The ongoing Israel-Hamas War is bound to impact global strategies more strikingly than ever. It is so because interests and capabilities in contemporary times have assumed different dimensions from what was witnessed in the post-Cold War era.
In the first place, world powers will be disposed to shift their focus from more than a year-old Ukraine war to the explosive Middle East conundrum. The prolongation of the Ukrainian war indicates that the prediction of the conflict assuming the dimension of a world war did not come true.
The focus of world powers is gradually shifting from Ukraine to the Israel-Gaza region, where the crisis is deep and dangerous, and many Islamic societies are involved.
The Middle East conflict is an opportunity for Russia to treat its war with Ukraine from a position of strength. Biden administration is not under extraordinary pressure from the US Congress to support the Ukrainian war indefinitely.
The Biden administration is under pressure to be more categoric and clear-headed regarding its commitment to protecting the State of Israel. The movement of the two most potent American warships into the Eastern Mediterranean is proof of the pressure we are speaking about. Biden’s warning adds to our analysis.
The Middle East conflict could escalate because of the unilateral decision of Prime Minister Netanyahu to fight for the annihilation of the Gaza Strip. More than a million residents of Gaza have been warned to shift to a safer destination in the south because Israel is moving hundreds of tanks and armor to the border to initiate a massive ground assault.
Israel has an elaborate plan of bringing about ethnic cleansing in the Gaza Strip and leveling its structures to the ground in retribution for the barbaric acts of Hamas on October 7.
This conflict will escalate because the anti-Israeli Islamic proxies, Hezbollah, Houthis, Sudanese, and Shiite Syrians have jumped into the fray. Israelis have begun to feel the shortage of projectiles, meaning special ammunition for their artillery guns and rocket launchers. For the US, the supply of arms and ammunition to the Israelis is a priority. Ukraine comes only after Israel.
Not only will there be a drastic reduction in the quantum of American or NATO arms, ammunition, and other war material supplied to Ukraine, but financial packages will also be reduced considerably.
Shrill notes are also heard from the US opposition circles as to why the US alone should sustain the fight against Russia in Ukraine. Zelensky is not enjoying the amount of popularity with the Americans today as it was in the beginning.
This is a situation that goes in favor of Moscow. Putin would welcome the prolongation of the conflict in the Middle East. Why did Mahmood Abbas, the Palestinian leader, urgently visit Moscow while the Israel-Hamas war broke out?
It is time for Moscow to make some introspection. It cannot just add a permanent anti-America stance and prove its faithfulness by supporting terrorism and barbarianism. Russia knows what jihadism is and has suffered at the hands of jihadists.
China Wants To Mediate
China has supported the Russian formula of creating two independent and sovereign states and, towards that end, bringing in a ceasefire and resumption of talks among the stakeholders.
Xi Jinping is eager to be asked to mediate between the warring parties, though that appears to be an unrealistic desire. Observers believe that China has a say somewhere in the conflict narrative.
Mahmood Abbas recently paid a visit to Beijing and met with President Xi. China has successfully attempted to forge an accord between the most essential but arch-rival powers in the Gulf region, namely Iran and Saudi Arabia.
However, the announcement by India and the EU at the New Delhi G-20 summit of the ‘India-Middle East-Europe’ economic corridor has rattled China because, according to Chinese commentators, it is a project that will immensely reduce the commercial and political importance of China’s much-touted B&R Initiative. Beijing would very much like that somehow, this project gets scuttled.
Moreover, China felt upset when PM Modi, during the G-20 summit in New Delhi, succeeded in forging reproachment between Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman and President Biden.
It was also known that the two countries would resume bilateral talks focused on establishing cordial relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Iranian leaders and officials were briskly exchanging visits between Tehran and Beijing, and to what purpose is not clear.
Nevertheless, President Raisi of Iran told a reporter that Iran does not want the countries in its neighborhood to establish cordial relations with Israel. The UAE is the only Muslim country that would not take the dictation from Tehran or Beijing.
A difficult situation has developed for India. The barbaric attack of Hamas on innocent Israelis is not a subject of historical research and study (although that aspect will not be overlooked or underestimated) but a matter of barbarism, bestiality, and sub-humanism.
India is the sole country that has been warning the world for the last few decades or more about the grave danger terrorism poses to humanity. No attention worth the name was paid to India’s warnings until 9/11 happened and the entire narrative of al-Qaeda and its legendary leader, Osama bin Laden, came to public notice.
Even then, the country the world knows as the epicenter of terror managed to distort the truth and patronize terrorists. Such has been the politicization of international terrorism that even an essential member of the Security Council rose to defend the terrorists because they came from a country with which the member country is tied by the “iron bonds of friendship.”
India lost no time in condemning the brutal attack by Hamas. As it is, the Muslim countries with which Prime Minister Modi could succeed in establishing close friendly relations are not happy with India. In particular, Iran, where we import a large quantity of oil and have close trade, commerce, and cultural relations, is unhappy with India.
Making these Muslim countries understand that India has no ill will against Palestine, Hamas, or any other organization is challenging. But India cannot and will not compromise with terrorism just because India has been facing the wrath of terrorism for the last three decades and a half.
The OIC, which claims to be working for the Muslims of the world (excluding those of India, which is the second largest Muslim-populated country in the world), has been passing resolutions against India on Kashmir. India will not hesitate to be part of the investigation into the Hamas attack.
US Can Blockade Iran
The US is firmly committed to supporting Israel. That is what President Biden said in his message. The US has moved two of its most powerful warships to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. It is both symbolic as well as realistic. The warships will be initiated if an external country or power intends to reinforce Hamas or Hezbollah to fight Israel.
But this is only a protective measure and not a retributive measure, which is expected from Washington at this juncture. Forget Hamas or Hezbollah; it is Iran that is challenging the US. America’s passivity is disappointing.
Secretary Blinken said in a statement that there was no evidence of Iran’s involvement in the carnage. President Biden exuded American largesse by ordering the release of six billion US dollars to Iran.
Under the Biden administration, the US does not and cannot flaunt a robust answer to Iran to stop its perfidies in the region. It could enforce a blockade of the country till it shuts down the proxies.
Biden understands the slide down in his popularity and carries the burden of the forthcoming presidential election in the US. His proxying in Ukraine is not showing positive results. Biden administration has not been able to stop the economic recession.
The net outcome of this analysis is that Israel must depend on itself and its grit to stand up to a perennial existential threat posed by the Islamic world.