- Both Hezbollah and Israel are far better armed than before the 2006 Lebanon War
- Neither want war, but the potential for an accidental confrontation is quite high
- Militarily, Israel must decide whether to fight a protracted, limited war or escalate
- Despite official Israeli denials, a preemptive strike cannot be wholly ruled out
At the end of February, the United States sent more than 2,500 air defense troops, including Marines and naval personnel, to Israel’s Hatzor Air Force Base, 40 kilometers south of Tel Aviv.
Their job was to practice joint operations with the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the event of a missile attack by regional foes, especially Iran and Hezbollah. “Once we get word, we can get here in days,” said Lt. General Richard M. Clark, commander of the U.S. Third Air Force, based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. “I could be on the ground in one day. The fighting forces can be here within 72 hours.”