ISRAEL + HAMAS

Israel war unlikely to lead to larger conflict, expert says

Oct 17, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: Nov 30, 2023, 5:40 pm

Rubble litters a street between smoldering buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike in Jabaliya, Gaza ...

Rubble litters a street between smoldering buildings hit by an Israeli airstrike in Jabaliya, Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

(AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

SALT LAKE CITY — Since the war in Israel started, there have been warnings that a larger, regional war could break out.

But, Ken Pollack from the American Enterprise Institute told KSL NewsRadio’s Inside Sources it’s unlikely the conflict will escalate.

One reason is because Iran knew that Hamas was planning to attack Israel. Pollack said that means they could have joined the original Hamas attack or had their ally Hezbollah join it.

“If they had really wanted to hurt Israel, that was the time to do it. And the fact that they didn’t speak to the fact that they weren’t looking for a fight with Israel,” Pollack said. 

However, things get complicated when thinking about triggers that could cause the war to escalate.

Pollack said a big part of it depends on how well the Israeli operation in Gaza goes. Israelis are talking about moving ground troops into Gaza. If that goes well, Pollack said it could put pressure on Iran and Hezbollah to increase their involvement. But, the trend so far has been that they don’t get involved.

“Israel has done major operations against Hamas multiple times since 2006. Neither Iran nor Hezbollah has ever intervened in those, this could be the first time,” Pollack said. “But all that suggests that they see their interests as separate.”

On the other hand, if the Israeli operation doesn’t go well, Pollack said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might be tempted to “pick a fight elsewhere.” Pollack said this is again very unlikely, but is a possibility given Netanyahu had domestic political problems before the war broke out.

Netanyahu trying to stay out of prison

Netanyahu was facing issues before the war. Pollack said was trying to remain prime minister even though he was on trial for corruption and faced the possibility of going to prison. 

Netanyahu also has a right-wing coalition that Pollack said is “willing to more or less kind of rewrite a whole bunch of laws regarding the Jewish, the Israeli judiciary, to try to keep themselves in power.”

That’s all on top of being prime minister when the attack from Hamas occurred. 

“Israeli prime ministers don’t survive these kinds of intelligence failures, they get thrown out of office,” Pollack said. “And for him, it’s more than just his reputation. It’s more than just power. It’s about remaining out of prison.”

Despite these issues at play, Pollack again said it’s unlikely the war will escalate.

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Israel war unlikely to lead to larger conflict, expert says