Friday, December 8, 2023

Palestine-Israel War Escalation-A New Challenge for the US

While the war between Russia and Ukraine has still not come to an end, another conflict has escalated to the point of active war. This time it is not a strong country attacking and annexing the territory of a comparatively weaker country, but rather; a small group of freedom fighters standing up against a de-facto nuclear weapon state that has illegally occupied their territory.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas, an armed resistance movement against Israel’s settler communism and apartheid, launched a well-coordinated and unprecedented surprise attack, the worst one Israel has experienced since the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. As part of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, 5000 rockets were fired initially, and thousands of fighters were sent inside of Israel. The sudden and surprise attack that comprised aerial, land, and sea operations prompted Israel to regard it as their 9/11 and launch ‘Operation Iron Sword’ against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

While the attack caught the world in a state of shock and bewilderment, it added another enemy to the list of active enemies of the US. Washington which was already busy dealing with Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea was not expecting or ready for this massive attack by Hamas against its greatest ally i.e. Israel. This whole episode has shifted the attention of the US from the war theatre in Europe to that in the Middle East. What is more worrisome for them is that Hamas is not alone in this, it is getting political support from a number of other states.

Operation Al-Aqsa Flood also gave rise to a very pertinent question i.e. whether HAMAS has done it all by itself or is it getting support from some other state-more specifically, Iran. While Iran has denied its involvement in this matter, it has openly supported Palestine and regarded the Hamas’ action as legitimate and just. However, it is hard for the international community to believe that Hamas has done all this without the military support of Iran. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken accepted this in an interview that though they don’t have any evidence to prove the involvement of Iran, Hamas would’ve never been Hamas without the support of Iran.

In addition to this, Hezbollah, which is an Iran-backed armed resistance group in the Southern part of Lebanon, has clearly sided with Hamas. In retaliation to the bombardment by Israel that resulted in the deaths of a few of its members, Hezbollah fired rockets and mortars at Israeli military outposts, raising the possibility that cross-border firing might escalate turning it into a two-front war for Israel with Palestine on one side and Lebanon on other.

Apart from Iran and Hezbollah, it is the reaction of Russia that is of major concern to the US and its allies. Soon after Hamas launched its massive surprise attack, Moscow emphasized the importance of holding proper negotiations for the establishment of an Independent Palestinian state within the borders of 1967. During a press conference with the head of the Arab League, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov regarded the creation of a Palestinian state as the most reliable solution to the whole issue. The presence of the Arab League’s president in Russia and Russia’s open support of Palestine evidently illustrates that this regional conflict has the potential to turn into an international conflict.

For the first time in 50 years, Palestinians have responded to Israel’s oppression with full-scale planning and preparation making it an excellent time for all of the adversaries of the US and Israel to join hands in order to fully demonstrate their strength and courage. The US which claims itself to be the sole super-power and the advocator of world peace has to cautiously deal with this issue because while it is supporting the innocent Ukrainians against the invasion of Russia on one side, it is siding with the tyrant when it comes to Palestine-Israel conflict. How can Russia be wrong for invading another state, but the US be justified in defending a state whose entire structure is founded on tyranny and oppression? A question that was and will never be answered.

Umair Aslam
Umair Aslam is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Defense Insight. He has worked as a defense journalist reporting on military modernization programs, nuclear non-proliferation, arms control, and the South Asian Arms race.

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