KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: I am joined from New York by Martin Indyk. He is a former U.S. ambassador to Israel.
Mr. Ambassador, thanks for being with us.
What’s your take? How bad do you think this can get?
MARTIN INDYK, DIRECTOR, SABAN CENTER FOR MIDDLE EAST POLICY AT BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Oh, I think it will get a lot worse in the next week or so.
What we have is a situation of — of escalating violence. That’s obvious. But Hamas — excuse me — Hezbollah is making clear that, for every time that Israel hits targets in Lebanon, it’s going to hit targets in Israel, deeper and deeper into Israel, now hitting one of Israel’s major cities.
And I think the Israelis are now mobilizing their forces to move into Lebanon to try to at least rid southern Lebanon of Hezbollah forces and Hezbollah rockets. And, when that happens, presumably, Hezbollah will — will unleash another barrage. They have thousands of rockets supplied by Iran. And, so, I suspect that, for the time being, until there’s some major diplomatic intervention, things are going to continue to escalate.
PHILLIPS: Well, let’s talk about that diplomatic intervention — Pentagon sources now saying the military considering going into Lebanon, evacuating all American citizens. Do you think the U.S. should be doing more than that?
INDYK: Well, yes, the United States needs to be preparing now for a diplomatic intervention. You announced a little earlier that Lebanon was seeking U.N. Security Council action.
When the time is ripe — and one has to be careful about not intervening too soon — but — but, when the opportunity is there, probably through a Security Council meeting, it will be important for Washington to reinvoke U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, which called, at the time, not only for the removal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, something which happened, but also for the extension of Lebanese armed forces to southern Lebanon, and the disarmament of Hezbollah.
The Security Council is on record calling for the disarmament of Hezbollah and the movement of the Lebanese army south. If that had happened, and if the United States had gotten behind that resolution some 12 months ago, then perhaps we wouldn’t be seeing this situation now.
[Trump has] given Iran the moral high ground and that is an exceptionally difficult thing to do given the history and reality of Iran's misdeeds at home and in the region. It's just malpractice on the part of an American president.
The way the Trump administration is moving forward [with its Iran policy] is just so hostile to all aspects of Iran that it’s unlikely to produce any traction with the Iranian people or to encourage divisions within the system.