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Former NATO commander explains how Israel-Hamas war could expand

Nature

Amid growing tensions in the war between Israel and Hamas, former NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis explained on Saturday how Iran could “trigger a wider conflict.”

On October 7, Hamas carried out the deadliest Palestinian militant attack in history against Israel. Israel then launched its heaviest ever airstrikes on Gaza. As of Saturday, at least 1,400 people had been killed in Israel, the Associated Press reported, citing the Israeli government. More than 7,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, the AP reported. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country was “at war” and had cut off supplies of food, fuel, electricity and medicine to Gaza.

In an interview on MSNBC The Katie Phang Show On Saturday, Stavridis outlined how Hezbollah, a Lebanese militant group backed by Iran, could escalate the escalating conflict between Israel, Lebanon and the Middle East region.

“Someone asked me in an interview a few days ago, ‘What could trigger a larger conflict?’ There is a one word answer, and it is Iran. Iran because it controls this evil creature it created, Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist organization that is 10 times bigger than Hamas in Gaza. Iran created them, armed them, “They have 130,000 surface missiles ready to launch at Israel. If Iran chooses to launch them, we will have a wider war,” he said.

A local citizen searches buildings destroyed during Israeli air raids in the southern Gaza Strip on October 23 in Khan Yunis, Gaza. Former NATO commander explains how Iran could escalate conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

Stavridis added that another path Iran could choose to escalate the conflict involves the possible closure of the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway that connects the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

This is considered important given that approximately one-fifth of the volume of total global oil consumption passes through the strait daily.

“Or Iran could choose to close the Strait of Hormuz, 35 percent of the world’s oil goes through there, we have a broader war. The administration is very focused on Iran,” Stavridis said.

According to Reuters, since the Israel-Hamas conflict, analysts and market observers have noted that the conflict could prompt the United States to strengthen sanctions against Iran, which could prompt Tehran to take retaliatory measures against the ships in the Strait of Hormuz.

“If the conflict widens to include the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil shipping channel, it would shut down the region’s oil trade, leading to higher oil prices. oil,” JP Morgan said in a note, according to the news agency.

At the same time, deep concerns remain over Iran’s role in supporting Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel, as well as Tehran’s threats of escalation in the face of Israel’s imminent ground offensive in Gaza.

As concerns grow, the House Foreign Affairs Committee said last week it was preparing legislation to greenlight the deployment of U.S. military force to the Middle East if Iranian-backed forces were involved in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the commission chairman said. said.

“I hope I never have to kill this bill,” Rep. Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, told CNN on Monday, adding that lawmakers were drafting the bill “in case it’s necessary.”

“But we have a situation in the Middle East that is getting worse day by day with intensity,” he said. “And if Hezbollah gets involved, Iran has already threatened…if the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) enters Gaza, they will exit.”

Additionally, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CBS last week: “We cannot rule out that Iran chooses to engage directly in some way. We must prepare for every possible eventuality. That’s exactly what the president did.”

Although it is unclear whether Iran will choose to escalate the conflict, Stavridis said Saturday that the Marines are waiting and ready to support Israel.

“I’ll end with something you don’t hear in the microphones, and that’s the sound of two carrier strike groups, 2,000 marines in the waters off the coast of Lebanon, cutting through these waters and very ready to support Israel by striking Hezbollah, if Iran launches this attack,” he said.

News week contacted Stavridis via email for additional comment.