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US Likely to Wage War in Israel If Syria, Iran Get Involved: Ret. Gen.

  • The US will probably go to war in Israel if other countries get involved, a retired general said.
  • Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey said the US is keeping a close eye on countries like Iran and Syria.
  • The US on Sunday said it was sending an aircraft carrier strike group to patrol waters near Israel.

The US is likely to directly intervene with air and naval strikes if Israel’s existence is threatened, Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey said.

Speaking on Sunday on MSNBC’s “Weekends with Alex Witt,” the four-star US Army general described how such an escalation likely would only occur if Israel’s Middle Eastern neighbors became heavily involved.

“The other shoe we’re waiting to see if it drops is, will Hezbollah intervene out of Lebanon with their 100,000 some odd rockets? Will the West Bank ignite? And what will the Syrians and the Egyptians do?” McCaffrey said.

“I would suggest to you our support of Israel will be absolute, and if we see Syrian military intervention, active Iranian military intervention, we’ll go to war,” McCaffrey added.

Hamas militants launched a series of surprise attacks and rocket barrages against Israel on Saturday, killing hundreds and capturing dozens of hostages along the border of the Gaza Strip. Israel has declared war in response.

The Israel Defense Forces say 700 Israelis have been confirmed dead, while another 1,500 were wounded. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 400 Palestinians have been killed in retaliatory Israeli strikes, Reuters reported.

The US announced on Sunday that it is sending an aircraft carrier strike group, including F-35s and F-16s, to patrol the Eastern Mediterranean and deter all-out war involving Israel’s neighbors.

“They’re there for more than a show of force or a potential noncombatant evacuation,” McCaffrey, who served in the Gulf War and led the US Southern Command from 1994 to 1996, told MSNBC.

McCaffrey noted that this was his own assessment of the conflict and that there “is absolutely no way” that any US official would concur publicly that America could go to war in Israel.

“What I am saying is that if the existence of the State of Israel is at stake, if the Syrian military intervene, if Hezbollah started overwhelming the Israelis, in my judgment, at that point, we would consider actively intervening with air power and naval power,” he said.

However, it’s unlikely that the US would send troops into Israel, given the Israel Defense Forces’ own ground capabilities, McCaffrey added.

When asked if other US and Israel allies would also step in, McCaffrey said it was too early to discuss such a question with just Hamas directly involved.

“I think the deterrence factor is what the Biden administration is after right now. They want to make sure that the Syrian military and Hezbollah don’t enter this fray,” he said. “If they do, it’s going to be a lethal threat to the existence of Israel.”

The US State Department and Defense Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.

Hezbollah, a militant group in Lebanon, said on Sunday that it had fired rockets into the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed from Syria in 1981.

The shelling was in solidarity with the “Palestinian resistance,” the group said.

The Wall Street Journal also reported on Sunday that Iranian officials had partnered with Hamas since August to prepare for the incursions into Israel, citing people within both Hamas and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

US State Secretary Antony Blinken said US officials “have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack,” but noted the long-standing relationship between Hamas and Iran, WSJ reported.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday warned Israel of “grave consequences” and “serious repercussions” from escalating tensions with the Palestinians.

It called for both sides to exercise restraint and avoid civilian casualties, Reuters reported.

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