Hochstein Seeks to Ease Tensions to Prevent Israel from Expanding War to Lebanon

 US envoy Amos Hochstein meets with parliament Speaker Nabih Berri during a visit to Beirut. (AFP)
US envoy Amos Hochstein meets with parliament Speaker Nabih Berri during a visit to Beirut. (AFP)
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Hochstein Seeks to Ease Tensions to Prevent Israel from Expanding War to Lebanon

 US envoy Amos Hochstein meets with parliament Speaker Nabih Berri during a visit to Beirut. (AFP)
US envoy Amos Hochstein meets with parliament Speaker Nabih Berri during a visit to Beirut. (AFP)

Senior adviser to US President Joe Biden Amos Hochstein will travel to Beirut and Tel Aviv to try to prevent a recent escalation between Israel and Hezbollah from turning into an all-out war.

He will first head to Tel Aviv on Monday before flying to Beirut. The unscheduled visit underscores Washington’s efforts to prevent Israel from expanding its war on Gaza to southern Lebanon.

As it stands, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his military commanders are ignoring Washington’s pleas.

The American administration still holds Hezbollah responsible for the current escalation, a western source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

It added that there is no justification for expanding the conflict, although Hezbollah has intensified its attacks against Israel in retaliation to its assassination of one of its most prominent field commanders, Taleb Sami al-Abdullah.

Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Lebanon Liz Johnson had held talks with caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib about the developments in the South and efforts to contain the tensions.

She warned that Washington will not provide political cover should the conflict expand.

Bou Habib, for his part, said Lebanon has received warnings that Israel intended to expand the war. Warnings have also poured in from several countries, urging restraint and against Lebanon getting dragged to war.

Parliamentary sources quoted influential American circles as saying that Netanyahu is ignoring the White House’s advice against expanding the war.

They believe that restoring calm in the South starts with a ceasefire in Gaza. The conflict in the South began when Hezbollah launched attacks against Israel in support of Hamas in Gaza.



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
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Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.