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Israel’s ceasefire conceals a bigger threat America is being dragged into a global war

Netanyahu at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv (ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Netanyahu at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv (ABIR SULTAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)


November 23, 2023   6 mins

While the Israel-Hamas truce will provide instant relief to both war-torn Gazans and the families of returned hostages, this is not a time for celebration. Netanyahu has made clear that the war will continue until he achieves “absolute victory”. This is deeply concerning, not only for the fate of Gazans, but also because the war is already spilling over into the rest of the region.

Over the past five weeks, the IDF has been engaged in daily clashes with Hezbollah along the Israeli-Lebanese border, and has launched several air raids on militias in Syria. Meanwhile, Ansar Allah, the Houthi movement that controls most of Yemen, has launched several long-range missiles at Israeli targets (all of which were intercepted). These groups have one thing in common: they are all backed by Iran — as is, of course, Hamas itself. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that Israel is effectively engaged in a low-intensity proxy war with Iran; or that, as a crucial ally of Israel in the region, the United States is caught up in this proxy war too.

Since October 7, the US has seriously beefed up its military presence in the Middle East, deploying two carrier strike groups, a nuclear-powered submarine and more than 3,000 additional troops — bringing the total number of US troops in the region to around 60,000. Washington has also significantly ramped up its supply of weapons to Israel, and offered nearly unequivocal support for its brutal assault on Gaza, making it a co-belligerent in the eyes of Israel’s foes.

The result is that, over the past month, attacks on US troops in the region have escalated dramatically, with nearly 60 strikes on American bases in Syria and Iraq, where the US has 900 and 2,500 troops respectively. In response, America has conducted several air strikes on Iran-backed militias in Syria. These were ordered by Biden, Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin explained, “to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests”.

Until now, each party in this conflict has been calibrating its actions in order to maximise their political impact — in the case of Iran and its proxies, showing support for Gaza and boosting their popularity across the Middle East — while managing the risk of escalation. No one is interested in a full-blown regional war: Israel can’t afford to open up new fronts, while Iran has no interest in completely upending the new post-October 7 regional status quo, of which it is the main beneficiary.

According to Reuters, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told Hamas when they met in Tehran in early November that his country would continue to offer political and moral support but wouldn’t intervene directly in the war. This cautious approach was echoed in a recent speech by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in which he commended Hamas for its ability to confront Israel on its own, and praised his group for diverting Israel’s attention by engaging the IDF in southern Lebanon. For now, Arab countries, as well as Turkey, seem to be following a similar approach: talking tough on Israel but taking little concrete action, such as a Seventies-style oil embargo, for example.

Not all factions of Iran’s “axis of resistance”, however, seem to agree with this non-escalatory strategy. The Yemenite Houthis — over which Tehran doesn’t hold a complete sway — have effectively declared war on Israel, and on Sunday stepped up their actions by seizing an Israeli-linked cargo ship in a crucial Red Sea shipping route, taking its 25 crew members hostage. The group said that that all vessels linked to Israel “will become a legitimate target for armed forces”, and that this marks just the beginning of their actions. Even though the IDF has denied that the ship in question is Israeli, signalling that there will be no retaliation, this still represents a very serious threat for Israel, since it makes it increasingly risky, and costly, for its ships to use the Suez canal.

The US is following these developments closely. While a minority of neoconservative fanatics view the situation as a perfect opportunity to crown their long-held dream of attacking Iran, the Biden administration seems more concerned about the prospect of a potential military escalation in the region.

As it is, Washington’s support for Israel’s is already compromising its reputation in the region. According to a diplomatic cable obtained by CNN earlier this month, American diplomats in Arab countries have warned the Biden administration that its robust support for Israel “is losing us Arab publics for a generation” and is seen across large parts of the Middle East “as material and moral culpability in what they consider to be possible war crimes”. The Washington Post also recently reported, based on the statements of Arab leaders and analysts, that that US support for Israel’s actions “risks lasting damage to Washington’s standing in the region and beyond”.

This is a massive setback for an administration that, prior to October 7, was boasting about the success of its strategy of Arab-Israeli rapprochement as a way of reasserting US influence in the region at the expense of Iran and China. For today, it’s not just Iran that is benefiting from this situation — but also China and Russia.

Since Hamas’s attack, Putin has aligned himself with the Arab world and the Global South in strongly condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza, calling for a ceasefire and a two-state solution, and accusing in no uncertain terms “the current ruling elites in the United States and its satellites” of bearing responsibility for the chaos in the Middle East and elsewhere. Meanwhile, China has spied an opportunity to present itself as the region’s peacemaker. It’s not a coincidence that the first serious international summit for peace in the Middle East, with delegates from all major Arab and Muslim-majority nations, just took place in Beijing, rather than Washington (or Brussels, for that matter). The meeting was a clear sign of how China is filling the soft power vacuum left in the region by the US, which is no longer seen as a credible peace broker.

With its influence increasingly diminished, it’s little wonder that the Biden administration is concerned about being dragged into a wider regional conflict. Early on in the war, the US State Department warned of an increased “potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against US citizens and interests”, and similar cautions have since been issued by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI’s Director Chris Wray. This explains why, according to a report by Axios, Defense Secretary Austin recently expressed concern to his Israeli counterpart about Netanyahu’s role in escalating tensions with Hezbollah. “Some in the Biden administration are concerned Israel is trying to provoke Hezbollah and create a pretext for a wider war in Lebanon that could draw the US and other countries further into the conflict,” it stated.

As the journalist Branko Marcetic noted, this is “a powerful reminder that the Biden administration’s current policy of unconditional support for the Israeli government’s war on Gaza carries with it no upsides and only downsides in regards to US interests”. So why does Washington continue to forcefully support Israel? Almost two decades ago, John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt highlighted the power of the American pro-Israeli lobby, which had “managed to divert US foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US and Israeli interests are essentially identical”.

Today, this appears to be truer than ever. While it’s clear the US has an interest in de-escalating the situation in Gaza, it’s equally clear that Netanyahu’s extremist, ultra-nationalist government, which includes several self-avowed fascists, has no intention of negotiating a political settlement with the Palestinians. According to a confidential report from the Dutch Embassy in Tel Aviv, its strategy is to “deliberately caus[e] massive destruction to the infrastructure and civilian centres” in Gaza, in order “to show Iran and its proxies that they will stop at nothing”. Indeed, several prominent Israeli officials have openly talked of “erasing”, “flattening”, and even “nuking” Gaza.

It shouldn’t come as shock, then, to witness how the US establishment is beginning to view the current Israeli government as a liability. Asked about Netanyahu’s potential to negotiate a two-state solution earlier this month, Hillary Clinton replied: “I don’t think there is any evidence of that. I think the Israeli people will have to decide about his leadership”. In other words, negotiating a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict doesn’t likely just require regime change in Gaza — but in Israel as well. Meanwhile, in a recent op-ed, Biden threatened to introduce visa bans against violent settlers in the West Bank, spoke against the blockade of Gaza, and reaffirmed the idea of a Palestinian state.

In the meantime, why doesn’t the US use its leverage to rein in Israel? According to a recent Washington Post article, Biden administration officials maintain “they are unable to exert significant influence on America’s closest ally in the Middle East to change its course”. It’s a dubious claim, at best. Washington, after all, is Israel’s largest military backer, providing it with more than 80% of its weapons imports. Quite simply, Israel wouldn’t be able to wage its current war without US support.

This makes America’s stance all the more puzzling. But perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised: by pledging his unconditional support for Israel, Biden has inevitably bound his fate to that of Netanyahu — an ill-fated decision that doesn’t just cast a dark shadow over the entire region, but over Biden’s chance for re-election as well.


Thomas Fazi is an UnHerd columnist and translator. His latest book is The Covid Consensus, co-authored with Toby Green.

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Joe Wein
JW
Joe Wein
5 months ago

What a disappointing and sordid article. Mr. Fazi seems puzzled that America would stand with Israel. His analysis represents the shallowest kind of Realpolitik. Perhaps the US stands with Israel, Mr. Fazi, because it sees in Israel a kindred spirit of liberalism and Western values and because doing so is moral and just.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Not disappointing – it’s par for the course for Fazi. Citing Russia as an arbiter of a “two-state solution” is beyond satire.

In addition, it’s so badly written (several missing words, for instance) one can imagine him foaming at the mouth as he bashed his keyboard, perhaps imagining it to be a missile console directing ordnance from any of the antisemitic nations currently trying to provoke the US via Israel.

Last edited 5 months ago by Steve Murray
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Hardly. It’s clearly written and convincing. If only you would read it for what it is and not what you want it to be.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I did, also taking into account his previous articles. In addition, he’s hardly saying anything new; his viewpoint is old hat by now.
If only you had the wherewithal to provide a rebuttal.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

The article speaks for itself. “Imagining him foaming at the mouth…” is hardly a rebuttal on your part.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

He adds nothing new to the debate – it’s all old news about the US “being dragged into a wider conflict”. If that comes as news to you, it would explain why you think it’s well-written.
In other news, Unherd publishes an article on the sun rising again today. Rebuttal required? No.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

.

Last edited 5 months ago by Steve Murray
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Agreed, again. There’s a whiff of personal animosity in some of these comments. I wish the commenters would stick to the subject at hand and not go on about the author.
I think Fazi’s writing tends to be thoughtful and reasonable. Journalism isn’t supposed to blow your mind.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago

Why should the author be off limits? Especially when a trend is developing?

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
4 months ago

I can remember dear old Ma saying to me, “Don’t shoot the piano player”. Ma didn’t care about trends.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You should realise that all talk of the Israel tail wagging the US dog is strictly forbidden.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
4 months ago

Now what part of what I said was actually untrue or was it just the usual pro-Israel trolls

harry storm
harry storm
4 months ago

I don’t know how “forbidden” it is — e.g. you just mentioned it — but perhaps it isn’t discussed much because it’s a pile of crap from start to finish.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Agreed.

Vijay Kant
VK
Vijay Kant
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It clearly is what you want it to be. So celebrate, and stop interfering in others’s opinion. Oh, I forget, Islamists do not want others to have an opinion. Your identity is a mask on your face!

Last edited 5 months ago by Vijay Kant
harry storm
HS
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Not.

D Walsh
DW
D Walsh
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Joe, you’re delusional about US support for the apartide state, it’s got nothing to do with liberalism or Western values

Take a look at Epstein’s friends would be a better explanation

Last edited 5 months ago by D Walsh
Tony Plaskow
Tony Plaskow
5 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

The use of the term ‘apartheid State’ for Israel – in what ways, and ‘where’, specifically, is Israel apartheid? Is this in reference to the West Bank and/or Gaza or Israel, itself?
I am yet to get a coherent answer here and fascinated to know how this phrase can be used?
I am not naive enough to know it does not need to be based in fact to be widely used, and believed.

G Howat
G Howat
5 months ago
Reply to  Tony Plaskow

Its used as a term to denigrate. Its intentionally pejorative akin to an ad hominem. Not a substantial counterpoint. A throwaway insult. Look at the facts Mr Walsh. Israel has Arabs in its citizenry and its legislature. They have the same equal rights as the Jews and the Christians and the non believers there. Gaza and the West Bank on the other hand? Where are the Jews with equal rights Mr D Wash? As a matter of curiosity, where are the Jews in the mostly Islamic countries Mr Walsh? Where exactly is the Apartheid State?

Alex Carnegie
Alex Carnegie
5 months ago
Reply to  Tony Plaskow

Personally, I think it is an unhelpful analogy but I think its advocates argue

1/ Israel de facto rules the area between Jordan and the Mediterranean including the West Bank / Judea and Samaria (as you prefer) yet only half the adults in this area are allowed to vote in Israeli elections.

2/ The others i.e. the Palestinians are only entitled to vote (if and when there are elections) in the WB/J&S for a discredited, disempowered and supervised regional administration i.e. the equivalent of Bantustans like Transkei and Zululand in Apartheid South Africa.

3/ Israel has got away with this by claiming to be en route to a negotiated two state solution while in practice preventing any progress. This allegedly permits them in law to avoid answering criticism of the de facto disenfranchisement of half the ruled population.

4/ The obvious reason for this situation is that Israel exists as a state for Jews (give or take a few Arab Israeli citizens etc) and as such is a racist state by definition cf. South Africa.

Like I said, I do not think this helps the situation but that is I believe the argument.

Last edited 5 months ago by Alex Carnegie
Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

It’s hardly “a few Arab Israeli citizens”; they are in fact 20% of the Israeli population. And although in the past they were treated poorly, as second-class citizens, much progress has been made since the 1950’s. In fact, in the previous Israeli government, Arab parties were actually in the governing coalition.

Jon Barrow
Jon Barrow
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I understand your personal opinion as per your first para.

However. Point 4, the Arab pop of Israel is about 20%, not really ‘a few’. It’s obvious Israel needs a clear Jewish majority to survive, not really ‘apartheid’ with it’s unsustainable white minority.

harry storm
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

Although the current govt of Israel may “in practice prevent any progress” toward a two-state solution, surely it’s the Palestinians who have rejected two-state offers again and again, and surely it’s the pro-Palestinians, with their “from the river to the sea” and “75 years of occupation” who have even less interest in a two-state solution. And 2 million Arab citizens of Israel is hardly “a few.”

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Tony Plaskow

It’s used because it sounds good to the mindless ‘woke’ (but I repeat myself); like ‘genocide’ (a similar unfounded, easily thrown, insult from the simple-minded).

Jon Barrow
Jon Barrow
4 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Similar to mindless historical analogies. People are ‘like Hitler’ and ‘fascists’.

The modern habit of histrionic catastrophisation doesn’t help.

harry storm
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  D Walsh

Perhaps people would take you seriously if you learned to spell “apartheid” — but on the other hand, even then, few here want to support the blatant antisemitism you offer.

John Riordan
JR
John Riordan
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

That’s the guff that diplomats use to defend alliances that are really just based upon aligned strategic interests.

Like the so-called “special relationship” between the UK and USA which is in practice nonsense: the UK never gets anything out of it that isn’t already given on the basis that it is in the USA’s interest to give it. The phrase still means something of course: it just means that the democratic, free market, global trade -dependent, Anglophone USA and UK have a great deal in common and therefore possess similar interests as regards the rest of the world. That’s all it is, and all it ought to be.

Last edited 5 months ago by John Riordan
Adrian Smith
Adrian Smith
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

It is useful to see both arguments. I certainly don’t want to have to go to X to find them – it’s still a madhouse. Fazi not only exposes his own prejudice in this article but also the flawed thinking of all of his ilk and it is worth being reminded that there are real people out there who think this way.
So far I think Israel has played the situation fairly smartly and I would expect them to continue to walk the tightrope well between achieving their entirely valid and justified military aims in Gaza and keeping enough of the sane world sufficiently on side.
Biden is personally conflicted as his appeasement of Iran could be a contributory factor to what happened on Oct 7th and he can’t make the mistake of pushing the appeasement of Hamas a year out from a presidential election.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Adrian Smith

So it’s “smart” to murder over 5,000 children, granted, in response to Hamas’s abominable actions? Do you even have a conscience?

Irene Ve
IV
Irene Ve
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Please, share your source for this number?

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
5 months ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

His/her source for these claims is the terrorist regime Hamas, and specifically its propaganda machinery which is about as credible and objective as “Der Stürmer”.

Manav Brar
MB
Manav Brar
5 months ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

Just do a google search it is that simple

harry storm
HS
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  Irene Ve

No doubt it’s the “Gaza Health Ministry,” which, in addition to providing 100% accurate information on casualties, also funds various research projects and sets policy on things like food safety.

Adrian Smith
AS
Adrian Smith
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It is not smart to believe the propaganda of a terrorist organisation. Murdering children ie acting with intent to kill is what Hamas did on 7 Oct. Using civilian populations as human shields as Hamas are is despicable, but not murder.
Sitting back and doing nothing when you have been attacked in the manner Hamas attacked on 7 Oct and themselves stated that this was the first and they would do it again and again is not smart.
“Co lateral damage” (not a term I particularly like) is just that and not intentional murder.
At least we can agree Hamas is abominable and must be removed. The price paid by innocents – I am far from convinced most adults in Gaza are innocent but the children are, is regrettable and I believe the IDF do all they reasonably can in the circumstances to minimise it (it is both the moral and smart thing to do). How many children have died in Gaza and Israel from Hamas rocket attacks / malfunctions? As far as Hamas are concerned the younger a Jew is when they are murdered the better.

Last edited 5 months ago by Adrian Smith
Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Murder ?
‘5000’
What would you do in the face of Hamas promise to repeat those actions until all the Jews are dead?
I presume you have a plan?
What no plan?

J. Hale
JH
J. Hale
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Every single death is this war is Hamas’ fault. They started the war, they use human shields, and they kidnapped children.

harry storm
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  J. Hale

don’t forget that they also put their military installations near public buildings and don’t allow residents of Gaza City to flee, though I suppose both could fall under “they use human shields.”

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Revel your true identity, or I shall assume that you reside with terrorists.

harry storm
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

I’m sure you’re just as concerned about children who’ve been killed in other recent conflicts. And you’ve no doubt commented in blogs like this one castigating those who’ve supported military bombing campaigns by other countries, like, say, USA in Afghanistan and fighting ISIS. Right?
Also curious to know what you would suggest as a response to Hamas’ “abominable actions.” Tea and biscuits?

A D Kent
A D Kent
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

How liberal (small or large L) is the current Israeli Cabinet? How liberal are their increasingly Mizrahi constituents? This isn’t the 60s – not even the 90s or 00s when the Ashkenazi’s dominated. The ship of Israeli liberalism has sailed.

Gorka Sillero
GS
Gorka Sillero
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

How liberal are the current Cabinets of Gaza, Jordania, Syria and whatever chunk of Lebanon Hezbollah gets to control?
Just using your logic to analyse the ones who would wipe out the Jews from the region if they could

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

It is relative. A right wing Israeli cabinet is still left wing in comparison to the Middle East.

Last edited 5 months ago by Lesley van Reenen
Rafi Stern
RS
Rafi Stern
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

It is very racist to insinuate that all people from North African descent are fascists.

harry storm
HS
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

And your point is???? They still have elections, you know. Too many, in fact, in my opinion.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

What Western values? Colonialism? Iraq and Afghanistan? Manifest Destiny? “Moral and just”? The US is the original rogue state which was responsible for mischief in Iran in ’73 and Central America subsequently. It’s all out there to read about if only you have the inclination.

Walter Marvell
WM
Walter Marvell
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Sordid and warped in its analysis too. It seems that Western leadership for the past 20 years has forgotten every lesson about the appeasement of aggressor states. It keeps thinking, let these hungry tigers join over prosperous kiddie party; they will only eat the tasty pies. Well they were horribly wrong over China , thinking that letting it into our trade system would see democracy flourish and friendship deepen. The fools. It is even worse now. That dim nasty bigot Biden is still trying – like the meek out of depth Obama and the EU – to woo the sadistic cruel terror state monsters of Tehran. 10 billion bunged a week ago. This is madness. Israel must be supported and guided in its proxy war and America must get wise to the nihilistic reality of the Iranian theocracy pronto.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
5 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Yet everything the West have done in the last 2 decades as strengthen the theocratic leaders of Iran. The sanctions – as they ALWAYS do – entrenches the party in charge. The failed states they’ve made if Iraq & Libya and are still tryingt to make of Syria give the locals much to worry about were they to take up arms against the Iranian government too. They’ve driven the Russians, Iranians & Chinese together by being bellicose to all 3 at once. That what the US is designed to replace them with something liberal is beyond infantile.

Demitri Coryton
DC
Demitri Coryton
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Israel in pre-1967 Israel is a liberal, democratic state that is a kindred spirit of the USA. Israel in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza is the opposite. It is illiberal in its treatment of Palestinians, using detention without trial, torture of child prisoners, excessive force in Gaza and a range of apartheid policies to oppress the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Most of these were not obvious to American or Western opinion before the Gaza war. Now they increasingly are. American and Western interests have never been well served by support for Israel and that is even more so now..

Peter Buchan
PB
Peter Buchan
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Sorry, but what a vapid, low-resolution response. Fazi is to UnHerd what Measheimer is to geopolitics: A realist, and pragmatist; ready to observe and engage with the emerging multipolar order. And thus hated, misquoted and misrepresented by the ahistorical, overly emotional and/or deluded rearward-looking cabal on this site. But he has nevertheless proven, over time and for those prepared to admit it and adjust their models of how the world (actually) works accordingly, to be more right than wrong on key issues. And by a mile.
Keep it up Mr Fazi. There are enough peace-loving pragmatists on UnHerd to make your efforts worth it.

Dermot O'Sullivan
DO
Dermot O'Sullivan
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buchan

Hear, hear.

El Uro
El Uro
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buchan

Chamberlain was very pragmatic

Michael Cazaly
MC
Michael Cazaly
5 months ago
Reply to  El Uro

Yes he was…building up defences whilst trying to get into a position where they would not have to be used.
Britain could not win a short war or afford a long one.
The reality is that Britain beat Italy, the Russians beat the Germans and the Americans beat the Japanese.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Chamberlain does not, I think, get a well-informed analysis. I don’t know enough to do a good one myself, though.
He is rightly castigated for his fatuous “peace in our time” line – why he was foolish enough to say that if he really thought he was just buying time to re-arm (against the wishes of a British public that was not then yet really ready for it) I have a hard time working out.

Michael Cazaly
MC
Michael Cazaly
5 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

The statement did not stop re-armament, and that is the key point.
Chamberlain was probably expressing a hope…”I believe…” whilst preparing for that hope being misplaced.
The main “case” against Chamberlain was the propaganda piece “The Guilty Men” co-written by Michael Foot who was paid by Beaverbrook ( who loathed Chamberlain; it was duly reciprocated…rightly so…)
The “British people” most certainly did not want a war; and the Labour party supported “peace fir for our time” and opposed re-armament.
Chamberlain was certainly not fatuous, or naive. He was a pragmatist realist. And incidentally an excellent Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

I know about The Guilty Men; I don’t have the energy to debate its theses here.
It’s worth reading Chamberlain’s entire speech, to try and get a better sense of what he was thinking. From his speech to Parliament: “It is my hope and my belief, that under the new system of guarantees, the new Czechoslovakia will find a greater security than she has ever enjoyed in the past.” He was utterly (self-)delusional – either that, or he was lying through his teeth to Parliament.
The more famous line is from his speech at 10 Downing: “for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.”
“peace with honour” – after he had just sold the Czechs down the river? (Perhaps to buy Britain time – which was used well – the chain Home system, and the command and control system behind it, was barely ready in 1940.)
At the very least, he was really stupid to put it the way he did – no ‘we had a painful choice to make, but I did what I had to, much as I disliked it, to keep Britain safe’, but instead “peace with honour”. If he patted himself on the back any harder (IOW, he was being a typical politician), he’d have broken his arm.

harry storm
HS
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Also let’s not forget the incredibly fatuous description of the Nazi demands on Czecho: “A quarrel in a faraway country, between people of whom we know nothing.
Neither Czecho or Germany were particularly far away, and while Brits may not have known much about Czechs or Slovaks, they certainly knew a lot about Germans, whom they had fought in the First World War.

harry storm
HS
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

He was an egotist who thought he could outmaneuver Hitler. He is quoted as saying something to the effect of “but Hitler has never dealt with someone like ME before” or words to that effect. His own MPs knew he was the wrong PM to wage a war; it was their revolt that brought Churchill in.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buchan

“peace-loving pragmatists” = children who live in their own fantasy reality.

Peter Buchan
Peter Buchan
5 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Ah. I take it you mean the “children” who, for example, agreed with Fazi about how the Ukraine war was going to turn out in the (ever- nearing) end?

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buchan

I don’t recall what Fazi predicted – but then again, I don’t recall anyone predicting the future of that war correctly. What did he predict?

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
5 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Mearsheimer most certainly did predict the future of that war…”Ukraine is being led down the primrose path to destruction”…and so it has proved.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

It’s not clear what Ukraine would have done, without whatever was said to them by the Europeans and Americans. Remember what Zelinsky said at the start – “I need ammunition, not a ride.” They clearly had a mind to resist.
I am reminded of something Noel Coward wrote, shortly after WWII, after seeing the effects of the occupation of France: “I began to suspect the physical effect of four years’ intermittent bombing is far less damaging to the intrinsic character of a nation than the spiritual effect of four years of enemy occupation” – giving up would be even worse.
Anyone could predict that a full-on war with Russia would be destructive; so not much credit for that prediction. Did Mearsheimer ever predict, at the start, that Ukraine would still be fighting, tooth and nail, after almost two years? I’m sure he would have advised France, in 1940, to give up.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
4 months ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

I created a long reply to this, but it’s gone. For Mearsheimer to predict destruction was hardly insightful. Did he foresee, early on, that almost 2 years later Ukraine would still be fighting tenaciously?

starkbreath
SL
starkbreath
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buchan

Sorry but I don’t see it. Read some of Fazi’s other pieces and you’ll see a clear cut bias in China’s favor. In this latest, he’s basically saying, without being honest enough to state it outright, that the US should leave Israel to its own devices.

Cristina Bodor
CB
Cristina Bodor
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Buchan

Well said!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Indistinct bombarding and blockade, a just way of defending Western values ? are you kidding ?

Yoda
Y
Yoda
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

what would you propose?

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Are you one of the taxi drivers in Rotherham who facilitated the grooming gang? Well, you sound like one!

Last edited 5 months ago by Vijay Kant
David Yetter
DY
David Yetter
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

What makes you think Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is “indistinct”? (I think you mean by that indiscriminate.) You need to read the BBC account of the Palestinian dentist who got a cold call from Israeli intelligence, and was directed to evacuate his neighborhood, which after negotiations involving asking for warning shots, which the Israelis provided, eventually led to him succeeding in evacuating the neighborhood before it was bombed.
Does that sound indiscriminate? Do you really think the Israelis would have gone to that trouble simply to destroy a neighborhood without killing people if they didn’t think it had a target of significant military value?

Manav Brar
MB
Manav Brar
5 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Very convincing article I must say, I learn today how Biden is showing some backbone to Israel lobby. The lobby the Dr Mearsheimer and his colleague warned as against a decade ago.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Couldn’t agree more. Also, so inconsistent! I’d mark this with a D

George Venning
GV
George Venning
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

“Perhaps the US stands with Israel, Mr. Fazi, because it sees in Israel a kindred spirit of liberalism and Western values and because doing so is moral and just”

And isn’t that precisely the point? By claiming that it is a kindred spirit to Israel at the exact moment when Israel is bombing thousands of children, America has succeeded only in alienating everyone in the region outside of Israel.

If you loudly proclaim that you think Israel is “moral and just”, when millions of people across the region will personally know someone dead or unaccounted for, then you invite all those people to conclude that your moral sensibilities are irretrievably broken.

And, by the way, that would be the case, whether or not Israel is, in fact, moral, just or a kindred spirit to the US. Claiming moral superiority whilst killing civilians isn’t a good look. And it’s especially hard to convince those across the region who may have family and friends in Palestine.

harry storm
harry storm
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Especially under the Oct. 7 circumstances.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Joe Wein

Maybe the US shares values with Israel of war crimes, flouting of international law with impunity, exceptionalism in that international law doesn’t apply… hardly “values” for other countries to imitate

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/07/israel-far-right-ultranationalist-hits-ground-running-and-ripple-effects-are-being-felt

https://us18.campaign-archive.com/?e=27fe4dd3fc&u=d3bceadb340d6af4daf1de00d&id=3372c26a3c

philip kern
philip kern
5 months ago

Leaving all historical concerns to one side for a moment, the events of 7 October may have something to do with the stance of the US. When the US was attacked on 9/11, the French said, ‘We’re all Americans now.’ And when Charlie Hebdo was attacked, people all over the world identified with them. Examples abound. When many thousands gathered in my city to chant ‘gas the Jews’ before Israel had even begun to respond, it became clear that Hamas represents the interests of not just Palestinians but millions of Arabs and that antisemitism had replaced reason. It’s not as though Hamas hid their objectives.

Last edited 5 months ago by philip kern
George Venning
George Venning
4 months ago
Reply to  philip kern

Which city is that Philip?

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
5 months ago

Standing with Israel is ‘losing us Arab publics for a generation?’. Quelle dommage. Perhaps someone could identify which Arab publics were ever ours to lose. If those Arab publics are going to be enthusiastic friends of China, given the latter’s treatment of the Uighurs, a few thousand Palestinians aren’t going to tip the scales. I won’t get into the Kurds, the Rohingya, or the Marsh Arabs and their various oppressors, and the stunning lack of sympathy their co-religionists offer.
Besides, Arab publics don’t matter. If they get too restive, their own leaders will get the tanks out.
The message being sent by Israel, and by extension the US, is that if it really kicks off, it’s going to hurt you more than us. Peace in the Middle East is probably a pipe dream – too many children, too few resources. But if you don’t want to be the one attacked, then the message being sent out now is your best guarantee of safety.
Just for once, I’m with Biden on this one.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Someone else with clear vision (unlike the writer).

Stephanie Surface
SS
Stephanie Surface
5 months ago
Reply to  Seb Dakin

Also wondered what he meant by “losing the Arab public”. Certainly Saudi Arabia and many other Sunni Arab States hate Iran and her proxies . The Saudis shot down many of the Houthi missiles which were directed at Israel. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt can’t wait till Hamas is decimated by Israel.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
5 months ago

So, Mr. Fazi is worried we will lose the support of the Arab street for a generation. Mr. Fazi you can’t lose something you never had.
When you said the Israel lobby is controlling American foreign policy you laid bare your antisemitism. The antisemitic Left has discredited all the Left and insured its loss of influence for another generation.
I see nothing but upside in supporting the only democracy in the Middle East and have reached the conclusion that there is nothing but downside in supporting a Palestinian state. The west doesn’t need another radical Islamist state in the Middle East. Giving Palestinians their own state is nothing but a geopolitical win for Iran and Russia. Oct 7th proves a two-state solution is untenable.
Radical Islam is death cult. They hate the west and western values. A war is inevitable one day if not now.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
5 months ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Oh please…AIPAC have just annouced that they’re going to spend $100 million on unseating the less than a dozen Congresspersons who voted against support for Israel, but to point things like this out would be antisemitic in your eyes I suspect.

Rosemary Throssell
RT
Rosemary Throssell
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

My thoughts too.
We should be outraged by AIPAC and what they are attempting. No support from the Democratic leadership either. They are all bought and paid for.

Benjamin Greco
BG
Benjamin Greco
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Yes, I think Ilan Omar, Rashida Talib and the rest of the squad are antisemitic.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

I shall make a substantial donation to that organisation as soon as possible! I had never even heard of AIPAC, but thanks to you, they will now get a gift.

Malcolm Powell
Malcolm Powell
5 months ago

No mention of the biggest issue of all. What happens when Iran has nuclear weapons.
As far as I am aware, Islamic groups are the only ones who would destroy the world for a seat in paradise and 29 virgins

The Man
The Man
5 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Powell

WTF are you waffling on about? Virgins!!! You sound like a brainwashed goyim!

David Yetter
David Yetter
4 months ago
Reply to  The Man

He’s waffling on about the usual Islamic (mis)understanding of the word “houri” which is not Arabic, but like the passages in the Qu’ran in which it occurs, perfectly good East Syriac for “raisins”. 72 raisins. Not so motivating for the followers of a warlord to give themselves in battle. But 72 amorous virgins who become virgins again after they are enjoyed, not that (to the seventh-century desert dweller) was something worth dying for.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
5 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Powell

They get 72 actually, and latest scholarship suggests that “virgins” may be a mistranslation for “grapes”, which may cause some disappointment to new arrivals.

Jerry K
Jerry K
5 months ago
Reply to  Jonathan Nash

This sub-discussion reminds me of an old cartoon showing Richard Dawkins’ consternation on meeting St Peter at the pearly gates! Given modern trends in political scholarship, does the translation give any indication as regards the gender of said virgins?

Susan Matthews
SM
Susan Matthews
5 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Powell

Israel already had weapons of mass destruction but for some reason escapes the criticism (and invasion) that followed from the mistaken claim that Iraq had WMD. For most of the world, this irony is bizarre

A D Kent
A D Kent
5 months ago
Reply to  Susan Matthews

Israel’s undeclared nuclear missiles also makes the US’s sending of military ‘aid’ illegal under US law. Something a number of prominent US libertarian types have been pointing out in this ‘rules based’ system of theirs.

Yoda
Yoda
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

I guess when your existence Is never secure you do what you can. The thought that the Jewish state might have a deterrent must be a hard pill to swallow for the rest of the world.

Sue Sims
SS
Sue Sims
5 months ago
Reply to  Susan Matthews

Could that possibly be because no one believes that Israel will actually employ the nuclear option (despite a loony or two in the coalition government)?

Jerry K
Jerry K
5 months ago
Reply to  Sue Sims

Indeed – it is (or was) the ultimate deterrent – except for anyone who feels it might be the ultimate in suicide bombing…

Anna Bramwell
Anna Bramwell
5 months ago
Reply to  Susan Matthews

Well, Blair claimed that there were Iraqi missiles pointed at the UK that could destroy us in 45 minutes. Dont think Israel has. Yes, Blair and Bush were wrong, inspired by those who wanted to destroy one of only two secular Arab states in the Middle East.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Anna Bramwell

I doubt they wanted to destroy it because it was secular. Why they really moved on it – who knows? I suspect poor information was a big part of it, closely followed by unclear thinking.

Nell Clover
NC
Nell Clover
5 months ago
Reply to  Susan Matthews

Israel has had nuclear weapons for many years. It has not nuked anyone.
Iran has not yet got nuclear weapons. It has promised to nuke Israel the moment it gets both a weapon and a launch vehicle that can reach Israel.
See the difference? It is credible that a nuclear-armed Iran will nuke at least a couple of its neighbours because it is a theocracy and its Islamic leadership are fully signed up to Islamic eschatology.

Last edited 5 months ago by Nell Clover
Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

They don’t even threaten neighbours with them – unlike a certain world leader, who seemed to be doing it every other day, when we were last paying attention to him.

Yoda
Yoda
5 months ago
Reply to  Susan Matthews

If Israel does have such weapons they would be a necessity for self defence. Unlike Iran, Israel does not openly threaten other states with destruction.

Ted Miller
TM
Ted Miller
5 months ago

What a silly and pointless, not to say spineless, article. No-one about who we should give a s+%t gives a c$#p about Hamas who are pure evil and must be destroyed. If there ever was a justifiable military build up, this is it.

A D Kent
A D Kent
5 months ago
Reply to  Ted Miller

What a puerile comment that is – where’s your evidence that such military build ups have done anything in the last 30 years to remove such threats?

John Galt Was Correct
John Galt Was Correct
5 months ago

If the US were to ‘reign in’ Israel, what does that country do then, wait for the next time Hamas murders and kidnaps its citizens? That’s the point, Israel doesn’t really have a choice but to eliminate Hamas.

Marcus Leach
ML
Marcus Leach
5 months ago

It’s deeply disappointing that Unherd is still commissioning Fazi to write pieces on this conflict.
He posts anti-Israel material obsessively on his X account Worse he posts material excusing Hamas and attempts to portray them as some sort of community organisation.
Anyone reading his X account will be left with no doubt that he is pathologically anti-Israel and a supporter of Hamas and the evil is has done.

Russell Hamilton
RH
Russell Hamilton
5 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I read the article and thought that it sounded like the BBC, but we come to Unherd for something different to the BBC.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

Yes, come to the echo-chamber for your neocon fix

Gorka Sillero
Gorka Sillero
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

rather than the Corbynista genocide apologist leaflet you came from maybe?

Liam F
Liam F
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

so why don’t you enlighten us all with your solution then? Let’s have your view rather than snarking at people.

Last edited 5 months ago by Liam F
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

It is deeply disappointing that most commentators on UnHeard are pathologically pro-Isreal.

McExpat M
MM
McExpat M
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Considering the majority of the mainstream media and virtually 100 per cent of universities are pro-Hamas, do you think it’s ok for this one publication to coalesce around different conclusions?

Yoda
Y
Yoda
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Oh you mean people who are able to think critically?

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
5 months ago
Reply to  Yoda

People who think critically but refuse to listen to anyone else’s critical thinking.
IMO it is more meaningful to change your mind as you read more about a subject – not just stick with the same opinion for ever and ever.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

It is deeply disappointing that Labour supporters and other Leftists are pathologically antisemitic as evidenced by their constant application of an impossible standard to which they hold Israel, but none of the Arab countries.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
5 months ago

Seeking Hillary Clinton’s opinion is laughable. ‘We came, we saw, he died’.

Rafi Stern
RS
Rafi Stern
5 months ago

I think that the writer has missed several key points.
When he says that US support for Israel “is losing us Arab publics for a generation” he is missing the point that the leaders of US allies and not (not necessarily their publics, and in the totalitarian states in the Middle East the leaders are what matters) are watching the US to see if they will stand behind an ally that was viciously attacked. No one in the Middle East cares about how many Gazans die in this conflict, no one wants to see the Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood win this war, they want to see whether they can rely on the US for support when they will find themselves on the receiving end and whether the US will honor its commitment to Israel.
Continued appeasement of the “Axis of Resistance” will not buy the support of the Sunni states, and only increase Russian and Chinese influence in the region. If you can’t rely on the US for support then you need to do business with the neighborhood bully. Even Israel under Netanyahu got close to Putin and courted China.
When he attacks Israel’s “extremist, ultra-nationalist government” he has totally misunderstood the sentiment in Israel. There is clear support across the board for whatever government rules, to obliterate Hamas at whatever collateral cost. It is seen as an existential issue – if we can’t do this we might as well pack up and go. Netanyahu is seen by the vast majority of Israelis as responsible for the weakness that led to the the 7th October massacre. The political anger is simmering below the surface as everyone holds their breath until the war is over, but he will not survive the next election, not because of his extremism but because of his appeasement, his failed model of “managing the conflict”, and the price paid by innocent citizens. And yes, the Israeli public wants to see Gaza flattened, and it has nothing to do with an extremist government.

Rocky Martiano
RM
Rocky Martiano
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

“to obliterate Hamas at whatever collateral cost.” That phrase is chillingly redolent of 1930s Germany.
Your last sentence gives the game away. “The Israeli public wants to see Gaza flattened”. Not Hamas, Gaza and its 2.4 million citizens.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Perhaps the finale is over-wrought, but they are right on target in their appraisal of the mood inside Israel.
A recent poll showed that were an election held today, Likud would lose a half of its seats – because they are blamed. Oddly, Labour would lose all its seats – and Meretz (a socialist party) would go up from 0 to 5! The big winner would be Benny Gantz.
I’m not sure the Israeli public really want to see massive killings in Gaza. Certainly, the current military operation isn’t acting that way. (15,000 isn’t that many for a large urban battle; 100,000 were killed in the battle of Manilla, in 1945.)
PS: That was 100K civilians, in the Battle of Manila. All the death tolls quoted in Gaza don’t break out civilians and Hamas/IJ/other militants.

Last edited 4 months ago by Noel Chiappa
Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
5 months ago
Reply to  Rocky Martiano

Gaza flattened in the same way that Germany was flattened. Many Germans survived the war and created a fantastic country on the ashes of what was left. 2.4 million Gazans are invited to do so as well on the ashes of Hamas’ state.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Someone who actually has functioning eyesight, and lives in the real world – not a private reality of his own devising (unlike the writer).

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago

Are we supposed to seriously believe that American support for Israel is damaging its relations with other Arab states? These countries hate the U.S. regardless. The best it can hope for is building strategic alliances, because many of these counties hate each other as well.

There is a good reason to support Israel – it is the only country in the Middle East that shares even remotely similar liberal values. It is the only alliance it has in the region that isn’t transactional. It’s the only alliance it can count on for the long term.

I agree with the author on one thing – a two-state solution is the only answer. But it’s the Palestinians who have repeatedly reject this idea, not Israel.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

“It is the only alliance it has in the region that isn’t transactional.” Bull$^!t. It’s transaction to the core. The other party being the likes of AIPAC. I’m not being antisemitic.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

And I’ll bet you have Jewish friends too.

John Solomon
JS
John Solomon
5 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

I think that’s unlikely. I don’t think he has any friends at all.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

I generally agree, but I am dubious about the two-state solution. (See my long post, for why). I’m not sure there is a solution, with the current peoples (not the leaders).

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The problem really is that the Palestinians don’t have anyone to think for them, let alone represent them. The culture sees religious clerics as leaders and they only refer to their religious books.
Every time someone comes along to create a political party, the clerics step in and overrule based on their reading of the Koran.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago

And a lot of the ‘religious leaders’ like to use their religious position to gain secular power.

George Venning
GV
George Venning
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Genuine question Jim. You state that Arab countries hate the US regardless.
In your opinion, why is that?
In my opinion, it is because the US offers its support to Israel whilst frequently toppling local governments and fomenting wars. As such, Arab mistrust of the US is pretty understandable.
But I’d love to know why you think Arabs hate the US

John Tyler
JT
John Tyler
5 months ago

Sooner or later treating Islamic states as if they are reasonable and rational will prove to be disastrous. The religion is at best merely tolerant of others, and only so long as those ‘others’ acknowledge Islam as a superior political power. For all the words of friendship from a few states, and claims that Islam is a religion of peace and ‘anti-colonialist’, the reality is that the Islamic world view is diametrically opposed to mainstream Western thought. Live and let live, personal freedoms, respect for all individual beliefs and values, and forgiveness are alien concepts. (Yes, I know some Muslims are lovely people, indeed I am good friends with some, but I’m talking here about systems, not data outliers.)

Eventually, we will face a major conflict. The only valid reason for postponing this is to use the time wisely to prepare rapidly for the inevitable hellish war to follow. The alternative is to wake up now to the need to proclaim our values and robustly stand up to religious and political bullies. Appeasement has never worked and never will.

j watson
j watson
5 months ago

Sometimes you have to pick a side, despite the complexity and chaos. The Author picks Putin over Ukraine, the Islamists over Israel. No doubt he’ll pick the CCP over Taiwan. He may not see himself as a supporter of that threesome but essentially the weakness does the job for them.
We’re deep in Cold War 2, waking up a little late and with Trump-ist 5th Columnists in our rear echelon. But picking the right side and that’s good.

starkbreath
SL
starkbreath
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Rest assured he is willingly carrying China’s water for them. Fazi and the rest of the far left calling for a stop to Israel’s retaliation against Hamas never manage to suggest an alternate course, except for their ludicrous insistence on a ceasefire, willfully ignoring that one was in place prior to 10/7. So the inference is obvious: they don’t want the Israelis to fight back because they don’t want the Israelis to exist. Just like Hamas.

Ramon Bloomberg
RB
Ramon Bloomberg
5 months ago

Never completely understood why Fazi’s on the unherd team. So many interesting writers and then this. I read it because the subject engages me, but then you get disappointed with the low quality of analysis. Like other commenters have already written, the idea of losing the Arabs for a generation etc. As far as I’m aware this not only misunderstands how power works in the “Arab world”, but also misinterprets speech for action within Arab power centers that could potentially by “ours” to lose. Arab leaders in Egypt, Saudi, Jordan, would pay billions to get Hamas crushed, they’re just not able to say so out loud because of their non existent legitimacy. The Arab “street” is changing (birth rates, literacy) beyond recognition. In the 1960s the average woman in the Arab world had around 8 kids, now it’s 2 or less. In a generation the Middle East will be a different place completely. Israel needs to hang in there and beat the shitheads back for a while.

Andrew S. Green
Andrew S. Green
5 months ago

Perhaps because his somewhat controversial views create debate (and clicks).
Yes, I am that cynical.

Gerry Quinn
GQ
Gerry Quinn
5 months ago

So, a low-key proxy war? This is hardly unprecedented.

Cam Marsh
Cam Marsh
5 months ago

Netanyahu AND HAMAS HAVE made clear that the war will continue….there…fixed it for you.

John Riordan
John Riordan
5 months ago

Fazi makes some good points here, and I say that as one who believes that he has not got the big picture quite right on the extent to which the West should be involved in the middle East, Ukraine and the South China Sea.

Where I think he’s wrong is that he over-estimates the ability of the West and the USA to maintain it’s internal coherence if it simply allows the much talked-about multipolar world order to emerge out of a sense inevitability. The devil is in the detail: what kind of multipolar world order emerges is still very much in play, and one in which Iran, Russia and China confidently cross the borders of other countries is very much not the same as one in which doing so comes with heavy costs as a result of the West’s successful defence of both its own interests and those of its allies.

But the fact is that Fazi makes some good points above in relation to how Iran’s tactics are playing out, and it is very important that Israel’s tactical responses – and the West’s political reactions to them – do not create the conditions for contagion of instability. The most important point must be that the USA cannot allow the Islamic world to unify around the objective of destroying Israel. That’s a difficult tightrope to walk, and it is not good enough to look upon it with the westerners perspective that Israel has the right to respond any way it chooses to the October 7 atrocity. Israel does have that right, yes, but this would be cold comfort in the event that Iran ended up winning its cherished objective of a middle east united against Israel.

I’m not saying Israel should stop yet. I’m just saying this is a box-clever situation, not a fists-flailing one.

Last edited 5 months ago by John Riordan
Jim Veenbaas
JV
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

The split in the Middle East is not over Israel. The split is between Shiite and Sunni. Israel has zero influence over this.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The importance of that split is under-rated. Given that it has lasted well over a millennium, it’s not going away anytime soon, either.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
5 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

No indeed. And arguably it is much more important than Palestinians vs Israelis.

John Riordan
JR
John Riordan
5 months ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Well yes, but why do you suppose it was in Iran’s interest to sponsor Hamas to attack Israel in the first place? The Abraham Accords were primarily led on the Islamic side by the Sunnis – particularly Saudi Arabia.

The reality though is that there is strong anti-Israel sentiment in all Islamic societies whether Sunni or Shia irrespective of the ambitions of the respective political leaders in the middle east, and the great danger is that hatred of Israel overcomes the internal schisms in question.

Last edited 5 months ago by John Riordan
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
5 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

That’s fair. There is a tightrope to walk here for sure. But you can also argue that it’s in Saudia Arabia’s best interest to have a weakened Iran. Maybe SA walks back from its public softening on Israel, but you know privately it’s cheering any threat to Iran’s power.

Darren Turner
Darren Turner
5 months ago

It’s time to confront Iran and defeat them militarily and bring about regime change. We have kicked the can down the road for decades and allowed them to ruin surrounding countries and be on the verge of nuclear weapons and delivery systems for these. There is no reasoning with these fanatics.
Palestine can be created in Eastern Sinai bordering the mediterranean and Red Sea. Massive Egypt and large Jordan can make territorial concessions to achieve this and tiny heavily populated Israel can be left untouched. As the only democracy and thriving country in the region it is a model that the West should be unconditionally supporting and giving the military assistance needed to sort out Iran once and for all.

Brian Doyle
Brian Doyle
5 months ago
Reply to  Darren Turner

Regime change
Oh dear me one word suffice to describe such folly
Afghanistan

Duane M
Duane M
5 months ago
Reply to  Darren Turner

Iran? It’s the US that needs a regime change.

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
5 months ago

The one and only goal of the Palestinian People is the elimination of the State of Israel, whether that happens tomorrow or in a hundred years.

Tony Kilmister
TK
Tony Kilmister
5 months ago

The piece opens with a declaration that we should not celebrate the short cessation of hostilities and release of hostages. No one is celebrating.

Then there’s the suggestion Iran is skilfully pulling proxy strings to enhance its regional status. An alternative reading is of much pant soiling among the bigwigs in Tehran, fearful that their mini-me outfits in Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen might drag them into a conflagration that forces them to back their fantasy threats with military action, thereby exposing just how weak they are. Other than Israel, only the Saudis merit being taken seriously internationally.

Russia? Come on. Embroiled in its own authority-sapping war, the last thing it can afford is to incite Muslim disaffection that could easily cross into its own borders.

Netanyahu and the far right stranglehold in Israel? Leaving aside the distortion of Israeli politics, uniquely in the region, Israelis are free to vote the incumbent government from power.

The article is an underhand version of a tired old trope: the US manipulated by ‘those people’. It assembles references to know-nothing and propagandist sources, hoping to pass it off as objective and analytical. It’s a call for Israel to cease defending itself from those bent on its destruction, with just a tad more devilment in the expression than the anti-Semitic placards and chants one witnesses on the streets of European and American cities nowadays.

Last edited 5 months ago by Tony Kilmister
Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago

This writer is pretty clueless (probably because his mind is already made up, and closed). This war happened, in large part, because Iran is determined to stir the pot. The ME will continue to be troubled as long as the current regime is in control there. If Israel didn’t exist, they would have to create it, to have a pot to stir in.
For example: “Netanyahu’s extremist, ultra-nationalist government, which includes several self-avowed fascists, has no intention of negotiating a political settlement with the Palestinians”: I get the impression that the Israeli population has broadly soured on ‘making peace with the Palestinians’ – because they are perceiving that the Palestinians (generally; there will of course be exceptions) have little interest in a real peace with the Israelis. How popular is ‘from the river to the sea’ among Palestinians? Even reading this charitably (i.e. not as a call for any killing, merely for Arab political hegemony), it shows the Palestinian Arab mindset hasn’t changed since the Peel Commission plan of 1938 – to which it had the exact same attitude.
People act like the Palestinian Authority is a whole different kettle of fish from Hamas – but it’s not really that different. Like Hamas, it teaches its children to hate Israel – as a few honest Palestinians are brave enough to admit. The real problem is not the leaders: it is the Palestinian people. (And ‘the street’ in Arab countries is just the same.) Those struggling for political dominance among the Palestinian Arabs, like the PA (a creature of Fatah), a goal which requires popular support among the Palestinian people, know that putting out a hard line against the Jewish people is a good way to garner popular support. It has ever been thus; in the Arab Revolt in Palestine in the mid-1930’s, the al-Husayni clan used extreme anti-Jewish nationalism to good effect against the Nashashibi clan.
The Israeli people know all this. Trying to blame it on “Netanyahu’s extremist, ultra-nationalist government” just shows how clueless, and focused on his own general ideological goals, the writer is. Until the Palestinian people give up, in their hearts, on ‘trying to eliminate Israel’, nothing will change – and that is likely not going to happen soon.
And until then, the Iranians will be happy to die to the last Palestinian…

Last edited 5 months ago by Noel Chiappa
chris sullivan
CS
chris sullivan
4 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

sorely needed clarity thankyou

UnHerd Reader
C
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

Disarm Hamas/PLO/Hezbollah, no war. Disarm Israel, no Jews. This simple bit of logic is incomprehensible to so many on the Left.

Abe Stamm
AS
Abe Stamm
5 months ago

” In the meantime, why doesn’t the US use its leverage to rein in Israel? “.
Answer: Because the US doesn’t have as much leverage in Israel as the mainstream media suggests. We need Israel as much as Israel needs us…as they’re our single, constant ally in the region. Israel, of late, is reminding the Biden administration that they’re a sovereign nation, and will make decisions that benefit the people of Israel without consideration of the political needs of the Oval Office as they prepare for a presidential election. It’s important to concede that Israel had a good relationship with the Trump administration…but, not with the Obama or Biden White House.
Also, with a GDP approaching $500 Billion, Israel doesn’t need the annual $3 Billion in military aid, mostly hardware produced by the US Military Industrial Complex, that’s provided by Congress. The military technology that’s shared with the US, created by Israel’s own mini MIC, more than matches up with the $3 B per year expenditure.

Last edited 5 months ago by Abe Stamm
A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
5 months ago
Reply to  Abe Stamm

Israel’s economy is going to start feeling the pinch from having mobilised a lot of it’s young working population sooner or later. Also the effects of possible Hezbollah attacks will leave investors worried for a while – not to mention normal services of anything interrupted by more frequent air-warnings. They may stand up well – we’ve seen how claims of economic doom have not materialised in Russia in the last couple of years – but it will definitely be a bumpy ride.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

True; but they lived through the 1950’s. (Immigrants living in tents.) A period of hardship might even be good for them – I know most Western countries could use such.

Yoda
Yoda
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Economy? Pinch? Golda Meir reportedly said to Joe Biden…our secret weapon is that we have nowhere else to go.

Ardath Blauvelt
AB
Ardath Blauvelt
5 months ago

This article is not serious. It says nothing new though acting as though the region has changed since October 7; it hasn’t, it’s always been aligned to destroy Israel. Then, as usual, it’s all Israel’s fault. All of it. And as an ally that is pledged to a beleaguered religious minority that shares our values, America is blamed as well. Not the terrorists, not the islamists, not the entire Arab region that backs these Jew haters, not the rest of the weak, erstwhile EU allies…. Oh no.

And ends with the trope that the Jewish lobby runs the show. Therein lies the heart of this screed. America is, for now, true to its Judeo-Christian heritage. Thank God. For now, not every American life is a political calculation. And we remain mostly free, as a result. For this we are thankful.

Claire M
Claire M
5 months ago

Excellent article and first class analysis, Mr. Fazi. Thank you! We should not forget that Isreal supported and bankrolled Hamas to undermine the Palestinian authority and give it an excuse to barricade and oppress the Palestinian people. John Oliver has a brilliant contextual analysis of the current conflict on YouTube.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Claire M

Israel definitely made a mistake in their Machiavellian ploys to undermine the PA, if they supported Hamas. Well, they and Hamas are both paying for their error now.

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
5 months ago

Mr. Defeatism is irked that Israel is doing what the US should have done after 9/11, in this case erasing Hamas from the face of the earth. Kudos to Biden from this Republican for sticking with Israel n this policy.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Alan Gore

Er, so what did Hamas have to do with 9/11? Or maybe you think the US should have just bombed every Arab state? Completely incomprehensible, irrational and stupid comment Mr Gore.

Peter Lee
Peter Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Complete misinterpretation, either deliberate or because you are unable to understand simple english
I’ll go with the former because nobody can be this stupid

R Wright
RW
R Wright
5 months ago

“Almost two decades ago, John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt highlighted the power of the American pro-Israeli lobby, which had “managed to divert US foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that US and Israeli interests are essentially identical”.

The Unherd comments section proves that most of the boomers on here need to read Mearsheimer and Walt’s excellent book.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

Careful that sort of talk will enrage ‘Kosher Nostra’ if only because it is so blindingly self evident.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
5 months ago

It’s amazing that all these clever people around us can’t see anything but their own narrow views. “I read a book so I know a few things!!!”

George Venning
George Venning
4 months ago

Trust your gut Caradog.
No good never came from reading no books.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  R Wright

What I have read of Mearsheimer has left me utterly underwhelmed. But I won’t digress here.

Caradog Wiliams
CW
Caradog Wiliams
5 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

100% agree.

Tony Kilmister
TK
Tony Kilmister
5 months ago

Rubbish piece. Opens with a declaration that we should not celebrate the short cessation of hostilities and release of hostages. No one is celebrating.

There’s the suggestion Iran is skilfully pulling proxy strings to enhance its regional status. An alternative reading is there’s much pant soiling among the bigwigs in Tehran, fearful that their mini-me outfits in Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen might drag them into a conflagration that forces them to back their fantasy threats with action. Other than Israel, only the Saudis merit being taken seriously internationally.

Russia? C’mon. Embroiled in its own authority-sapping war, the last thing it can afford is to incite Muslim disaffection that could easily cross into its own borders. Netanyahu and the far right stranglehold in Israel? Leaving aside the distortion of Israeli politics, at least, uniquely in the region, Israelis are genuinely free to vote the incumbent government out of power.

The article is an underhand version of a tired old trope: the US manipulated by the Jewish state. It splices together references to know-nothing and propagandist sources, hoping to pass it off as objective and analytical. It’s just a call for Israel to cease defending itself from those bent on its destruction.

Last edited 5 months ago by Tony Kilmister
Shrunken Genepool
SG
Shrunken Genepool
5 months ago

Mr Fazi what will you recommend when Iran /Hamas have nukes ?

Richard Ross
Richard Ross
5 months ago

The problem is not negotiating a two-state solution; it has been offered to Hamas and the Arabs time and time again. They will settle only for a one-state solution, and that state will be Judenfrei. Any feint at negotiation on their part has consistently shown to be merely an opportunity to occupy *some* land as a launching pad (literally) for an operation to take *all* the land.
“From the river to the sea”, as the slogan goes. And we wonder that Israel will not stop short of victory?

Samuel Ross
SR
Samuel Ross
5 months ago

In the eyes of the unrighteous, the righteous appear evil.

Samantha Stevens
SS
Samantha Stevens
5 months ago

Israel is a tiny country amid a giant sea of Arab theocracies who want Jews dead. Israel is the David, and the Arabs are the Goliath. Hamas is just an arm of Iran. Painting Palestine as a solitary entity is fiction. The US allies with Israel because of shared values: democracy, freedom, the equality and rights of women, rights of LG people, anti-child marriage and FGM. The Arab world sees Israel and the West as the devil.

Doug Israel
DI
Doug Israel
5 months ago

Disgusting article. Biden is holding back because he knows Israel can no longer tolerate Hamas controlling Gaza after the atrocities of October 7.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  Doug Israel

Isreal can no longer tolerate Palestinians, simple as that. Racist and genocidal state.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Somebody else who’s incapable of doing anything other than mindlessly parroting the slogan du jour.
So far, if we take the Palestinian death toll to be 15,000 (of whom thousands are Hamas fighters, but let’s ignore that for the moment), that’s about .63% of the pre-war population of Gaza, of about 2.4M. In the Rwandan genocide of 1994, 60–70% of the Tutsis in Rwanda were killed. Now, that is genocide.

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Even with the totally exagerated figure of 15,000.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

I’m not sure it is that exaggerated, actually. Hamas reportedly had 30K militants before the start of the war. And, even going carefully, some civilians are going to be killed by combat in an urban area; 100K civilians were killed in the Battle of Manila, in 1945.

Walter Lantz
WL
Walter Lantz
5 months ago

The problem with escalation isn’t escalation itself, but rather what the two sides are willing to do to avoid it. Having one side convinced the other will never escalate almost guarantees trouble. What use is a police officer with a gun if he and the criminal both know he’ll never use it? What prevents escalation is knowing that the officer will shoot if necessary. “Go ahead, make my day” and a criminal that would like to keep breathing make for a peaceful ending.
The decision to escalate must be based on our duty to protect the values of free society that define a liberal democracy and the countries that adhere to those values. Trading away those values and calling it peace is self-delusional fraud and betrayal- no matter how well-intentioned it may be. That “anything but escalation” contributed greatly to the start of WW2. Churchill made it as plain as could be: “You had a choice been dishonour and war. You chose dishonour and you will have war”.
And here we are. Israel has been attacked – again. Our values are clear. The absolute prime responsibility of liberal democracies is ensuring the safety and security of Israel (and ourselves) and to support them in the pursuit of same. Yet western leaders – particularly on the Left- are twisting themselves into knots trying to balance our values with political expediency with pathetic mewling like “we must end the suffering” and “there’s fault on both sides”. And what has it achieved? Palestinian mobs are outraged that support for them isn’t absolute. Mentioning Oct 7 or hostages is an affront. Democrats have cautioned Biden to tone down pro-Israeli rhetoric so as not to jeopardize Muslim support in Michigan that will be crucial next November. Trudeau, Mr. Socks of Justice himself had to call on 100 police officers to escort him from a restaurant that was beset by a pro-Palestinian mob that wasn’t convinced he was supporting the right team.
Trading our values for a misguided attempt to prevent escalation is bad enough but trading values for votes? Really? And did the Democrats, for example, stop to think for a minute that maybe some of those Muslim votes they’re so worried about losing if they do the right thing might be replaced by folks that left the Dems because they denigrated the values that made the country what it is in the first place?
But “we’ll lose Arab publics”. So what? How is that worse than letting terrorists run around like they own the place? The Arab states worry more about their own people than Israel anyway. They want escalation less than we do and they’ll gladly toss Hamas and Hezbollah under the bus (or tank or drone) to save themselves. The theocratic nutters running Iran are hanging on by their beards. Any oil sheik could easily be exiled in a week. Living in a posh Swiss hotel if he managed to get away with some cash, or driving a cab in Marseilles if he didn’t.
Stick to our values and diplomacy is easy.
Hostages returned.Hamas goneIsrael secureThose three – non-negotiable – you know – the Rules-based international order you’re always bleating about? and then we’ll talk about other things like how the Arab states can continue to enjoy their mega dollars.
Say it. Mean it. Back it up.

George Venning
GV
George Venning
4 months ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

The Chamberlain/Churchill thing gets trotted out depressingly often. Chamberlain’s goal at Munich was not to avoid war altogether, it was to delay it until Britain had a chance of winning it. Given how badly the war went for Britain in its early stages, there can be no question that, had Chamberlain, taken Hitler’s bait at Munich, the war would have been over in six months with Germany the victor.
As to those three simple demands of yours. Hostages returned – sure. But how do you eliminate Hamas without killing so many people that you create more organisations just like Hamas? And if eliminating the current iteration of Hamas creates the grievance that fuels its successor, then Israel will never be secure.

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
4 months ago
Reply to  George Venning

It is not the creating of grievances; it is the continual grooming of palestian children to hate and kill all the Jews as a death cult. No state solution for the Palestians will ever result in Peace.

George Venning
GV
George Venning
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

And therefore…

Andrew Boughton
AB
Andrew Boughton
4 months ago

It’s utterly pointless posting any reader comment in UnHerd until the journal’s management neutralises the inevitable pile-ons with its ridiculous “net vote” policy. There’s a reason every newspaper, journal and blog on the planet has an independent upvote and downvote tally: to prevent bullying and reader censorship through vote-stacking. No controversial essay in this journal will ever attract a genuinely broad and unfettered readership commentary.

Last edited 4 months ago by Andrew Boughton
Walter Schwager
Walter Schwager
5 months ago

Finally an Unherd article that is balanced and reasonable, although it is clearly causing Unherd’s sclerotic readers to foam at the mouth. They were probably also in favor of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyway, the younger generations are clearly critical of Israel. Maybe your readers should read Gideon Levy, Norman Finkelstein and Chomsky instead of Dershowitz.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

Outstanding assessment.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago

Younger generations also think people can click their heels and change their ‘gender’ (however one defines that). I hope they all follow you; it will result in a mass emigration to the Republican Party.
Oh, and I’m even less impressed with Chomsky than I am with Mearsheimer. Granted, he has done some very good work in his field (linguistics), but when it comes to economics and geo-politics, he’s a nitwit (like almost all progressives).

Last edited 4 months ago by Noel Chiappa
starkbreath
starkbreath
4 months ago

Chomsky willingly turned a blind eye to the mass murder carried out by the Pol Pit regime. Far lefties love genocide as long as it’s not carried out by white people or capitalists.

Last edited 4 months ago by starkbreath
Peter Lee
Peter Lee
4 months ago

Clearly the younger generation are being financially paid to protest. Talk to any of the protestors; they are not even sure what they are protesting or have any knowledge of Oct 7th, let alone the history of the Jewish People.

Micah Dembo
MD
Micah Dembo
5 months ago

Israel is in possession of several hundred H bombs and a large number of A. Mobs. If the survival of state is threatened by any power, then a first strike is their only reasonable option. Checkmate.

Last edited 5 months ago by Micah Dembo
Dariush Naghavi
DN
Dariush Naghavi
5 months ago
Reply to  Micah Dembo

d

Last edited 5 months ago by Dariush Naghavi
Diane Krieger
Diane Krieger
4 months ago

Weird article. Starts off reasonably anti-Islamist but ends up trafficking in AIPAC slurs?

Duane M
DM
Duane M
5 months ago

Good essay by Mr. Fazi…and I can tell that by number of pro-Israel commenters who are pissed off about it.

I trust John Mearsheimer as an honest and unflinching political scientist, and when he concludes that Israel has hijacked US foreign policy I believe it.

The US is not using its leverage to rein in Israel, because Israel controls those levers in Washington.

Last edited 5 months ago by Duane M
Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  Duane M

I have long had a serious character flaw (which I am cheerful to own up to): stupid people annoy me. Fazi and Mearsheimer both annoy me.

natriley3@gmail.com natriley3@gmail.com
natriley3@gmail.com natriley3@gmail.com
5 months ago

many useful links, and the discussion of the proxy war between the U.S. and Iran is impressive, especially considering the proxy war between the U.S. and Russia in the Ukraine. Losing Arab support has costs highlighted in the article.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago

Israel is capable of removing Hamas form Gaza and Hezbollah from southern Lebanon without any support at all from the US.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Isreal couldn’t blow out a litmatch without the US support. Bullies and racists.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Having two people with the same user-name is very confusing.

Peter Lee
PL
Peter Lee
5 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Unless they are just having fun with you (us). Note the totally opposite viewpoint.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter Lee

Could be. Most of the posters here seem to be pretty serious; perhaps one or both of these two is just trolling.

starkbreath
starkbreath
4 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Yeah, what the hell is this? UnHerd needs to either clear this up or ban both of them.

Vijay Kant
Vijay Kant
5 months ago

A very careless article.

Frank Freeman
FF
Frank Freeman
4 months ago

An excellent article, but it leaves out an important element. The natural gas reserves off the Gaza coast, and under the west bank.This gas could potentially make Gaza rich if it were able to develop it, but Israel has stopped the Palestinians developing it.
If Israel gets hold of it, it means that the west would have an alternative to gas from Russia, which means they could keep the Ukraine war going to weaken Russia. It would allow them to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian.
This is why so many western politicians are prepared to see their poll numbers plummet while they support Israel’s ethnic cleansing. This could easily loose Biden the next election, he probably did not realise the revulsion Israel’s slaughter would generate, and while talking about pause and humanitarian aid does nothing to stop the slaughter.Also Kier Starmer will loose votes over his reluctance to call for a ceasefire.
There not only needs to be a ceasefire in Gaza and the west bank, but there also needs to be a ceasefire in Ukraine as well. For Ukraine to conquer back the land lost to Russia, they would loose to many men, and would conquer a land contaminated by Depleted Uranium shells and cluster bombs, and the Ukrainians would ethnically cleanse the Russian speakers living there.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank Freeman

Israel already has several large gas fields: Tamar, Leviathan, etc. If you look at a map, neither is anywhere near Gaza,
If Hamas wants a cease-fire, all they have to do is surrender and put down their weapons. That worked for Germany and Japan to end WWII.

Kolya Wolf
Kolya Wolf
4 months ago

Anybody who cites John Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt with approval should not be trusted on the subject of US-Israel relations.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
4 months ago
Reply to  Kolya Wolf

Anybody who cites John Mearsheimer with approval should not be trusted on anything. They are facially clueless, like Mr. Mearsheimer.

Last edited 4 months ago by Noel Chiappa
Shrunken Genepool
SG
Shrunken Genepool
5 months ago

Mor”nic

El Uro
El Uro
5 months ago

Kinderläden yesterday, cruel Israel today.
Looks like something’s broken

A D Kent
A D Kent
5 months ago

Good post Thomas.  Worth noting or better still screaming out loud- that the US aren’t just ‘in’ Syria – they’re illegally occupying a third of it. They’re taking all of their oil and much of their grain. In that context their claims to be ‘defending themselves’ are very hollow indeed. Likewise in Iraq where the locals voted to have them leave, but whose democracy is just ignored having cost so much in US & other’s lives to instigate.

I’d also say that the US aren’t just ‘caught up in this proxy war’ – they’re up to their despicable, neocon necks in it. What’s more is that after three decades of it, Iran is probably stronger than it has been in modern history. They have good relations with two regional/global  powers – with all three of them driven together by the dim-witted belligerence of the neocon cabal pulling Biden’s strings. 

They have great sway over the the country to their West that once was their foe and have developed a massive arsenal of weapons (drones, air-defence, anti-ship & other missiles) that would do the US & Israeli forces massive damage should this proxy war ever develop into a proper hot one. 

They’re also greatly helped by the fact that for all the money spent by the US on their & Israel’s military, in any war they’re going to be using absolute boondoggles like the F-35 & Patriot missiles and launching many of their attacks from great big floating missile magnets.  

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

At Nuremberg we hanged Field Marshals Keitel and Jodl for “waging wars of aggression” and committing “crimes against peace”.

The same should apply to those the in the US who ordered the completely illegal invasion of Syria. No ifs no buts!

Fraoch A
Fraoch A
5 months ago

Sorry I voted for ye but the diystem didnae like it…lol

Caradog Wiliams
CW
Caradog Wiliams
5 months ago

Not forgetting those who ordered the completely illegal invasion of Iraq. Then we can continue with South America.

Noel Chiappa
NC
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

All you’ve done with this comment is show us how out of touch you are. The US forces that are “illegally occupying a third [of Syria]” amount to about 1,000 people. Yes, they have some local allies as well – but they had a hell of a hard time in Iraq, with two orders of magnitude more troops – and they had local allies there too. I am amused by the concept of neocons backing Biden, too.
Your ideological commitment has left you completely out of touch with the real world.

A D Kent
A D Kent
5 months ago
Reply to  Noel Chiappa

Are you including all the ‘contractors’ (i.e. mercenaries) in those figures? Also they’ve got air support from Qatar whenever they want it too.

As for neocons backing Biden – I said pulling his strings. You do know who Vicky Nuland is married to don’t you?

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
5 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

I see there are 5,500 Department of Defense contractors in Syria and Iraq; about half of them aren’t Americans. I couldn’t find a breakdown between the two countries; still, if you assume a 50/50 split, there are only about 2,000 Americans in Syria.
Speaking of which, how many Wagner personnel are there these days? The last report I see is from December 2021, but I know there were still quite a few there at the time of the Wagner mutiny. (the leaders were put under arrest).
The behind the curtains connections in DC are so complicated I have no idea who is connected to who. (That’s part of why I want to shut the whole thing down, move entire departments to other states.) But I’m a little bemused at idea of neocons pulling Biden’s strings – aren’t they supposed to be pulling the strings of the Republicans. Or are you contending they are doing both?

starkbreath
SL
starkbreath
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

A solid vote for Team Ayatollah.

Susan Matthews
Susan Matthews
5 months ago

Wide ranging and convincing argument that can place the conflict in a wider context. I find Thomas Fazi by far the most intelligent UnHerd commentator on the current conflict.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  Susan Matthews

The argument he deploys has been old news for several weeks now. He hardly “places” anything anywhere, instead losing his compass. He’s basically a hack.

Hendrik Mentz
Hendrik Mentz
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Mr Murray, your comments lately with respect to Mr Fazi have to my ear become personal and vindictive. It’s as if you wish to destroy the man.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
5 months ago
Reply to  Hendrik Mentz

I have absolutely no wish to do any such thing. I wouldn’t for one moment think that Unherd shouldn’t publish him, and would argue against any calls for that to happen.
Is this old news, badly-written? It’s my contention that it is.
I could write an article about the sun rising once again this morning as if it were news, and if i based it around the idea that the sun circled the earth, i’d expect it to be ridiculed.

John Riordan
JR
John Riordan
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That’s unfair. I don’t agree with everything Fazi says by a long way and this article is no exception, but he is nonetheless a very good, insightful journalist in my opinion.

Noel Chiappa
Noel Chiappa
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That’s being cruel to hacks.