The operation Al-Alqsa Flood of the Hamas terrorist group, which took place on October 7, revealed the vulnerability of Israeli security and intelligence. And Israel’s response with the operation Iron Swordsaimed at “destroying Hamas”, places us once again in front of an endless and asymmetrical conflict, with many ramifications and interests, whose origins are well known.
So let’s get to the ramifications.
The message launched on October 10 from the White House by President Joe Biden was clear: he expressed his support for the State of Israel, condemned the terrorism of Hamas and defended, in turn, the rules of war.
Several Member States of the European Union, as well as various institutions thereof, have also condemned the attacks by Hamas and have made public their support for the right of the Israeli government to defend itself, without terrorism being justified in any case. The NATO has also spoken in this same sense.
A loud and clear message, not only for Israel
The Hamas attack has been considered a loud and clear message addressed to Israel, but also to the rest of the Arab States, as noted by Hassan Nasralla, Lebanese leader of Hezbollah.
The message comes after the gradual process of normalization of diplomatic relations that has been taking place by some of the Arab countries (United Arab Emirates, Bahrain or Sudan) with Israel through the signing of the so-called Abraham Accords of 2020, under the sponsorship of the United States.
The pressure observed in recent months in the Middle East, by the United States, for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to score a victory in Riyadh with the rapid signing of the Abraham Accords, has been pointed out as another of the triggers for the Hamas attack. If the agreement were signed, Saudi Arabia would become the great power in the region and would receive weapons in return, committing not to make any concessions on the Palestinian issue, which would go “from a symbolic cause – on which the countries of the Arab world and from other places have built their legitimacy throughout history – to a simple humanitarian issue.”
A win-win in full rule that would not allow us to continue talking about an Arab-Israeli conflict, and where a group of Arab States would recognize Israel as “a legal and political reality in the area.”
But the Hamas attack, along with Israel’s excessive exercise of self-defense, has disrupted the plans. On the one hand, it has reversed the effects of this possible agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, putting in check the process of normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab world that other powers in the region such as Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq or Iran resisted. But simultaneously, it also appears to have also reversed a possible regional alliance against Iran.
Iran, a main actor in the shadows?
The Hamas attack allows Iran to maintain its control of the Palestinian group. In this sense, the debate arises about whether Iran (the “Iranian power”) “was directly involved in the planning, resources or approval of the operation.” Iran’s recent meetings with Hamas and Hezbollah raise suspicions whether it is not all part of an Iranian strategic plan against Israel.
Already in 2022, the Israeli report Countering Iran’s Regional Strategy suggested the Iranian objective of creating a space of Shiite influence based on “a land corridor connecting Iran with Lebanon through Iraq and Syria, to the ports of the Mediterranean and the borders of Israel.”
Some recent events seem to reinforce this theory. Among them, Iranian support for Hezbollah, assistance to Sunnis in Gaza, its intervention in Syria in 2011 and public declaration about the destruction of Israel.
Even the Iranian Foreign Ministry recently noted that “Iran considers the occupying Zionist regime and its known supporters to be responsible.” […] of violence and murder against Palestinians, and calls on Islamic countries to support the rights of the Palestinian people.”
These statements have not been ignored by Israel, which already in 2020 created the Iran Command with the aim of evaluating the various Iranian threats and possible operations to counter them: weapons and technology that points towards Iranian military spaces, drone attacks that are attributed to the Israeli Mossad or cyber attacks such as Stuxnet.
In any case, Iran has already announced that, if Israel enters Gaza, it will intervene in the conflict.
That said, the golden question now is: who has the power to stop the conflict? Although some proposals continue to point again towards achieving “peace in the Middle East without the Palestinians”, and with the help of the United States and the Arab States, the truth is that history has already shown us that these types of proposals do not is usually the solution.