While the world’s attention is focused on the war raging between Israel and Hamas, the military confrontation between the United States and Hezbollah is heating up. Since the Hamas attacks on 7 October and the subsequent retaliation by Israel, U.S. military bases and outposts in Syria and Iraq are facing daily attacks with rocket, missiles and mortars. I learned today from someone who regularly visits Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland that the wards are filling up with U.S. military personnel wounded in recent attacks on those bases.
The White House and the Department of Defense are working actively to suppress this information, apparently out of fear that the American public will recoil at news of the losses and step up pressure for the United States to get out of Iraq and Syria.
Hezbollah leader Nasrallah was very clear in his sermon a week ago (Friday) that if the United States attacks Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria that Hezbollah will retaliate. The New York Post just reported that U.S. combat aircraft hit an Iranian weapons storage base in Syria:
US warplanes struck a weapons storage facility used by Iran and its proxies in eastern Syria shortly after Tehran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen shot down an American MQ-9 Reaper drone.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strike was in response to more than three dozen attacks on American military sites across Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17. . . .
The Biden administration has vowed not to get in direct combat on Israel’s behalf, but US forces remain in the region on a counter-ISIS mission, while the Pentagon dispatched two aircraft carrier strike groups to the eastern Mediterranean following Hamas’ savage Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel that killed more than 1,400 people — including at least 33 Americans.
This was not a strategic blow to Iran and Hezbollah. It is a tit-for-tat strike that is certain to inspire Iran and Hezbollah to escalate attacks on U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq and to conduct more strikes on Israeli positions in northern Israel. The combat between the United States and Hezbollah is escalating and there is no sign that either side is prepared to backdown. Nasrallah is set to give a new sermon on Saturday and is expected to address the recent attacks on Hezbollah and civilians in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, the war is raging in Gaza, with both Israeli Defense Forces and Hamas and PIJ (Palestinian Islamic Jihad) claiming successes. Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, is keeping a running list of Israel’s KIAs since October 7. You can see the list here.
Israel has a clear advantage in tanks and air power. Hamas has the advantage of fighting on its home turf. I think it will be weeks before we know the true story of the losses incurred in this horror.
Israel is facing mounting international diplomatic pressure, including from the Biden Administration. All of the BRICS nations, with the exception of India, are condemning Israel’s indiscriminate bombing as a war crime and calling for a ceasefire. Netanyahu, so far, is refusing to back off.