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Israel Set to Commence Ground Offensive in Gaza Despite Iran’s Warnings – Experts

While Israel stands poised to unleash the might of its war machine upon the Gaza Strip in retaliation for the October 7 sneak attacks by Hamas militants on Israeli soil, Iran warned that it might intervene if the Israeli military operation in Gaza were to proceed.During a meeting with the UN envoy to the Middle East this weekend, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that Iran would respond if Israel launches a ground offensive in Gaza, noting that the Islamic Republic has its “red lines,” according to US media reports.

The Iranian top diplomat also reportedly said that Tehran has no desire to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict devolving into a regional war, and that Iran would be willing to help secure the release of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.At this point, however, it does not seem that “anything will stop Israel from a ground offensive” in the Gaza Strip, says Dr. Imad Salamey, associate professor of political science and international affairs at the Lebanese American University.

“This is a must operation for Israel to restore confidence in its government and army and to prove its ability to deter and to stop groups like Hamas. Israel will consider a big defeat if it doesn’t,” Salamey told Sputnik.His thoughts were echoed by Dr. Simon Tsipis, expert on national security, political science, and international relations, who stated that Israel may refrain from sending its troops into the Gaza Strip only if Hamas were to immediately release all Israeli hostages and return the bodies of all killed Israelis.He dismissed Iran’s talk of “red lines,” noting that Tehran did not issue such warning to Israel when the latter conducted its previous operations in the Gaza Strip.According to Tsipis “all red lines have already been crossed” and Israel has nothing to fear or lose at this point.

Meanwhile, Salamey suggested that Iran may refrain from actually intervening in this matter if the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza was off to a rocky start.“However, if things went very smoothly for the Israeli operation, then you probably expect Iran and various ways to intervene,” Salamey remarked, suggesting that one such way may involve Iran launching missiles at Israel from Syrian territory.Regarding the risks that Iranian intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian crisis might entail, Salamey warned that it may lead to a “wider regional conflict” as other countries, such as the United States, may enter the fray as well.

He did note that a lot would depend on the scale of as yet hypothetical Iranian intervention, and that a “wide-scale level” regional conflict currently remains an unlikely, albeit possible, scenario.Tsipis also speculated that the United States may try to use the current situation to try and achieve a number of other goals in the Middle East, such as, for example, toppling the Iranian government.“Let’s not forget that the United States has two goals in the Middle East that are yet to be achieved: overthrowing the Bashar Assad government in Syria and overthrowing the ayatollahs in Iran,” Tsipis said.

Therefore, I do not rule out the possibility of the US sensing an opportunity to solve these two problems using this conflict, this war in Israel, as a pretext.”Salamey and Tsipis also offered differing opinions on why Israel suspended the launch of its offensive in the Gaza Strip, which was originally set to commence early on October 15 but got postponed, ostensibly due to poor weather conditions.Tsipis argued that the two reasons this operation got postponed are the thick fog in the area and the fact that not all the civilians have yet evacuated from the area Israel is about to attack.Salamey offered a different take on the matter, suggesting that Israel may be mulling the possible ramifications of Iranian involvement in this conflict or that there may be some sort of negotiations underway, possibly brokered by the United States – negotiations that may or may not help secure the release of “some of the hostages” taken by Hamas.

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