US Officials Think Netanyahu Might See War in Lebanon as Key to Political Survival

A DIA intelligence assessment found Israel would probably not be able to beat Hezbollah if there's a significant escalation in Lebanon

Some US officials are concerned that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might see an expanded war in Lebanon as key to his political survival, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

Polls show the majority of Israelis want Netanyahu to resign once the campaign in Gaza is over, giving him the incentive to continue the slaughter and escalate the situation into a regional conflict that draws in the US.

Hezbollah and its leader Hasan Nasrallah, on the other hand, are not seeking a wider war, according to the US officials who spoke with the Post. But the two sides continue to trade significant fire across the border, which has increased since Israel escalated the situation by launching a drone strike in Beirut last week that killed a senior Hamas official.

On Monday, an Israeli airstrike in Lebanon killed Wissam Hassan Tawil, a top Hezbollah commander, escalating the situation even further. Israeli officials also continue to threaten a major war in Lebanon if Hezbollah does not move back from the Israeli border.

In his latest threat, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel could “copy-paste” the destruction in Gaza into Beirut. Gallant has said Israel’s open to diplomacy, but US officials concede a deal with Hezbollah is unlikely as long as Israel is still slaughtering Palestinians in Gaza.

An intelligence assessment from the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) found that if the situation in Lebanon does escalate, Israel would have a hard time-fighting Hezbollah. The Post report reads: “A new secret assessment from the [DIA] found that it will be difficult for Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to succeed because its military assets and resources would be spread too thin given the conflict in Gaza.”

The report said the US is putting pressure on Israel not to escalate the situation, and that will be part of Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s talks while he visits Israel on Tuesday. But the Biden administration is not using its leverage as it’s still providing Israel with unconditional military aid and backing in the region.

US officials told HuffPost that they believe President Biden’s policy of unconditional military aid to Israel could embolden Israel to expand in Lebanon and lead the US into a major Middle East war. “Every scenario shows this would escalate into something terrible… whether in terms of counterterrorism or war with Iran,” one official said, citing Pentagon war games.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.