "readiness in every possible scenario." Gallant insisted on the threat of nuclear war with Iran, telling Austin that "time is running out." 

"The greatest threat to the future of the world and the future of our region is Iran," he told Austin. "Now is the time to realize the commitment of the American administrations over the years to promise to prevent Iran from possessing nuclear weapons." Austin's reply to Gallant indicated that the Biden regime "will always support Israel's right to defend itself and the United States will always ensure that Israel has what it needs to defend itself."

The defense chief vowed Washington's commitment to Israel as a third squadron of F-35 fighter jets is already set to make its way to Israel. "We stand together to ensure that Iran … can never achieve a nuclear weapon," Austin added.

However, Israeli military officials and experts continue to raise doubts about the army's capabilities in a scenario against Hezbollah. Israel Defense Forces chief General Yitzhak Brik previously said that "waging war on Hezbollah is a step tantamount to mass suicide," adding that the Israeli "army is small in size and it is unable to win even in one front and certainly not in six fronts at the same time."  

Iran FM warns if Israel's regime threatens destruction, it has to be destroyed as well

On Friday, Iran's mission to the United Nations posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that if Israel embarks on full-scale military aggression in Lebanon against Hezbollah, they will immediately retaliate and an obliterating war will ensue. "All options, including the full involvement of all resistance fronts, are on the table," it added.

Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded saying that if "Hezbollah does not cease its fire and withdraw from southern Lebanon, we will act against it with full force until security is restored and residents can return to their homes. A regime that threatens destruction deserves to be destroyed."

The Axis of Resistance, an informal Iranian-led political and military coalition in West Asia and North Africa, which includes Hezbollah, Hamas, Yemen's Houthis and other groups in Syria and Iraq has been targeting Israel since it started its genocidal retaliation to the initial Hamas attack in Gaza.

Iran itself also launched an unprecedented missile-and-drone strike on Israel on April 14, two weeks after an alleged Israel airstrike near Tehran's embassy in Damascus killed several senior officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Iranian strike was almost entirely repelled by Israel, the United States and other allies, though a seven-year-old girl was seriously injured in the attack.

Back on June 19, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said during a speech that no place in Israel would be spared from the group's weapons in case of a full-blown war, adding that Hezbollah would fight with "no rules" and "no ceilings." Nasrallah also blasted Cyprus for allowing Israel to use its territory for military exercises and appeared to threaten Israel’s offshore gas rigs. "Israel knows that what also awaits it in the Mediterranean is very big," the militant group's leader said.

Speaking at a ceremony commemorating senior Hezbollah commander Taleb Abdullah, whom Israel killed in an airstrike a week before, Nasrallah said the Shiite terror group does not want "total war" but is only acting in support of Hamas. "We will continue to support Gaza and we are ready for anything. We are not afraid," said Nasrallah. "Our demand is clear: A complete and permanent ceasefire in Gaza."

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