Rustem Klupov, a veteran of Russian military intelligence and a military expert, said that the US wants to draw Hezbollah into the Palestine-Israeli conflict.
On October 7, Gaza-based Hamas militants launched a cowardly assault against Israeli territory that resulted in the deaths and captures of numerous Israeli civilians and military personnel and sparked an Israeli military response that targeted the entire Palestinian enclave.
Hezbollah’s threats of repercussions against Israel if Tel Aviv moves forward with its planned ground campaign in the Gaza Strip have kept tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese border high.
Israeli forces continue to bombard the enclave with aircraft and artillery, but if Israeli ground forces were brought into Gaza, the Hezbollah movement, based in Lebanon, threatened to take up arms.
Rustem Klupov, a veteran of Russian military intelligence and a military expert, contends that Iran will have a significant influence on whether or not Hezbollah joins the fight.
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Tehran has never explicitly said that it funds the group, but it has highlighted that Iran and Hezbollah coordinate their efforts.
Although Hezbollah is unlikely to invade and seize control of a significant chunk of Israeli territory, Klupov claims that it is more than capable of annoying Israel’s security forces and that its rockets and missiles are capable of targeting targets almost anywhere in Israel.
“Because Hezbollah is not the kind of force that could, without Iran’s assistance, occupy even a portion of some Israeli territory,” he said, adding that Hezbollah probably “could go in, like Hamas did,” but likely would be unable to hold these territories.
He emphasized that Hezbollah fighters are a formidable force because many of them participated in the Syrian crisis, where they obtained crucial battle experience.
Klupov asserted that Hezbollah may be hesitant to “open a second front” in the northern parts of Israel because doing so would invite retaliation from both Israel and the United States, which “badly needs a short victorious war” and also has a sizable military presence in the area.
He also implied that a third party, like the US, would arrange a provocation that would involve Hezbollah in a fight.
“It may be portrayed as an attack by Hezbollah against Israel or some Christian settlements or something,” Klupov speculated. “It would be very beneficial for the Americans. The Americans are quite willing, they are interested in this region. They are quite interested in maintaining their presence in the region, their military-political and economic presence in the Middle East.”