Top US military general, Lebanon army commander discuss tensions in Middle East

Cross-border attacks between Iran-backed Hezbollah and Israel have been at risk of spiraling out of control

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The Pentagon said Wednesday that the top US military general spoke to the commander of Lebanon’s Army about the current security situation in the Middle East.

According to the Pentagon's readout of their call, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. CQ Brown and Gen. Joseph Aoun also discussed continuing efforts to de-escalate tensions.

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“The US and Lebanon share a strong commitment to regional security and stability,” Joint Staff Spokesman Navy Capt. Jereal Dorsey said.

The pair had a similar conversation in December when they discussed the importance of the conflict in Gaza not expanding into Lebanon. At the time, Gen. Brown reaffirmed the US government’s strong support for the Lebanese Armed Forces.

US envoy Amos Hochstein was in Beirut and Tel Aviv this week as part of his efforts to reach a deal that would see a halt to the cross-border clashes between Hezbollah and the Israeli army. Israel has warned that it would carry out a large-scale operation, which may include a land invasion of Lebanon if Hezbollah’s forces do not back away from the border and stop their attacks. Hezbollah, meanwhile, has said that it would halt its attacks on Israel once a ceasefire in Gaza was reached.

Different proposals have been floated to Lebanon via the US, France and other countries, with most of them calling for Hezbollah to back off the border, including withdrawing some of its weapons capabilities from the area. In return, the LAF would increase its presence in the south while Israel would halt its daily violations of Lebanese airspace and its airstrikes.

Washington rushed to calm tensions along the Lebanon-Israel border, following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, which was one of the deadliest the country had ever witnessed.

Pentagon and Biden administration officials said the deployment of thousands of US troops to the region, as well as warships off the coast of Israel, were meant to deter Hezbollah and other Iran-backed groups from opening a second front on Israel.

Around 200 Hezbollah fighters have been killed, along with at least a dozen Lebanese civilians as a result of Israeli strikes. Hezbollah’s attacks have reportedly killed at least 10 Israeli soldiers and several civilians.

Read more: US quietly working to resolve Lebanon-Israel conflict: Amos Hochstein

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