Pausing Weapons to Israel Risks Israel’s Ability to Deter Iran, Their Proxies

On Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Outfront,” Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, said Israel could use large-scale weapons at Rafah even without new U.S. weapons. He said it could launch attacks, but the question is whether Israel can “adequately deter all the different attacks.” “It’s a much more difficult problem” to say that “organizations that want to attack Iran, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and various other militias don’t have that support.”

“Prime Minister Netanyahu has put Israel, the United States, and the entire Middle East in a very difficult situation. We don’t want to withdraw support from Israel, at least neither I nor the president think so.” When Iran attacked Israel a week ago, we knew that if we were not able to help Israel defend itself, Iran and Hezbollah could decide to jump into the vacuum and this war could escalate. But at the same time, Prime Minister Netanyahu is pursuing a strategy that is not in the best interest of Israel or peace. He has no plan for a post-Hamas Gaza. Therefore, the president is seeking to change this situation. We’ve done everything we can, but as I said, we don’t really have the power to force them to do anything different. It’s a huge risk, and that’s what President Biden is trying to overcome.”

host Erin Burnett asked.[C]Israel would act alone, even using stockpiled US weapons, but would they be able to do so, and would they be able to carry out a major attack in Rafah without additional new US weapons? ”

Smith replied: They absolutely should be able to do that. A better question is: Can Israel, without its support, adequately deter the various groups that seek to attack it, such as Iran, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and various other militias? That’s a more difficult question. Yes, Israel could enter Rafah without US support, there is no doubt about it. ”

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