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As Israel’s war to unseat Hamas in the Gaza Strip grinds into its second month, the former top US military commander in the Middle East, Gen. Joseph Votel (ret.), says the hardest fighting is yet to come. While the IDF appears to be implementing some of Washington’s advice by allowing for the flow of humanitarian aid and civilian evacuation corridors, there remains real risk that Iran-backed militias throughout the region may escalate reckless attacks that could draw the United States into another war. Ultimately, there must be a postwar political solution for Gaza and a re-calibration of US military presence in the Middle East to deter Iran, Votel argues.

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