Former US Intelligence Analyst Says Israel Risking War in Lebanon for Netanyahu’s Political Survival

Former Army Maj. Harrison Mann recently resigned over US support for Israel

A former US military intelligence analyst has warned that Israel is risking a major war in Lebanon for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political survival.

Former US Army Maj. Harrison Mann resigned from the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency earlier this year over the US’s backing of the Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza and has been speaking out against President Biden’s policy of full-throated support for Israel.

In comments to The Guardian, Mann said, “We know specifically that the Israeli prime minister must continue to be a wartime leader if he wants to prolong his political career and stay out of court, so that motivation is there.”

His comments echo a report from The Washington Post that was published at the beginning of the year. It said US officials were concerned that Netanyahu might view war in Lebanon as key to his political survival.

Mann said he expects Israel to target residential areas in southern Lebanon in the event of a full-blown war, a tactic known as the Dahiya Doctrine, named after a neighborhood in Beirut that Israel bombarded in 2006.

“It’s not like an actual written doctrine, but I think we can be very comfortable assessing that bombing civilian centers as a way to compel the enemy is clearly an accepted and shared belief in the IDF and Israeli leadership. We’ve just seen them do it in Gaza for the past nine months,” Mann said.

He warned that Hezbollah would be able to hit back hard against Israel. “They probably have the ability to at least partially overwhelm Israel’s air defenses, strike civilian infrastructure around the country, and inflict a level of destruction on Israel that I’m not sure Israel has really ever experienced in its history – certainly not in its recent history,” he said.

Mann said that the heavy bombardment of Israeli cities would make it more likely that the US would get directly involved. “Our least escalatory participation will be possibly striking supply lines or associated targets in Iraq and Syria to help cut off lines of communication and armaments flowing to Hezbollah,” he said. “But that on its own is risky, because if we start doing that, some of the people that we hit could be Hezbollah, but they could be IRGC [Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps].”

Iran has warned Israel that a full-scale assault on Lebanon would lead to an “obliterating war” in the region. It’s unclear if Iran would intervene directly, but it’s likely that the allied Shia militias in Iraq and Syria would get involved.

Mann said he didn’t expect the Biden administration to choose to target Iran directly but warned that the risk of a direct US-Iran war would increase significantly. “I trust the administration not to do that, but I think between us or the Israelis striking Iranian targets outside of Iran, the risk of escalation is also going to get much higher,” he said.

The US claims it’s working hard to avoid a war in Lebanon, but it continues to provide strong support for Israel, which could embolden Netanyahu to escalate the situation. Middle East Eye recently reported that the US has conveyed to Lebanon that it would ultimately support Israel if a full-blown war breaks out.

Author: Dave DeCamp

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