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Israel’s war is about to escalate A global conflict cannot be discounted

Israel faces war on five fronts. (Christopher Furlong/Getty)

Israel faces war on five fronts. (Christopher Furlong/Getty)


November 28, 2023   5 mins

As I look out over Lebanon from high up on Israel’s northern border, I see undulating hills dappled with hedgerows and green brush that glows golden in the winter sun. But this is far from an idyll. Lebanese Hezbollah have been firing into Israel since October 7. And it is from here that a regional, possibly global, war is most likely to start.

On the ground, with the ceasefire extended for another two days, relations between Israel and Hamas seem to be progressing. The temporary truce, however, is just a plaster on a gangrenous wound. If Hamas releases all of its hostages, then its leverage evaporates and it has nothing to deter Israel from its assault. If Israel ceases military operations now, then its promise that Hamas will never again be able to launch another attack is just empty rhetoric. Neither its traumatised population nor its desperate Prime Minister will allow that.

So, the war continues, with Israel completing its operation in northern Gaza and turning to the south. And along with its horrific cost, the chances of broader escalation will increase.

But the war with Hamas has already expanded. Hezbollah are firing from the north, Syrian groups from the northeast, the Houthis from Yemen in the south — and behind them all, Iran. Israel is now fighting a war on five fronts. But it’s in the north that the greatest threat lies.

“What we’ve been experiencing on the northern border are a few kinds of Hezbollah approaches,” says a source in the IDF’s Northern Command. “Number one: infiltration attempts on the border itself. Two: using anti-tank missiles to target Israeli soldiers, outposts, tanks and armoured vehicles. Three: using aerial vehicles [drones]. This did not really exist in [the Lebanon war of] 2006. The investment in aerial vehicles began in 2009.” Hezbollah, they tell me, is targeting a narrow strip just a few kilometres from the border, rather than cities further south such as Haifa. “From that we assess that the current decision of Hezbollah is not to escalate.”

But Hezbollah also needs to manage its optics. It cannot spend decades railing against the “Zionist Oppressor” and then do nothing when it is at war with the group’s supposed brethren in Hamas. “Hezbollah has activated a few Palestinians from the refugee camps in Lebanon,” I am told. “There is cooperation when interests converge when their interests converge, and Hezbollah is using Palestinians to fire anti-tank missiles at us.” Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, seemingly confirmed these assessments when he congratulated Hamas on its attack last month, while stressing he had no idea it was coming. The signal was clear: we had nothing to do with this; beyond saving face, we don’t want to get involved.

But while 1914 is an overwrought analogy, here, with so many moving parts, escalation cannot be discounted. And beyond the trauma of October 7, many Israelis want action. The northern city of Qiryat Shemona is a mile from the Lebanese border. Today, after local authorities ordered civilians to leave in the face of daily rocket attacks, it is almost deserted. One man who hasn’t left is Moshe Peretz, 63, who owns a garage. He works with the IDF and local farmers and is, he tells me, an essential service provider. “I’ve been here 58 years and I’m used to this sort of stuff — sometimes Hezbollah would fire over 100 Katyusha rockets in one day. Back then we had to cram into small shelters.”

He continues, “if we pass this problem onto our children, then we haven’t achieved anything. We will have suffered 60 years for nothing. We can end it now – and we must.”

We drive up into the mountains, towards the border, through forest where IDF soldiers and tanks line the roads. At the summit, stands a thick metal barrier. It has been erected to protect us from fire from Lebanon. I cannot film it: it’s a new type of armour, I’m told. If I publish photos, the enemy will be able to analyse its thickness and adjust its fire accordingly.

The Hezbollah threat is incredibly potent. In 2019, US intelligence estimated the group had 150,000 projectiles in its arsenal, which includes Iranian Fateh-110 and Syrian M-600 satellite-guided missiles with a range of up to 186 miles, putting Tel Aviv in reach. Added to this are its anti-ship missiles, particularly the Iranian Noor and Russian Yakhont, as well as the 100,000 fighters Nasrallah claimed to have in 2021 — a figure which, while almost certainly inflated, is not entirely divorced from reality.

That said, Lebanon is also suffering its worst financial crisis in modern history. The last thing it needs is another war with Israel, especially since the one in 2006 brought such destruction to the country. And internally, Hezbollah is powerful right now — why throw it all away?

Meanwhile, the Houthis have launched several drone and missile attacks against Israel: a show of solidarity with the Palestinians and a display of strength to its domestic audience. Though not as powerful as Hezbollah, the group has Iranian Quds-351 cruise missiles, which it has used against Saudi oil fields and which have a reported range of 1,650km. It also has the Iranian Toufan ballistic missile that has a range of up to 1,950km (though unlike the Iranian original it is not precision guided). Finally the Houthis have a drone capability, notably the Samad UAV.

While their missiles are slow and inaccurate, they could theoretically overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome if launched in conjunction with Hamas and Hezbollah. Before October 7, the most missiles Israel had faced in a day was 470 in May 2021. On October 7, it faced 5,200 in 20 minutes. Throw drones into the equation, and the picture becomes disconcerting. That said, the Houthis main fight is with Saudi Arabia. If it were to use all its weapons against Israel, the Saudis might sense opportunity, and move in for the kill.

In the end, though, the state that matters most is the one that stands behind Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis: Iran. Tehran bases its regional strategy on a doctrine of “Forward Defence” that, loosely speaking, means using regional non-state terror groups to fight its opponents abroad and retain stability at home.

Right now, Iran’s proxies are well-positioned around the borders of its two main regional rivals, Israel and Saudi Arabia — including a joint operation room with Hezbollah in the Golan Heights — which give it a degree of regional security it seems unwise to risk. After Israel and the United States bombed its Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) base in Syria in October, Iran has shifted many of its missile production facilities to Lebanon. Ultimately, these proxies deter direct attacks from Israel. If they are smashed, which will happen with escalation, the threat to Iran gets serious.

But Iran has other options. The IRGC has recently set up two new proxies in Syria: the Afghan Fatemiyoun and Pakistani Zainabiyoun groups whose stated goal is to destroy Israel. Iran can have them continue to attack the “Zionist Entity” at a limited level, while remaining largely unconcerned about retaliation as they are fundamentally expendable.

But in the end, while the Mullahs are happy for Hamas to hurt Israel, there is a limit to their support for it. Reuters reported that at a recent meeting in Tehran, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei complained to Hamas boss Ismail Haniyeh that his country was not warned of the October 7 attacks and that it would not enter the war on their behalf.

For their part, the Israelis are immovable on the eradication of Hamas but also wary of a broader war. The IDF was clear: the end of Hamas serves everyone. Anything short of a decisive defeat, they say, would embolden every terror group in the Middle East.

This is partly why the UK and US have both deployed forces in the area. But, in truth, it is unintended escalation that is the greatest concern — especially when Hamas is still holding so many hostages. Standing in the mountains of northern Israel, I peer down at the roads below and imagine the domino effect a stray Katusha accidentally hitting an Israeli school bus would have.

One act begets another in a region where no one can back down in the face of their own, often oppressed populations. Dictatorships are better at sustaining wars — and casualties — than democracies, and worse at avoiding them. From al-Houthi to Nasrallah to Khamenei, they continue to fight because policy and rhetoric cannot allow otherwise.

On 3 August, 1914, as the United Kingdom entered World War I, the British foreign secretary, Sir Edward Grey, remarked darkly that “the lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”. Today in the Middle East, a return to 1914 seems, if not yet imminent, then no longer beyond the realms of possibility either.


David Patrikarakos is UnHerd‘s foreign correspondent. His latest book is War in 140 characters: how social media is reshaping conflict in the 21st century. (Hachette)

dpatrikarakos

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Samuel Ross
SR
Samuel Ross
4 months ago

Hamas needs to be squished. Full stop.

Bret Larson
BL
Bret Larson
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

A good start would be their leadership hiding in Qatar.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
4 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Their leaders, at least former ones, are also on our territory! I want them chucked out! https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2023/11/08/letters-a-very-british-welcome-for-an-ex-hamas-leader/

Last edited 4 months ago by Katja Sipple
Dorrido Dorrido
DD
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Katja Sipple
R S Foster
R S Foster
4 months ago
Reply to  Katja Sipple

…I’d sooner see them and all their familes interned, and their property sequestrated as “enemy aliens” until the Hamas War against we “Infidels” is brought to an end.
That is to say, permanently. And in their case it would make sense to use the old whaling sheds in Grytviken. With no contact with the outside world, iron rations, but adequate shelter and clothing…and very heavily armed security. Under orders to shoot to kill if necessary…
We could leave them to run their own affairs, as we did with the interned Germans on the Isle of Man in WW2…and allow Red Cross inspections…
…and we might add in any non-UK passport holders arrested at the Pro-Hamas-Genocidaire proto-insurrections conducted in London in recent weeks.
British passport holders should be facing charges of Treason…
This is an existential war…we should treat it as such…

Dorrido Dorrido
DD
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  R S Foster

Are you proposing the same fate for the neo nazi netanyahu government which has killed around 15,OOO people in 50 days, the worst carnage this century and on a par with Pol Pot’s killing fields

R.I. Loquitur
R.I. Loquitur
4 months ago

False equivalence is strong with Hamas supporters. SMH

Doug Israel
Doug Israel
4 months ago
Reply to  R.I. Loquitur

It’s hard to expect more from Nazis. They lie whenver they breath.

Sayantani Gupta
SG
Sayantani Gupta
4 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Yes. I posted a comment on similar lines which is back to the strange UH censoring.( Perhaps funding issues)

Last edited 4 months ago by Sayantani Gupta
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Surely MOSSAD could liquidate them and do us all a favour?
It’s only Qatar after all.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

Invading sovereign countries, especially friendly ones is unfashionable at the moment..

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

That never stopped MOSSAD.

sue vogel
SV
sue vogel
4 months ago

Mossad hasn’t invaded anywhere.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

It’s NOT an invasion but rather a brief visit, a long weekend if you like.

Steve Jolly
SJ
Steve Jolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Didn’t stop the US launching a covert military operation into a nominally friendly Pakistan in order to kill Osama Bin Laden, and that was under a liberal and sentimentally anti-war President. It may be unfashionable as you say, but exceptions will be made. Nations that have the power to break the rules and get away with it will do so when it suits them, because there’s no referee to call fouls and no impartial judge to appeal to. In geopolitics, the law of the jungle, of might makes right, still prevails.

Doug Israel
DI
Doug Israel
4 months ago
Reply to  Steve Jolly

I believe that Israel is holding back from violating Qatari sovereignty to get the head of the beast because Qatar is aiding in getting some of the hostages released. I do not believe anywhere on earth will be safe for the Hamas Nazis in the long run.

sue vogel
SV
sue vogel
4 months ago

It could indeed….

Rafi Stern
Rafi Stern
4 months ago

I read that Israel has committed to Qatar not to assassinate them in Qatar.

Janos Boris
JB
Janos Boris
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

It is rumoured that the endgame is expected to be played out in the Sinai past the far end of Hamas’s secret escape tunnels.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Bit difficult at the moment given that a lot of our oil and gas is Qatari due to the Ukraine War.

0 0
00
0 0
4 months ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

Maybe the Mossad can help with that.

Rafi Stern
RS
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Iran needs to be taught a lesson, but that will be more difficult and far more costly to all involved.

Peter D
Peter D
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Whether we want it or not, war is coming our way. But before this happens, I think that we in the West will face a lot of terrorism in our own backyards. If we do not defend ourselves and make some very hard decisions (including swallowing the bitter pill of our own pride) then our future looks very bleak.
Our post WW2 knee jerk reaction to the evils of fascism has pushed us way, way too far left. We have welcomed far too many people in who will do us harm.

Simon Neale
SN
Simon Neale
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

I agree with the main point entirely, and with sadness and trepidation. But will we face terrorist attacks? Why would Muslims bother, given that the British establishment cave in at every opportunity. It’s clear that the Met Police, run by a Muslim, are simply frightened of sparking off a rebellion they could not handle. And the BBC have the same fears, coupled with an ideological commitment against treating Muslims as anything other than a justly-aggrieved underdog.

Caty Gonzales
Caty Gonzales
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

I think, yes, we will face terrorist attacks. The main reasoning would be to terrorize the population, but also for the true believers out there, terror attacks are part of their duty.
I think for a significant proportion of the country terror attacks with this constant drumbeat of ‘no clue why the Jihadist did this’, ‘warnings of increased Islamophobia’, ‘right wing racists’ and so on, increases the anxiety as people feel they are just sitting targets.

sue vogel
SV
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

I agree but I disagree that speaking out against justifiable fear of Islamist violence should ever be called islamophobia, which is a nonsense term given that a phobia is a fear (often to the point of avoidance) of what the person is phobic of. Militant Islam by its very nature means to engender fear. We mustn’t allow such manipulation to enter our language.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Caty Gonzales

Among the ‘true believers’ you can add the ethnostate of israel whose current government believes it has the right to all the land of Palestine and to this end carnage and annihilation is being visited on Gaza while Israeli settler militias attack Palestinians and push them from their land in the West Bank. The Israeli govt frim president to netanyahu to ministers have made no secret of their intent. If international law cannot be respected we are all in trouble
https://znetwork.org/znetarticle/an-open-letter-from-jewish-students/

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Very sensible fears of you ask me..

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  Simon Neale

Islamists’ stock in trade is to terrorise into submission.

Dorrido Dorrido
DD
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

that’s what Israel is doing in Palestine – terrorising and l-killing into submission and annihilation

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
4 months ago

And a good thing too; the targeting of Hamas terrorists is an entirely legitimate one.

Dorrido Dorrido
DD
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Kerry Davie

Indiscriminate targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure is a war crime.

Katja Sipple
Katja Sipple
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

Truer words have never been written!

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

Surely the majority were NOT welcomed but rather snuck in the back door?
And you think threatening them all, in their millions, is a clever move do you? You’ll have to stop reading those comic books man!

Nicholas Licari
NL
Nicholas Licari
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

I couldn’t agree with you more, Rafi. We in the West (Europe, North America, parts of Asia), have been experiencing a turning away from the values that made our civilization and culture what it is. Not a perfect one, but one that has, in fits and starts, made improvements, and the only world culture that has as its aspirational foundation an acceptance of all people the world over. But how and where to start to turn this tide?I too fear that the lights in the “West” are dimming.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

How hypocritical can you get, or is this Orwellian doublespeak, not seeing what is happening in front of your eyes? It is ISRAEL which is annihilating a defenceless population, a child killed every 10 minutes in Gaza, settler militias in the meantine terrorising Palestinians in the West Bank, and pushing them off their land. The West is fanning the flames of a genocide in front of the world’s eyes; What values are you talking about? The rest of the world is horrified and wants this carnage and crimes to stop

Nicholas Licari
Nicholas Licari
4 months ago

If Israel wanted to annihilate all Gazans, it could have done so by now. Instead, they have pleaded and ushered about a million Gazan civilians to the south. It is Hamas who tells them to stay. It is Hamas who harasses the escape corridors of the civilian Gazans. It is Hamas, and others, who want Israel in its entirety to be removed from Palestine, namely, the nation of Israel itself- or do you not perhaps understand what Hamas and it’s supporters around the world mean by the word Palestine. If this is what the world wants, then the lights will indeed go out in the West, and if or when it does, the entire world goes dark. Be careful what you wish for.

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago

Hmmm.. good post, but methinks we shouldn’t feed the trolling.

Nicholas Licari
Nicholas Licari
4 months ago

Thanks for the heads up Lesley. I’m new to this but I feel that I can’t just stay silent anymore.

martin logan
martin logan
4 months ago

As always, you offer no ultimate solution, just maintenance of an unmaintainable status quo.
Been going on for 75 years…

R.I. Loquitur
RL
R.I. Loquitur
4 months ago

Yeah, and Israel just started shooting for no reason at all. They just attacked with no warning. SMH.

Nicholas Licari
Nicholas Licari
4 months ago

If Israel wanted to annihilate all Gazans, it could have done so by now. Instead, they have pleaded and ushered about a million Gazan civilians to the south. It is Hamas who tells them to stay. It is Hamas who harasses the escape corridors of the civilian Gazans. It is Hamas, and others, who want Israel in its entirety to be removed from Palestine, namely, the nation of Israel itself- or do you not perhaps understand what Hamas and it’s supporters around the world mean by the word Palestine. If this is what the world wants, then the lights will indeed go out in the West, and if or when it does, the entire world goes dark. Be careful what you wish for.

martin logan
martin logan
4 months ago

Just explain what you finally want to do with 6 million Palestinians.
The rest is posturing…

Nicholas Licari
Nicholas Licari
4 months ago
Reply to  martin logan

What do I want to do? What about the other Arab states? What about Hamas and Hezbollah, not to mention Iran, getting serious about a two state solution. But we all know why they won’t.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

??? Why don’t you leave your country and live with brits somewhere else? Why should the Palestinians leave their land? Use ther same argument for israelis then

Nicholas Licari
Nicholas Licari
4 months ago

Read my post again. I did not suggest that the Gazans be displaced. But the other Arab states should be serious about negotiating a two state solution, acceptable to all sides. But Iran and its proxies, the most radical entities, are not interested in any solution, except, monstrously, a new final solution .

martin logan
ML
martin logan
4 months ago

Expecting arsonists to put out a fire is a little unlikely.
This has to be a complete seperation of Israelis and Palestinians for some time, with the end of the settler KKK. The only viable solution…

Dorrido Dorrido
DD
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

“Pleaded and ushered” – orwellian doublespeak and surely echoing israeli propaganda.around 1.5 million people were given some hours notice to displace, many of them old, infirm, children, with no place to go and along destroye-d roads, no food, water, ledicine or energy which israel cut off (another war crime). The south is also one of the most densely populated areas on the planet.
Are you saying that israel should not be obliged to respect international law? What signal does this give to the world? It is this lawlessness which will lead the world into peril.

sue vogel
SV
sue vogel
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter D

We’ve had a sizeable and growing potentially islamist fifth column among us for decades. We should be very concerned indeed if/when? they achieve formal political representation in the UK.

Norm Haug
Norm Haug
4 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

Muslims are very close to a political take over of the U.K. Yet the British seem incapable of stopping illegal immigration. I see the suicide of a once proud nation. The British People gave a strong message to their politicians in the last election but unfortunately the Tories wasted their majority on petty infighting, vanity, jealousy and a complete abdication of responsibility to the electorate. Was there not one statesman with the brains, courage and sense of urgency to stand up for his/her country.

Stephanie Surface
SS
Stephanie Surface
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Iran’s population would be relieved to get rid of the Mullahs. Supposedly some exile Iranians were also taking part in Sunday’s anti semitism demonstration. I also saw some Indian flags.

Shelley Ann
SA
Shelley Ann
4 months ago

Yes. See Konstantin Kisin covering the march https://youtu.be/QjJAHHYykjA?si=gw1lTxsnKjx6SWy8

james goater
JG
james goater
4 months ago
Reply to  Shelley Ann

He does an excellent job in this video, well worth watching.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

Anti Semitism? The Palestinians are almost all Semites (as are every Arabic speaking nation) whereas Israeli Jews are mainly NOT Semite at all. They are mostly Ashkanazi Jews from Eastern Europe including Russia some having gone to the US enroute. That’s why DNA testing is illegal in Israel. They’re mainly Slavs! So anti Israel is pro Semite. It is also pro decency, pro humanitarian, pro life and anti criminal, anti murder, anti massacre, anti genocide and anti genetic cleansing!

Avro Lanc
Avro Lanc
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yeah and the swastika is just a religious symbol right…..? Jeez you people make my skin crawl.

Rafi Stern
RS
Rafi Stern
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Liam, congratulations on managing to mix so much disingenuous double-speak, and falsehoods masquerading as facts in such a short comment. I really shouldn’t be feeding the trolls, but there are some important falsehoods there to refute, so I am taking the bate.
Antisemitism, for your information was a term first coined by the Austrian Jewish scholar Moritz Steinschneider (1816-1907) to counter pseudo-scientific claims of the superiority of Aryans over Jews, and has since then until this day remained a (flawed) term for antijewism.
Yes, Arabs are also Semites. Which is why I share a large portion of my DNA with people from Yemen. Sorry no Slavs. I had it tested. If you were to read even a small amount about this subject, you would understand that the whole Jews are Khazars hypothesis has no genetic evidence. Most ashkenazi Jews are semitic with smatterings of Romans and additions from whichever country they spent the last millennium in. Ashkenazi Jews arrived in Europe from Judea as slaves of the Roman empire. Sefardi Jews who make up about half of the Jewish population of Israel spent the last millennium in Arab countries as did Iraqi Jews so they are even more semitic, and the Persian Jews were of course in Persia and picked up some Persian DNA.
DNA testing is indeed not legally available in Israel but not in order to hide Khazars. It is due to the Jewish religious issue of mamzerut. In Jewish religious law someone born to a married woman but from an affair she was having with another man is unable to marry in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony. Because the Jewish religious authorities recognize that this is a rather backward law but can’t annul it because it is written in the Torah, they bend over backwards to find ways to disbelieve evidence of this being the case. That is why the lawmakers stepped in and forbade home DNA test providers from offering their services to Israeli addresses. Also if you are an Arab. Crazy but true. Medical DNA testing is of course widely available.

James S.
James S.
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Thanks for speaking truth to bad ideology.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Ashkenazis are the smartest people on the planet. No wonder then that they turned a barren desert into a thriving, prosperous, functioning democracy.

Terry M
TM
Terry M
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Iran can have them continue to attack the “Zionist Entity” at a limited level, while remaining largely unconcerned about retaliation as they are fundamentally expendable.
Trump had them scared when he snuffed Soleimani. No one is afraid of Biden. Re-elect Trump and much of this nonsense will be brought under control with a few well-chosen removals.

martin logan
martin logan
4 months ago
Reply to  Terry M

Trump respects only strength. He just wakes up in the morning and decides what to do.
Zero consistent policy.
He probably thought the 7 Oct attack was “genius.”

martin logan
ML
martin logan
4 months ago
Reply to  Rafi Stern

Very doubtful that Israel would or could fight Iran alone.
Because Hamas’ evil attack also blew apart the Anti-Iran coalition.
Moreover, Israel’s current behavior in Gaza insures that no other nation would follow it into Iran.
You better start admitting that Hamas gained a tactical & intel advantage over Israel that caught the latter flat-footed.
And Israel’s responses since then have only alienated its potential allies.
Iran didn’t know about the attack.
But it will be the main beneficiary.

Shrunken Genepool
SG
Shrunken Genepool
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Iran also needs to be destroyed as a military threat before it gets nukes…

Dorrido Dorrido
DD
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

you can say the same about Israel – and it HAS nukes

R.I. Loquitur
RL
R.I. Loquitur
4 months ago

The only thing keeping Israel from being overrun by “martyrs” is its nukes.

Pedro the Exile
P
Pedro the Exile
4 months ago

Eh-you are equating Israel with Iran?

Dorrido Dorrido
DD
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

both are theocracies, Israel is extremist right wing, stealing Palestinians land through illegal settlements )- I don’t think Iran is doing this

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

Hopefully you have the magic wand to accomplish that? NATO with all its might and 500,000 Ukrainian troops couldn’t defeat Russia but you think a defeated, depleated NATO will defeat Iran, with Russia at its back? No more comic books for you I think!

martin logan
martin logan
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Nice to shift the goalposts from “Russia will inevitably defeat Ukraine,”
to:
“Russia will never be driven from its devastated little corner of Ukraine!”

L Brady
L Brady
4 months ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Can you not think of any other insult apart from your “comic books” quote ? Your contributions on here are nonsensical and repetitive. I initially thought you were ChatGPT or something but I’m sure even this new technology has better thinking skills than you.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Hamas is literately the police force and army for the Palestinians, remember Palestine is under occupation by a apartheid regime, the Palestinians have been defending their land and homes for some 80 years. They are not supported by the great military industrial complex of America like the apartheid/rouge state call Israel…

Lesley van Reenen
LV
Lesley van Reenen
4 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You haven’t the first clue what apartheid is.

martin logan
ML
martin logan
4 months ago

Did Boers legally and arbitrarily steal land from blacks?
They certainly did beat up and kill Blacks, very like what we see on the West Bank.

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Hamas won’t be “squished” – It’s a resistance movement which will exist as long as Israel continues to oppress Palestinians, steal their land etc. So no amount of killing of women and children, no amount of war crimes in targeting civilians, starving them, displacing them, in Gaza, will lead to an end of Hamas. What would be a step towards resolution would be a ceasefire, change leadership in Israel (get rid of the current right wing neo nazis in power there), change leadership in Gaza, and move towards a just resolution. The West notably the US and UK, germany, continued fanning of the flames will not help Israel or Palestine in the long run, but will continue this cycle of war and bloodshed, probably also lead to wider conflict.

sue vogel
SV
sue vogel
4 months ago

You’d have us believe that Hamas cuddly bunnies don’t oppress Palestinians? Whatever rights a Palestinian child might have are oppressed when it first goes to kindergarten and is taught to want to die while murdering Jews and this continues when the child goes to junior jihadi summer camps run by Hamas. Its parents lack the gumption to counter that. Such is the complete hold over them all by Hamas.
The only hope for parents and children is complete eradication of Hamas and its presence in Gaza

martin logan
ML
martin logan
4 months ago
Reply to  sue vogel

While Israel ingeniously steals land on the West Bank and imprisons anyone who resists.
And now Hams is probably more popular on teh West Bank than in Gaza.
Another brilliant Israeli move…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Hamas is more an idea than people.. thetefore
unsquishable..

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Hamas will not be “squished’ by bombing women and children in Gaza. More violence and killing of Gazans will radicalise people even more. Resistence fighters go away when their grievance goes away – justice for Palestinians will be better for israel too.

https://on.ft.com/3N5tBXj

james goater
james goater
4 months ago

You know very well that Hamas’s main grievance is the very existence of Israel itself. So peace will reign only when “their grievance” is removed? I have trouble seeing it your way.

Dorrido Dorrido
DD
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  james goater

hamas’s grievance is the oppression of palestinians. like all resistance movements, once that oppression stops and Palestinians are allowed to live in security on their land, the resistance will continue – examples of this can be found throughout history, in South Africa, in Ireland, in Algeria….

james goater
JG
james goater
4 months ago

If Hamas continues to rule the Palestinians of Gaza, you know very well that the interpretation of “their land” is the entire land area of Israel, “from the river to the sea”. And you consider that’s a peaceful solution? Again, I have trouble seeing it your way. (And did you really mean to say that “…once the oppression stops and Palestinians are allowed to live in security on their land, the resistance will continue…”?)

Sophie H
SH
Sophie H
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Netanyahu has been supporting Hamas for years, weakening the Palestinian authority and obstructing any hopes of a two-state solution. What happened on 7 October was a horrific ramification of this, but it has, on balance, given the Israeli Government exactly what they wanted: the chance to completely obliterate Gaza and the Palestinian population with impunity. Quoting Netanyahu “Israel is the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people.” This is a genocidal mission of expansion, yet people are refusing to see it. And people are also completely failing to acknowledge the wider context of this conflict, the decades of illegal occupation, oppression and massacre; the apartheid state Palestinians have been enduring for years; the illegal imprisonments.
https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2022/02/israels-system-of-apartheid/
Of course, none of this reaches mainstream media and when it does, it is meekly represented.
15,000 Palestinians slaughtered in the past 7 weeks; 70% innocent civilians; 5,500 children. How can Israel justifiably call this a ‘right to defence’? The world needs to wake up – this is utterly sickening.

Last edited 4 months ago by Sophie H
martin logan
ML
martin logan
4 months ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Well, good luck on “belling the cat…”
Hamas’ strategy is to make Israelis start thinking irrationally. ~Seems to be working.
The US might have been just as clueless after 9/11. Thankfully, it had many months to develop a strategy that worked far better than any expected.
Also didn’t flatten Kabul…

Allen Z
AZ
Allen Z
4 months ago

Re the Houthis, the US should re-designate them as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The Biden Admin. foolishly took them off the list several years ago.

Last edited 4 months ago by Allen Z
D Glover
DG
D Glover
4 months ago
Reply to  Allen Z

Has Biden been president for several years?

Last edited 4 months ago by D Glover
Charles Joseph
CJ
Charles Joseph
4 months ago

What a weak pearl clutcher of an article. Hezbolla is filling its diaper daily, as is Iran. Israel doesn’t want war in the north this minute but will turn to the north in time. That’s why half the army and half the air force are locked and loaded for the north. They are there now, in massive force. Unlike Sinwar, neither Hezbollah nor Iran is suicidal. The Houthis? Give us a break. Everyone of their slow missiles is shot down by the US , Israel or Saudi Arabia. The west is winning and this article is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles Joseph

Certainly the Houthis are taken care of by the Saudis.
Wish to have been a fly on the wall, when the Saudi Crown Prince and Iranian President Raisi met for talks on the 11.11. Raisi with his flowing dark gowns walking along the hallway in Ryad reminded me of an evil Darth Vader.

Last edited 4 months ago by Stephanie Surface
Ryan Scarrow
RS
Ryan Scarrow
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles Joseph

“this article is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.”
This is such a hyperbolic thing to say that I can’t take anything else in your comment seriously.

Pedro the Exile
P
Pedro the Exile
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles Joseph

Totally agree with your comment about the tone of the article-Iran is in many ways a failed state with a crumbling economy kept afloat by oil with a very young demographic kept under control by a despotic theocracy-they are vulnerable on many different fronts and that’s part of the reason they fight proxy wars.Ultimately Iran/Lebanon can be taken out by Israel/USA with or without the Western Alliance.The shia/sunni schism is a major weakness resulting in the Arab states being fractured, a position not helped by Egypt/Jordan being signatories to the Abrahams Accord and the continuing proxy war between Iran and Saudi.
If we get a less senile POTUS next time,I suspect Iranian sanctions will be reimposed,further weakening both the economy and the Mullahs sway over the population.You would normally have on eye on Russia via Syria but I think they have their hands full at the moment and for the foreseeable future
If there was a conflagration ,my money would be on a relatively short one with an excuse to take out some of the more troublesome elements once and for all. The main concern is the backlash from the immigrant anti Semites but then again, that might just bring forward the inevitable clash of civilisations and reset the clock i the West.

Last edited 4 months ago by Pedro the Exile
martin logan
ML
martin logan
4 months ago

Genius!
Wolfowitz’s invasion Plan for Iraq 2.0…

martin logan
martin logan
4 months ago
Reply to  Charles Joseph

The problem is: if Israel gave a war, would anyone show up?
The coalition against Iran was obliterated by Israel’s response to 7 Oct.
It’s thus doubtful that Israel will ever be able to project enough power to permanently weaken Iran.
The US went in against a far weaker Iraq. Yeah, it toppled Saddam, but created a war with his minority Sunni supporters. The majority of Iranians are Shia, and would fight, simply because they were being invaded.
And with Israel isolated from everyone but the US (and Germany), it might suffer an even worse fate…

j watson
JW
j watson
4 months ago

In some regards the Hamas/Israel conflict almost a side-show to the stand-off West vs Iran. There will be Hawks in the Pentagon and in the IDF hoping Hezbollah provoke a response that could include taking out Iran’s nuclear sites. Iran knows that which is why it’s been non-committal. There will be others worried such a strike could not be contained and a broader conflagration ensue. Xi and CCP will be hoping it escalates and provides yet more distraction before a post Taiwanese election Jan 24 strike across the S China Sea. Putin of course already delighted at how things have played out but he needs further escalation in Middle East or Far East to help him.
Dangerous times. We’re a bit late (i.e the West), but if we stir ourselves sufficiently that triple axis of evil intent can be resisted.

Last edited 4 months ago by j watson
Alex Carnegie
RC
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

An aspect that has attracted little attention is the attacks on the US bases in Eastern Syria and northern Iraq by Iranian sponsored militias. They seem designed to harass the Americans i.e. lots of soldiers getting wounded but very few killed. Cf. Similar attacks on British base in Basra a few years back. Presumably the idea is to get the Americans to withdraw without triggering a war. It worked in Basra so why not again?

If this happens, Iran will have stooges or allies all the way from its own frontier to the Israeli borders with Lebanon and Syria. Its ability to strike at Israel with missiles will thus be much greater. (So much for the neo-cons’s scheming over the last twenty years!)

I can’t help feeling that Hamas jumped the gun and got ahead of the Iranian schedule. Maybe Hamas did not anticipate such “success” and therefore only anticipated limited retaliation not a wholesale attempt to extirpate them. Iran certainly seems to be both irritated with Hamas and biding its time.

j watson
JW
j watson
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

I don’t think Iran expected two Carrier forces immediately mobilised with the strike power to do them v serious harm. I think the small attacks on the border largely ‘performative’ for their own audiences, but not so much to generate a major retaliation.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Those carrier forces are currently stationed in waters well out of range of Iranian missile defences. It is very likely they will remain so if any conflagration takes place. Like the Dreadnoughts in the First World War, their exorbitant cost means that there’s enormous pressure not to use them against a near-peer adversary. Iran probably are close enough to this if they’re fighting in their back-yard with their well dug-in missile and drone capacities. Add to that recent experience of using those drones in Ukraine and it’s likely any war with Iran would be very costly for the US. I think it was the carrier deployment that was performative here.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

What about the 14 Ohio class SSBNs?

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
4 months ago

Sure they’ll fire their missiles and some of them will get past Iran’s AD, but as the war in Ukraine & the devastation in Gaza has proved, the real conventional carnage only comes with heavy bombs dropped from aircraft. The payloads on Cruise & other longer ranged missiles aren’t huge. The US have had a good run of being able to do this unopposed in all their conflicts since Vietnam, but they simply won’t be able to against Iran. To be honest I don’t think it would be a disaster from the UK’s standpoint if they tried – that way we would all be able to see what a massive waste of money the F-35 was & then we could scrap it and get on with building something that works.

j watson
j watson
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

You are forgetting they can use Israeli air bases too, should the need arise, and may well be doing so already.
Iran does not have the missile tech to devastate the Carrier forces in such a way that China might in the S China sea. Furthermore the air power well able to refuel mid-air so the Carriers being out of some supposed range not an issue.
The US and allies have multiple launch positions they can use and would devastate Iranian air defence etc v quickly. Fact is that deterrent working thus far. Were it no deterrent Hezbollah would have taken far more opportunity already.

Pedro the Exile
P
Pedro the Exile
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Indeed-I was amazed when Sleep Joe immediately despatched the USS Ford and then Eisenhower-he must have been frogmarched into it but it was a massive statement of intent.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

By whose authority are the US illegally maintaining “bases in Eastern Syria”? Certainly not that of the legitimate government. Therefore it is hardly surprising that they are under sporadic, if somewhat feeble attack.

What would be the reaction of Scotland be to say having about 1000 Nigerian troops illegally stationed in Inverness? Not that friendly I would presume?

Gordon Black
GB
Gordon Black
4 months ago

That’s SNP territory …so … PoC? …welcomed with open arms!

Pedro the Exile
P
Pedro the Exile
4 months ago

Presumably celebrate Scottish diversity and ask them what pronouns they preferred?

Alex Carnegie
RC
Alex Carnegie
4 months ago

No legal authority. I fear the US has a more relaxed attitude to international law than yourself (except when calling for Mossad to take out various people in the Gulf). As with Basra, it is possible to see the attacks as the natural spontaneous response of the local population but I think most observers see the militias as funded, armed and directed by the Iranian RG.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Alex Carnegie

That sounds a bit hypocritical, surely you would welcome a ‘visit’ from MOSSAD in Scotland?

Even I can think of a few ‘candidates’.

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Have some pie.. it’s available in the sky.. you’ll like it. Far nicer than reality crow!

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
4 months ago

Tehran bases its regional strategy on a doctrine of “Forward Defence” that, loosely speaking, means using regional non-state terror groups to fight its opponents abroad and retain stability at home.

I can’t understand this, and perhaps someone can help explain. Is it that the Iranian leadership gain credit with the population by sponsoring terror against Israel, and thereby keep a grip on power? And they are a thousand miles away from Israel, which is hardly an existential threat to them. It looks like a case of supporting the Muslim co-religionists wherever they are – so why aren’t they equally active in other areas of conflict? Or is it just as so often portrayed, that they are first and foremost anti-Jewish?

Sayantani Gupta
SG
Sayantani Gupta
4 months ago

I find it curious that the author does not mention Quatar as a player of greater menace than Iran. Quatar is the political base of Hamas. It’s money funds it as it does the Houthis. It is an ever greater hostile power to Israel than Iran whose policy apparatus is divided between Raisi and the military. Quatar is the opposite to Saudi Arabia under MBS and moderate Arab states like Egypt or Jordan. It also is a bastion for Pakistani ISI retirees and extreme Islamism.
The author seems to have marshalled facts with a pre- set agenda in these strange omissions.

Dorrido Dorrido
DD
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

It was Netanyahu who chanelled Qatari funding to hamas – get rid of him and his extremist government
https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/netanyahu-israel-gaza-hamas-1.7010035

Last edited 4 months ago by Dorrido Dorrido
Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
4 months ago

Not necessarily as simple as that. By that analogy who created Bin Laden or ISIS?

Steve Jolly
SJ
Steve Jolly
4 months ago

Everyone knows the US funded Bin Laden and the organization that became Al Qaeda in the 80s when they were fighting the Soviets, so yes, the US pretty much did create Al Qaeda. ISIS is more complicated, more an indirect result of ousting Saddam Hussein and Bashar Assad’s failure to quickly suppress a rebellion in neighboring Syria, intersecting crises that flared into something much bigger than either.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

Look! Nobody wants to be confused by facts and reason here.. Say ‘Gung Ho’ and attack all perceived enemies from your armchair”.. That’s ‘ow we roll ’round ‘ere!

sue vogel
SV
sue vogel
4 months ago

I tend to agree. Qatar offers funds to Hamas and safe haven to Hamas leaders and it’s naive not to expect double dealing from them.

Edward Seymour
Edward Seymour
4 months ago

We really need to pay attention to the nature of Islam in the modern world. Hamas are not fighting for a parcel of land, for 2 states. That may be a casus belli but it is not the end. The end is the victory of Islam and sharia world wide. Islam is a religion/ideology of conquest and for a “new” religion (6th century compared to over 3000 years of Judaism) it has been remarkably successful. But it has only just got started.
The ideological leaders of Islam sense this is their time. The west has been crippled by the virus within its own culture: intersectionalism, the obsession with finding who we can defer to who is at the apex of the oppressed such as “people of colour” which the left sees as Palestinians (but not Israelis who they regard as no better than white Europeans).
5 fronts have opened against Israel as the canary in the mine. Europe has been inundated with millions of young Islamic men and the leading voices of our culture, from religious leaders to politicians, to movie stars to comedians to political, industrial, institutional and commercial leaders: all infected with the same mind virus do not know what to do about it even where they actually identify as a problem. “Queers for Palestine” sums up the tragic stupidity and blindness of our society.
A war is coming which may not stop at Tours or Andalusia next time. We may avoid it now although many Muslim voices will be saying if not now, when. We must realise that what Islam wants is not what we think modern people want. They want world dominance and they are not afraid to die for it. In fact they welcome the chance. I have no doubt that the majority of Muslims are peaceful people, but so were the Germans in 1939 or the Japanese. But history doesn’t remember them. It is the ideologues and jihadists who count and will do whilst the majority effectively give them silent succour. (Or even not such silent succour as we saw on the streets of Gaza when the poor dead and tortured girls were paraded).

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  Edward Seymour

total nonsense; you may be trembling on your sofa in fear of an imaginary threat from islam, but hamas is a resistance movement acting against thre 70 year oppression of Palestinians and theft of their land. They were encouraged by Israel and the US to participate in the 2006 elections, which they did on a campaign to GOVERN, not to eliminate Israel. They made overtures to israel, but were constantly betrayed by Israel under netanyahu who has made it clear that he OPPOSES the two state solution. The intent of the current israeli government, from president, to PM, to ministers is clear – they have stated that the intention is to destroy Gaza. Israel is a lawless rogue state, this is the danger to peace right now (israel DOES NOT represent all Jews, many of whom worldwide and inside israel OPPOSE the current regimeà

Edward Seymour
Edward Seymour
4 months ago

It seems to me that it is the Palestinian Arabs who oppose a 2 state solution since they have rejected so many, including Clinton’s. His was the best they’re ever going to get and the new situation since the pogrom, is that Israelis will never offer it again. This, by the way is the case with even those Israelis most opposed to Bibi. Remember the wake up call for the Israeli left was October 7 when it was anti Netanyahu kibbutzim and a radical peace rave that were targeted by the Hamas fascists. Wise up for your own sake: Hamas like their mentors the Muslim Brotherhood are ideologically committed to the eradication of the infidel and of apostates. It’s what they do and no land deal will alter that. They simply hate you just like the Iranian mullahs do by the way.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago

Sobering analysis. I can’t help but notice however that this article, as well as many others on this subject, tacitly admits the reality that Iran and Saudi Arabia remain strategic foes irrespective of what Israel does. Why, then, is it supposed that the Abraham accords are no longer viable as a consequence of the October 7 atrocity?

The strategic alliance between the Saudis and the West remains in place. The strategic alliance between Israel and the West remain unchanged too. Even if the October 7 attacks were not directly intended to sabotage the normalisation of relations between Israel and the Saudis, surely it remains in the interests of the Western allies – including Saudi Arabia – to conclude it anyway?

Last edited 4 months ago by John Riordan
Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Nonsense, Saudi Arabia was well advance with a rapprochement to israel, which it stopped because of the barbaric attack on Gazan civilians

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
4 months ago

On August 3rd, 1914, Great Britain entered what was only at that point a Balkan crisis.
Already by 1911 democracy was showing itself to be a difficult phenomenon for the ruling classes to direct. Most of the British left were against involvement in a continental war. It was the Conservative Party in the Commons that was braying for war. By getting their wish they lost everything they valued.
Already flattered into becoming the new master section of the state by the 1890s, the young generations of the young democracy were persuaded to sustain vast casualties. And the families of the military aristocrats were decimated, not just on the battlefield but also by multiple death duties.
Reading newspaper articles in the July crisis of 1914, they bear no relation to what came after. Correspondents put both sides of the case. One foresaw Britain’s neutrality on the grounds that Gladstone’s temporary treaty of 1870 meant that Britain had no military obligation to Belgium under the current arrangement.
All worthless speculation. As was democracy itself. There was no debate in the Commons over whether the country should go to war. There wasn’t even consensus in the cabinet. Asquith, the prime minister, Grey, a few privy counsellors and the King got together at Buckingham Palace one night – when the powers of darkness are exalted – and began the first ‘democratic’ war.
In 1915 the Bishop of Durham wrote that the time before the war, merely a year previous, seemed like a dream. An unreality against the stark horror of the present. An age that could never be recovered.
The Bishop remembered his own parents – who would have been aged 115 at the time he wrote – telling of the fear they had of Napoleon Bonaparte coming to Britain and shedding their blood on their own hearthstones. But even the people of their time didn’t face so much ‘lamentation and mourning and woe’ in that previous great war as did those who were bombarded from sea and air in 1915.
If only the Kaiser’s ministers had determined to pursue policies for the equitable sharing of resources and political power, the Bishop lamented. Why did they not pause to consider the cost in blood of their selfish ambitions? Why did they engineer things so as to call the tempest down, when it might have rolled over, ‘like some thunder cloud of the summer day, heaved by the wind beyond the hills’.
If only the great nations of Europe had seen that goodwill was better than jealousy and suspicion, the Bishop continued. Why didn’t the ministers – the servants – of those nations take counsel to ensure that their own people’s peace and prosperity fitted together with that of the others, side by side?
But Bishop observed, the age of democracy could bring on war, wrecking harmless lives and pretty villages, just as effectively as could the age of Sennacherib with his legions arrayed in purple and gold. Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm.xx.7).

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

If Asquith hadn’t been SO fascinated by the voluptuous body of Venetia Stanley, his LIBERAL government may not have blundered into an unwinnable war.

Last edited 4 months ago by Charles Stanhope
anthony henderson
anthony henderson
4 months ago

Well it seems to me that if the Israelis and Americans bit the bullet and launched a major attack on Iran a lot of the problems described in this article would disappear or, at least abate. I also get the impression that it wouldn’t take much for the Iranian people to rise up against their mad government.

Wyatt W
WW
Wyatt W
4 months ago

I think the US is too close to an election for that to ever happen…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

I’d say you were incorrect in your assessments but it would be a gross understatement!

martin logan
ML
martin logan
4 months ago

Israel has thought purely tactically for some 75 years–and it has led the West into the same trap that Israel now finds itself.
Instead of developing a strategy to co-exist with all the nations in the area, Israel has been satisfied to just beat the Arabs each time a war erupts.
They aren’t stupid. There are important reasons why they do this:
1) The Israeli military loves to show how great they are in tactical operations. You get ahead in politics, and in life in general, by being known as someone who scored a great success in 1967…1973…or 2006 (don’t talk about 1982).
2) No consensus exists, and arguably will ever exist, as to the end-game. Telling half a million settlers that they need to vacate stolen Palestinian land would tear the country apart.
3) There is also absolutely no way to “disappear” 6 million Palestinians–the root cause of the conflict. “Crazy Ben” and Smotrich would opt for ethnic cleansing, but no nation will take any Palestinians, particularly a Europe in the throes of migrant backlash.
So Israel will just kick the can down the road. That a nuclear war may lie there is very possible.
But it’s a lot easier for Israel to fight a nuclear war, than to develop a strategy that avoids one…

martin logan
martin logan
4 months ago

Anyone hoping to stage an “Iraq Invasion 2.0” in Iran will be sorely disappointed, I fear.
To overthrow the regime you have to occupy the country. But occupying the country would immediately set almost every Iranian against a Christian US and a Jewish Israel.
Hopefully, no one in Washington or Israel is that dumb, especially after the Iraq War.
The article is still useful, because it shows how Israel’s kicking the can down the road has only led to the current dead end.
And war with Iran is the ultimate dead end for everyone…

Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
4 months ago

I think if the conflict were going to expand, it would have already. The worst of the civilian carnage it seems has passed, and even when it resumes, it won’t have the same impact a second time. The initial shock was the greatest period of danger. The players have weighed their respective interests, and have chosen not to escalate. Saudi Arabia and most of the other Sunni Muslim countries won’t join a fight against Israel led by Shia Iran, especially when some of them are already fighting Iranian proxies closer to home. Egypt was so unconcerned for the Palestinians that they couldn’t even be bothered to open the border with Gaza for weeks after the initial attack.
The initial cards have been dealt and nobody raised the stakes. Despite the bluster and loud condemnations, nobody fancied joining a conflict that would benefit Iran at Israel’s expense. The hostility between Iran and other Arab states was a significant contributing factor to the possible reconciliation of Israel and Saudi Arabia. The timing of the Oct 7th attacks leads me to disbelieve Iran’s claims of innocence. The entire scheme has benefited Iran and nobody else, scuttling any chance of a broader reconciliation between Israel and the rest of the Arab world for the foreseeable future, leaving Iran’s enemies divided.
Unless something significant changes, I think we’re past the point where the risk of global conflict was highest. Certainly, a lot of things could still happen, but on balance, I think the likeliest outcome is that Israel will slowly grind down Hamas with a military operation followed by a long occupation period, punctuated by short ceasefires to allow for some humanitarian relief. Hamas can use the hostages to buy time but ultimately, they will run out, and they’ll be faced with the reality that they face a resolved and determined Israel alone and that nobody is riding to the rescue. They’ve been used as pawns in a game of power, and pawns are expendable.

Last edited 4 months ago by Steve Jolly
Bernard Brothman
Bernard Brothman
4 months ago

I hope Israel is prepared for the doomsday scenario whereby Hezbollah, Syria, the Houthis, all fire rockets and missiles at the same time to try to overwhelm Israel’s defense systems. Hamas may or may not have been defeated by then.

Edward Seymour
Edward Seymour
4 months ago

They are.

René Descartes
René Descartes
4 months ago

It’s not that we might be about to see a return of 1914 with “the lamps going out all over Europe”. It’s clear that they’ve been going out for a while. But at least we can now all see them going out and hopefully the majority in the world will choose the light of decency over the darkness of islamophobia, antisemitism and hatred.

Phil Rees
Phil Rees
4 months ago

Nothing here justifies the alarmist title “Israel’s war is about to escalate”. All that is offered are a list of dangerous possibilities, but with little attention to the presence of 2 gigantic US carrier fleets and lord knows what submarines. T given Biden’s duplicity towards Israel I find the most likely outcome is that Israel has to fall back to the situation as it was before October 7, because I doubt they can continue anything like their current Netanyahu inspired approach without the all out backing of USA and Biden’s most recent statements show that that will not allow deaths of civilians. It is clearly impossible to defeat Hamas without killing a lot of civilians, Hamas will mak sure of that.

0 0
0
0 0
4 months ago

What goes round comes round. It may take a while but it’s ineluctable. That applies to all parties whether they like it or not.

Doug Israel
DI
Doug Israel
4 months ago

One thing that might help is if the United States had even minimally wise leadership that actually sees the hand of Iran in all of this and acts as a great free power should rather than constantly sending the message to the region that they view Israel as a wayward child that needs to be scolded and micromanaged. Such a sea change might actually deter and weaken Iran rather than strengthen and embold it.

Douglas Hainline
Douglas Hainline
4 months ago

If israel will just continue to kill Palestinians in very large numbers, especially young ones [little ones grow up to be big ones], those who remain wiil be intimidated into ceasing resistance forever. Then the settlers can expand into the rest of the West Bank, sorry, Juda aand Samaria, and perhaps return to Gaza as well. Of course the Arab monarchies will accept reality, as will their subjects. Peace forever!

Alan Gore
Alan Gore
4 months ago

Good. Now we know where to send our B-2s.

Max Rottersman
Max Rottersman
4 months ago

“it’s a new type of armour” Like the new type of border tech that kept Hamas out of Israel? Made me laugh.

P Branagan
P Branagan
4 months ago

Any right thinking person deplores the existence of the racist apartheid state in the Middle East. Such a state is a cancer among global polities and must be – à la Ross – ‘squished’ ASAP.

james goater
james goater
4 months ago
Reply to  P Branagan

I’m guessing you weren’t on the recent march against Anti-Semitism, in London?

Last edited 4 months ago by james goater
A D Kent
A D Kent
4 months ago

Framing this as Israel reacting to Hezbollah attacks rather than the other way round is just par for the course, but really is a bit of a stretch. Israel attacked 40 miles deep into Lebanon in the days after October 7th. Re Syria you might have noted the Israeli’s attacks on Aleppo & Damascus airports from the 11th October.

If you weren’t whizzing around Israel with the IDF, you might also have noted that Israel used some of the planes that it’s not dropping bombs on it’s Occupied Territories to again bomb Damascus airport just a couple of days ago – but of course, it’s just Hezbollah escalating.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

You make a good point. I tried to upvote but was prevented. I really don’t know why UH is doing this.
This is a tangled skein of a conflict with various permutations and combinations. The author is rather simplistic in his analysis.

Last edited 4 months ago by Sayantani Gupta
A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
4 months ago

Sayantani – you’re quite right. UnH geopolitics (Fazi) aside) is pretty much centre of the UK commentariate herd – and that places them somewhere on the right as there are barely any of the left around these days. They’re sceptical of all sorts of things, but never when it comes to US/UK/NATO claims about one of our Official Enemies – Russia, China, Iran, Venezuala, etc. You doin’t have to be a supporter of any of those states to be sceptical of the State Department, neocon think-tanks or the FCO – just a rational and informed observer of modern history.

I think that the up votes get cancelled out by down ones that have been placed before your screen refreshed.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Tend to agree…I guess I am part of the last generation that was taught a somewhat de- ideologised approach to understanding conflict- where Palmerston, Metternich and the like were explained in detail.
A lot of presumptions on foreign policy especially here on UH tend to assume a monochromatic policy apparatus. Whether this is simply ignorance or wilful denial- it does make analysis very sweeping at one level. And quite unrealistic.

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
4 months ago
Reply to  A D Kent

Well said. It’s pretty tiring reading DP’s breathless ethnoganda

A D Kent
A D Kent
4 months ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Thanks Paul – it’s particularly tiresome at a site that states it wants to provide us with “…new and bold thinking, and to provide a platform for otherwise unheard ideas, people and places.” Their geopolitics is mainstream, and mainstream neocon at that. If you don’t already, then check out the daily ‘Links’ posts at nakedcapitalism.com for alternative views on all sorts of things – they often link to (the better Unherd articles there.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
AH
Alka Hughes-Hallett
4 months ago

“If Hamas releases all of its hostages, then its leverage evaporates and it has nothing to deter Israel from its assault” Flawed logic- Israel has already been bombing with full offensive and has been assaulting and was acutely aware that it may loose the kidnapped.
“If Israel ceases military operations now, then its promise that Hamas will never again be able to launch another attack is just empty rhetoric” Flawed again- David P , you are making huge assumptions based on thin air.
Facts are that NO ONE can predict what the endgame looks like . No one can know what Hamas or Israel are thinking. Each one is reacting rather than acting without sincere well thought out objectives. It’s probably in every other country’s best interest not to interfere. What you have said rings true is that “rhetoric” is every extremist’s best hope at attracting similar groups. Israel would be better off not engaging in wild statements of destroying something but engage in preserving their folk and learning the valuable lessons of history. Changing the tone from anger and hubris will show that it stands apart from those it is fighting.

A D Kent
A D Kent
4 months ago

Quite so Alka – I’d add Iran to your list of governments where we’re not sure of what they’re thinking. Although this Unherd piece states as fact the usual assumptions regarding their map-wiping desires, we really don’t know. Patrikakos’s analysis here is partial in the extreme – framing Iran & the Saudis as rivals is true to an extent, but also ignores the plain facts of their recent BRICS supported rapprochement that has seen the Syrians re-integrated in to the Arab League & tensions generally reduced across the board. Are they willing to ditch that for Hamas – who actively opposed the Syrian gov in their war agains Western backed Jihadis? I’m not so sure.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago

Your reasoning doesn’t support your second objection. The author is making a pretty uncontroversial point, merely that if Hamas is not destroyed, Hamas will remain able to conduct future aggression against Israel. There are no unreliable assumptions contained within this view.

A D Kent
AK
A D Kent
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

John: The author also seems to be making the ‘uncontroversial point’ that Israel’s actions of bombing Gaza will destroy Hamas. It’s certainly uncontroversial as far as our mainstream narrative managers are concerned (and I’d include UnH in this respect), but in respect to that point’s correspondence with the real world I think it’s far from uncontroversial – in fact I think it’s a complete fairy-tale. Tertullian was right about this 1800 years ago.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

“Hamas” is a name of an organisation albeit a terrorist one. How can you completely destroy an organisation? You can kill most or even all its members but it can rear its ugly head with different members anytime. Future aggression against Israel is possible by many organisations of different names. Military operations cannot guarantee end of Hamas .
Israel can only achieve peace with the Palestinians (as it has done with its neighbours ) through good diplomacy and behaviour towards them.

John Riordan
John Riordan
4 months ago

The declared objective of Hamas is the eradication of Israel. There is no diplomatic solution involving an enemy of this sort. That said even if this is debatable, your reply here still doesn’t rescue your original mistake anyway.

Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
4 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I don’t understand. What’s the mistake?

Your words – “if Hamas is not destroyed, Hamas will remain able to conduct future aggression against Israel. There are no unreliable assumptions contained within this view.”
I do think that David P is making an unreliable assumption that if Israel don’t “destroy “ Hamas , they will be guilty of making empty rhetoric. Only in the wild imagination of David P & the extreme groups of Israel, for many ( even in Israel) may think that it’s extremely honourable and incredibly forward thinking to change course and thereby change the future.

I don’t know what people will think, nor do you, nor does David P.

herbertira.goldman@gmail.com goldman
herbertira.goldman@gmail.com goldman
2 months ago
Reply to  John Riordan

That is why Netanyahu funded Hamas. Neither wants to negotiate a democratic prosperous 2 state solution. Get rid both and stop this US proxy war.

sue vogel
sue vogel
4 months ago

Do you believe in unicorns, too?

Dorrido Dorrido
Dorrido Dorrido
4 months ago

problem is the US continues to interfere – fanning the flames and giving approval to continue the carnage (which will most likely kill lots of women and children but strengthen hamas. The US could stop this war if genocide joe gave a sign to the Israels. ending the war would be in the best interests of Israel and Palestine

R.I. Loquitur
RL
R.I. Loquitur
4 months ago

You forget that Jews provide a large portion of Democrats’ funding.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
4 months ago

You are right to call out the logic of this well-worn narrative which assumes that all parties are what John Mearsheimer would call ‘rational actors’.i.e. basing decisions on what is in their own countries’ best interests. There is a you say a great deal of emotional reaction, often driven by narrow political instincts. The chain reaction of these events is indeed unknowable, as was that of WW1 without the benefit of hindsight.

sue vogel
SV
sue vogel
4 months ago

‘Scuse me, but by what metric do you suggest that Hamas, if left to itself would not enact its promise to perpetrate more October 7 massacres until Israel, and after it Jews all over the world, are wiped out, per its bloodthirsty Charter?

Liam O'Mahony
LO
Liam O'Mahony
4 months ago

Of course you’re quite right.. you can always yell thar from the number of downticks you get on UH.. it’s a bit like the inverse square law.. Boris Johnson has a PhD in it!