October 15, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Warns Iran Against Opening Second Front

October 15, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Warns Iran Against Opening Second Front

Latest Developments

Israel is trying to prevent Iranian weapons deployments to its north designed to open a second war front. As the Jewish state enters the second week of its counter-offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Israel has warned Hezbollah not to join in — a signal that Jerusalem does not want another war.

Yet the Hamas and Hezbollah sponsor in Tehran has other designs, a senior Israeli official revealed on October 15. Confirming an X post arguing that Iranian weapons shipments were under way to Syria en route to Lebanon, and that this movement was intended to open a northern front, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s strategic affairs director, Joshua Zarka, responded, “They are.”

He also appeared to link this to Syria’s reports that Israeli strikes were carried out against Damascus and Aleppo airports last week. Responding to the original X post’s assertion that “the Israelis are determine to prevent” Iran’s plans in their north, Zarka said in his own post, “We are.”

In a televised briefing on October 14, Israeli National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said Israel was “trying not to be drawn into a two-front war,” and that despite repeated shelling exchanges with Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese terrorist group was keeping itself “under the escalation threshold.”

But he reiterated Israel’s readiness to impose severe costs should Hezbollah change tack. “We hope Hezbollah won’t, de facto, bring about the destruction of Lebanon, because if there is a war there the result will be no less,” Hanegbi said.

Expert Analysis

“We must all hope that this war remains focused on its main and supremely justified objective: wiping out Hamas. And that the more that progresses, the more Israel’s other foes, like Hezbollah, will worry about their own survival. For now, Israel can only be commended for using all means — public diplomacy as well as military counter-measures — to keep the war that was forced on it from spreading. The Biden administration needs to make clear that Hezbollah’s patron in Iran will pay a severe price if it unleashes another terrorist proxy.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The Iran-backed Hezbollah continues to provoke Israel in the north. It has not fully committed to a full-blown fight. But it is also not fully deterred. Should a war erupt on this front, it will lead to disaster for Lebanon, which is already reeling from political gridlock and economic collapse. Hezbollah knows this. But Iran appears to be calling the shots. In this way, Iran may fight Israel at Lebanon’s steep expense.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

The War After the War Between Wars,” by Jonathan Schanzer

America’s Middle East Imperative: Contain Iran,” by Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh

Turning Congressional Outrage Into Action: A U.S. Response to Hamas’ War Against Israel,” by Mark Dubowitz and Richard Goldberg


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Missiles Israel Israel at War Lebanon