US & Israel Poised to Open Lebanon Front

M.K. Bhadrakumar analyzes developments in the past few days, including the U.S. announcement that it is deploying a huge nuclear submarine near the war zone.

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier strike group and USS USS Gerald R. Ford carrier strike groups in the Eastern Mediterranean amid the 2023 American–Middle East conflict, Nov. 3. (U.S. Navy, Wikimedia Commons, Public domain)

By  M.K. Bhadrakumar
Indian Punchline

The announcement late Sunday night by the U.S. Central Command headquartered in Doha about the arrival of an Ohio-class U.S. nuclear submarine in its “area of responsibility” presages a significant escalation of the Palestine-Israel conflict.

It is very rare that the use of these submarines is publicized. CENTCOM provided no additional details but it posted an image that apparently showed an Ohio-class submarine in Egypt’s Suez Canal Bridge. Interestingly, CENTCOM also separately shared an image of a nuclear-capable B-1 bomber operating in the Middle East.

Taken together, these U.S. deployments, coming on top of the formidable  presence of two aircraft carriers and warships hundreds of advanced jet fighters in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea respectively, have an eye on “the other side of the equation,” as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken quaintly described Hamas, Hezbullah and Iran during his latest visit to Tel Aviv on Friday.

In a related development, perhaps, C.I.A. Director William Burns arrived in Israel on Sunday for urgent consultations. The New York Times reported that the US is “looking to expand its intelligence sharing with Israel.”

Burns on Jan. 29, 2019, while he was director of the Carnegie Endowment for International Development USA during the “Nuclear Brinksmanship” session at theWorld Economic Forum in Davos. (World Economic Forum / Ciaran McCrickard, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Arguably, the most charitable explanation for the deployment of a U.S. nuclear submarine, which forms part of the Pentagon’s “nuclear triad” — Ohio-class boats are the largest submarines ever built for the U.S. Navy — near the war zone is that the Biden administration is preparing for an escalation of the war into Lebanon to draw out Hezbollah, which may in turn trigger an Iranian reaction.

In his speech on Friday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah seemed to anticipate precisely such a turn of events when he explicitly warned Washington of consequences that couldn’t be any different from the catastrophic U.S. involvement in Lebanon’s civil war in the early 1980s.

Ironically, this is also the 40th anniversary year of the suicide bombing of the barracks that housed U.S. forces in Beirut International Airport in October 1983 in which 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers were killed forcing a U.S. withdrawal from Lebanon. (See my blog  Hezbollah takes to the high ground.)

The ruins of U.S. Marine headquarters at Beirut International airport following suicide bombings on Oct. 23, 1983. (U.S. National Archives, Public domain)

[Related: AS’AD AbuKHALIL: Nasrallah & the Future of the War]

Clearly, the locus of the U.S. strategy may be shifting from diplomacy, which has anyway lost traction. Blinken’s desperate attempts to address the mounting international criticism of Israel’s horrific war crimes by diverting attention to a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting was unceremoniously shot down by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

[Related: Blinken’s Humiliation]

The point is, after pounding Gaza and its people with artillery and bombs, the Israeli army moved in on Friday. So far, it has reportedly advanced to the outskirts of Gaza City but has not entered the Hamas stronghold. Fierce urban fighting is expected when it does.

Arab Ministers Demand Ceasefire

Blinken, right foreground, on Nov. 4 with ministers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, U.A.E., Egypt and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Amman, Jordan. (State Department, Chuck Kennedy)

Equally, the Biden administration’s hurried attempt to promote a vague outline for a post-war Gaza that might include a combination of a revitalised Palestinian Authority, a peacekeeping force was met by a distinct lack of enthusiasm at Blinken’s meeting in the weekend in Amman with the Arab foreign ministers —from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. They instead demanded an immediate ceasefire, for which Blinken said Washington would not push.

Blinken traveled to Ramallah from Amman where the head of the Palestine Authority Mahmoud Abbas also gave him short shrift, saying that the PA would only be ready to shoulder full responsibility for the Gaza Strip in the framework of a “comprehensive political solution” that would include the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza.

He added that security and peace can only be achieved by ending the occupation of the territories of the “state of Palestine” and by recognising East Jerusalem as its capital. The meeting lasted for less than an hour and ended without public statements.

Blinken with Abbas at the Muqata in Ramallah, West Bank on Nov. 5. (State Department, Chuck Kennedy)

Meanwhile, China and the U.A.E. have since called for a closed-door meeting of the U.N. Security Council in another attempt to seek an immediate ceasefire, which the Biden administration will certainly oppose. The Biden administration feels boxed in and the only way out is by something giving way through coercive means.

The U.S. is watching with frustration as new regional equations are appearing among Muslim nations. The foreign ministers of Iran and Saudi Arabia held another phone conversation on Monday. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation later announced that an extraordinary summit will be held in Riyadh on Nov. 12 at the request of its current chairman, Saudi Arabia, to discuss Israel’s attacks on the Palestinian people.

Certainly, the Iran-Saudi rapprochement, mediated by Beijing, has profoundly transformed the regional security environment with regional states distinctly preferring to find solutions to their problems without outside interference. The old schisms and xenophobia promoted by the U.S. to perpetuate its dominance no longer have any takers.

[Related: Seismic Iran-Saudi Rapprochement Isolates US]

As the death toll in Gaza crosses 10,000, feelings are indeed running high in the Muslim world. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said Monday that “all the evidence and indications show the direct involvement of the Americans in running the war” in Gaza. Khamenei added that as the war goes on, the reasons behind the U.S. direct role would become more explicit.

Iran’s ‘Permanent Policy’ 

Haniyeh in Moscow in March 2020. (, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 4.0)

The Fars News Agency, which is close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, also disclosed that Khamenei held a “recent meeting in Tehran” with Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’ political bureau, in which he told Haniyeh that Tehran’s support for the resistance groups is its “permanent policy.”

Evidently, Tehran no longer sees a problem in acknowledging its fraternal links with the resistance groups. This is a paradigm shift indicative of the new power dynamic, which the U.S. and Israel are compelled to counter through use of force, Washington’s diplomacy having failed to to isolate Iran.

The chief of the Israeli General Staff, Herzi Halevi, said on Sunday during a meeting in the Northern Command,

“We are ready to strike in the north at any moment. We understand that it can happen… We have a clear goal of restoring a significantly better security situation at the borders, not only in the Gaza Strip.”

No power on Earth can stop Israel in its tracks now. Its stability and defence is inextricably linked to this war, which will also ensure the abiding U.S. commitment to its security as a key template of Washington’s global strategy for the foreseeable future.

Therefore, Israel’s best chance of survival lies in expanding the scope of the war in Gaza into Lebanon — and possibly even into Syria — shoulder-to-shoulder with the Americans.

There is no question that the location of the U.S. nuclear submarine to the east of Suez is an attempt to intimidate Iran from intervening, while  Israel, with US backing, proceeds to open a second front in Lebanon. The Israeli authorities have announced the evacuation of people from settlements located in a zone up to five kilometers from the border with Lebanon.

A war of an indeterminate timeline is set to begin in the Middle East. As the call of the jihad begins, inevitably, there is no knowing how the 80-year old U.S. president will respond.

No, this won’t turn into a world war. It will be fought in the Middle East only, but its outcome will significantly impact the making of a new multipolar world order. The past month has shown the precipitous decline of U.S. influence and the highly volatile global environment since the war began in Ukraine in February last year.

M.K. Bhadrakumar is a former diplomat. He was India’s ambassador to Uzbekistan and Turkey. Views are personal.

This article originally appeared on Indian Punchline.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

28 comments for “US & Israel Poised to Open Lebanon Front

  1. Tony
    November 10, 2023 at 09:11

    “The announcement late Sunday night by the U.S. Central Command headquartered in Doha about the arrival of an Ohio-class U.S. nuclear submarine in its “area of responsibility” presages a significant escalation of the Palestine-Israel conflict.”

    Yes, okay. Worth bearing in mind though that we do not appear to have the actual name of the submarine and so we do not know what its armaments are. 4 of those submarines were later retro-fitted to carry conventionally-armed cruise missiles instead of nuclear-armed ballistic missiles.

    “Interestingly, CENTCOM also separately shared an image of a nuclear-capable B-1 bomber operating in the Middle East.”

    Yes, it was originally a carrier of nuclear bombs but got converted to carry conventional bombs around 30 years ago.

    Still a cause for concern, of course, but these points are important too.

  2. Realist
    November 10, 2023 at 00:21

    Incredible. The United States just never stops escalating every conflict on this planet, whatever the cause and whomever the opponents, into an existential crisis for all of humanity and civilisation itself. The fools in Washington established this policy years ago in the proxy war they ginned up against Russia versus Ukraine. They’ve repeatedly upped the ante in terms of the weaponry, training and financial support supplied to the Ukrainians for nearly a decade until both the exceptional country and its orchiectomised lackeys in Nato have no more left to “give” short of a nuclear fusillade against Russia, China and Iran (the latter just for ducks). They’ve now outdone themselves one more time–quite possibly the last. Aping the Americans, Pakistan has promised to arm Turkiye with thermonuclear devices should it be taken to the brink by America’s lunatic leaders. Perhaps Russia, sensing its own likely annihilation in such a last round of American escalation, would care to share its unstoppable hypersonic missiles with the now nuclear-armed Arab/Islamic world? Or maybe, in a final recognition of irrefutable reality, simply finish off the ferocious American maniacs itself in redress for the many threats, insults, sanctions, thefts, headaches and mind-games endlessly aimed at it for the better part of a century.

    • Bob
      November 10, 2023 at 09:36

      Yep, the US is not going to give up its hegemony without a massive amount of death and destruction.

      We can only hope that Europe, Japan and Korea turn away from the US warmonger and make a stand.

  3. Robert
    November 9, 2023 at 19:21

    US Central Command stated that one of its nuclear submarines “was moved to its area of responsibility”. In a rational world a US submarines area of responsibility would be in water offshore to the United States, not many thousands of miles away among countries hostile to it.

    Every American should be worried that decisions involving war and peace are being made by 3 war addicted lunatics (Blinken, Sullivan, and Nuland) who then have to go through the formality of getting approval for the carnage from an 80 year old never very bright now demented President of the United States.

  4. November 9, 2023 at 15:36

    Duplicity and deceit galore. Is unconscionable and immoral…but that never stopped ourgovernment from military action.
    No stoppage of the atrocity by Biden because this is the plan.The entire US and western media is hoodwinked and doesn’t have a real intelligent and analytical journalist or commented. I contact my Congressman and Senators everyday. NO action but support for JB.

  5. November 9, 2023 at 12:06

    B at Moon of Alabama last month opined that the U.S. buildup in the Mideast is aimed at kicking the Russians out of Syria in revenge for the Ukraine defeat. hXXps://

    Ali Khameni isn’t the only one who believes that the U.S. is running the Gaza show for the Israelis:

    “These actions leave little doubt that it is Washington taking the lead in this war, not Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister, or his chief of staff. Tel Aviv isn’t remotely trying to conceal this fact either. As prominent Israeli journalist Yossi Yehoshua stated, ‘the United States has complete control over the battle in Gaza.’” Hasan Illaik (17 October 2023), Trouble ahead for the US and Israel in Gaza. The Cradle. Available at: hXXps:// (Accessed: 21 October 2023).

    • Jack Lomax
      November 9, 2023 at 16:46

      We are witnessing the death throes of the American Empire as its controlling element the Zionists who are otherwise referred to as the Neocons in America and as the Jews in Israel fail in their attempts to repress one of their chief opponents in their proxy war in Ukraine and struggle to keep the control of Zionist Israel alive and well in the Middle East… RIP

    • robert e williamson jr
      November 9, 2023 at 19:03

      A couple of things Paul. !. Do you have any thoughts on this thought. The U.S & Donald Trump abandoned the Nuclear Deal in progress with Iran, Israel continued to kill young Palestinians keeping tensions high.

      Jan 2, 2020 US announced a strike that killed Iranian Quds Force Maj, Gen Solimani.

      It would seem that any leverage the US may have had while working on a non-proliferation nuke deal would have disappeared immediately. The result may have been a disillusioned Iran who decided to support Hezbollah.

      Trump again at the helm when the US pulled off this hit, but why such an abrupt change n direction.

    • Curmudgeon
      November 10, 2023 at 12:57

      I generally agree with your comment, but think it should be re-focused. The US is “taking the lead”, but is doing so because the US Congress and Administration is a wholly owned subsidiary of Israel. AIPAC determines who will be elected in virtually all cases. Bibi the Nutty-yahoo brags about it, and so does AIPAC itself.

  6. November 9, 2023 at 11:45

    It looks like the US is about to exercise “its final solution” for the Middle East,
    and Tony Blinken becomes Dr. Death… it follows where ever he goes.

  7. CaseyG
    November 9, 2023 at 11:42

    Besides murdering people all around the world—–besides that—what is America good at doing? Although they aren’t able to create winnable wars, this nation certainly does manage to murder millions. : (And too, “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union……” Not having wars around the world still seems like a good idea…military. When will you follow that?

  8. James White
    November 9, 2023 at 08:20

    Roger Waters suggested that the Hamas attack in Israel could have been a false flag operation.
    Roger Waters is a bit on the edge but having lost his father in WW2 and his grandfather in WW1,
    his anti-war views are bonafide and consistent.
    While I don’t see obvious any evidence of that, it has long been suggested that FDR
    knew in advance about the attack on Pearl Harbor and let it go forward to bring
    the U.S. into WW2. The U.S. had broken the Japanese Naval signal codes and
    likely knew more than nothing about the potential for an attack on Pearl Harbor.
    It is plausible that Israel knew in advance of the Hamas attack and let it go forward
    so that Israel would then be justified in laying waste to Gaza, once and for all. Mossad
    is possibly the most effective spy agency in the world. Egypt and other countries are
    on record that they knew in advance that something was brewing. It is hard to believe
    that Mossad knew nothing about it.
    Netanyahu’s references to Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 attacks are constant. His target
    audience is very specifically the U.S. Congress and to a lesser extent, the U.S. voter.
    Since our own government lies to us on a regular basis and almost completely gets
    away with it, it could be that Bibi has followed their example.
    As Rep. Comer closes in on the banking details of the Biden crime family. Joe Biden
    will seek to find anything to distract attention from his shameful, corrupt dealings.
    That makes the risk of escalation in Ukraine or the Middle East acute right now. Blinken
    is a disaster but expect the DNC to keep the lies and Psy-Ops running over the upcoming year.

    • JonnyJames
      November 9, 2023 at 12:08

      I had also read that the British had cracked the Japanese diplomatic code and shared that info with FDR. It is no secret that Churchill had been pleading with FDR to join the war.

      As far as US politics goes: there is no way to vote against the interests of the oligarchy: the MIC, BigOil, BigPharma, BigTech,Wall St. Banksters, etc.

      Don’t like the Ds? Whadda we gonna do? Vote R?

      In the last 4 decades that I can recall personally, living standards have fallen, quality of life has fallen, while environmental destruction increases, corruption and institutionalized corruption increase, abuse of power increases, and the imperial wars and crimes continue unabated. No matter which faction of the de-facto one-party state is in power, the decline continues. Elections Inc. are merely lucrative PR stunts.

      • Dudley Doolittle
        November 9, 2023 at 22:25

        Actually, it was the Americans who cracked the Japanese diplomatic codes … but they had trouble feeding the info to the Americans.

        The Japanese had sent a long 14 part message to their diplomats in DC. It was supposed to be delivered to the American government half an hour before the Pearl Harbor attack was planned. But, the security chiefs wouldn’t let their skilled typists handle the message, so the diplomats were secure but slow in typing it up themselves. They delivered it just after the bombing thus the American claims of a ‘surprise attack’. America later claimed the right to nuke two cities because of the slow typing.

        The Americans had decoded the message themselves, and had tried to warn Pearl Harbor, but the radios had solar interference and they sent the warning via non-urgent telegram. It was delivered to the Admiral a hour or so after the war had begun.

  9. susan
    November 9, 2023 at 07:28

    “No, this won’t turn into a world war.” What Mr. M.K. Bhadrakumar, do you have a crystal ball or something? It looks to me as if that is exactly where we are headed!

    • David Otness
      November 9, 2023 at 10:31

      I agree, Susan. Some unpredictabilities are predictable. Once the ball starts rolling, gravity takes over on the downhill slope we’re on. And it’s a very rocky one at that. The path is peril-filled.

    • Tim N
      November 9, 2023 at 14:19

      Yeah, boy I hope he’s right. But I think he may be wrong.

    • Dave Z
      November 9, 2023 at 15:05

      I, too, agree that these actions, which “send a very clear signal “, literally threaten nuclear war. Had this been that “madman”, Putin, it would not have been buried in the news cycle!

      Our first strike policy is capricious.

  10. Paul Citro
    November 9, 2023 at 07:28

    The US is now waving around nuclear weapons. This is insane. What’s in your fallout shelter?

  11. Sol
    November 9, 2023 at 03:59

    Perhaps is time to remind the world about the king David hotel terror attack and how the same terrorists became the founders of that genocidal apartheid ruled military occupation we are told to call state.
    And perhaps , the US navy personals should also be reminded of what happened in 1967 to the Us ss liberty, and how its surviver got treated by their beloved president and government, because by look of things, it is something which is about to once again happen

    • Charles E. Carroll
      November 9, 2023 at 12:52

      Always, Remember the Liberty!

  12. Steve
    November 9, 2023 at 03:34

    USA diplomacy is solely based around killing people, might is right, it does not involve discussion, negotiation and compromise. If the USA was serious about stopping Israels genocide and expansion it could easily do it. Stop funding them and stop supplying them with arms. Force them to act like rational human beings if they want western money and support. Of course, the USA won’t do this, so the killing will continue. And, of course, if peace broke out then the courts would be able to proceed with criminal action against Bibi and Joe – can’t have that happening.

  13. Billi
    November 9, 2023 at 02:15

    what about Idonesia in all this? It’s the largest Muslim country, its response matters. Any ideas?

  14. Dr. Hujjathullah M.H.B. Sahib
    November 9, 2023 at 00:18

    Eisenhower would be twisting uncomfortably in his grave to learn that his aircraft carrier namesake has been hostilely deployed to the eastern Mediteranean perhaps in anticipation of a second front opening in Lebanon. Eisenhower, the president that was, spent his tenure trying to develop friendlier relations with the Middle East, specifically with the welcoming Arab world. That welcoming spirit is currently foolishly being whittled away as Bhadrakumar aptly narrates here ! The debut of a unipolar world, however briefly, happened rather peacefully; why should the imminent debut of a hopefully truely multipolar one be any less peaceful ? This deserves sane reflection !

    • David Otness
      November 9, 2023 at 10:37

      It’s Thucydides’ Trap. Empires in flux and decline will always choose war. And those who direct the West’s course dare not be different.
      We’ve learned nothing.

    • Charles E. Carroll
      November 9, 2023 at 12:54

      Eisenhower, the “last American General”! All those parading around on TV are Losers!

    • Tony
      November 10, 2023 at 09:19

      Eisenhower invaded the Lebanon in 1958 (Operation Blue Bat).

  15. Valerie
    November 8, 2023 at 20:08

    “In a related development, perhaps, C.I.A. Director William Burns arrived in Israel on Sunday for urgent consultations. The New York Times reported that the US is “looking to expand its intelligence sharing with Israel.”

    Ha, ha, ha. “Intelligence” sharing. Ha, ha, ha.

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