Former U.S. intelligence officer warns of potential Israel-Hezbollah war

Mann suggests that such a conflict could result in mass civilian casualties on both sides and potentially draw the United States into a larger regional conflict.

A former U.S. military intelligence analyst has raised alarm about the possibility of Israel initiating a war against Hezbollah, potentially as a means to ensure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s political survival. Harrison Mann, who recently left his position as a major in the Defence Intelligence Agency over disagreements with U.S. support for Israel’s actions in Gaza, shared his concerns in an interview with The Guardian.

Mann suggests that such a conflict could result in mass civilian casualties on both sides and potentially draw the United States into a larger regional conflict. His warnings come despite recent U.S. officials’ private assessments that Netanyahu’s government recognizes the dangers of confrontation with Hezbollah and is not actively seeking conflict.

Mann argues that Netanyahu’s need to maintain a wartime leadership role to prolong his political career and avoid corruption charges could be a driving factor in escalating tensions. Political pressure from tens of thousands of Israelis displaced due to Hezbollah’s rocket and artillery attacks could influence decision-making.

The Israeli military establishment reportedly believes a confrontation with the Iranian-backed Hezbollah is inevitable as the group grows stronger. Mann suggests that Israel may be underestimating both the destruction it would incur and the challenges of effectively combating Hezbollah.

Mann, who is the highest-ranking U.S. military officer to resign over the Gaza conflict, emphasizes that such a strategy could backfire. He criticizes the limits of Israel’s strategic thinking, suggesting that pre-emptive strikes aimed at deterrence might not have the intended effect.

This assessment comes amidst ongoing tensions in the region, with the Israel Defence Forces announcing in June that planning for a Lebanon offensive had been completed. As the situation continues to evolve, international observers remain vigilant about the potential for escalation in this volatile region.