Middle East risks prospect of fresh regional war after Hamas stealth attack on Israel

To take out the management of Hamas, it’s not going to be a matter of days or perhaps weeks. This is months or perhaps years. This goes to go on for a protracted, very long time.

“Jews haven’t confronted this type of atrocity on the planet for the reason that Holocaust, so … all the things is on the desk if you’re an Israeli Jew as we speak,” Ian Bremmer, president and founder of political consultancy Eurasia Group advised CNBC Squawk Box Asia Monday.

“To take out the management of Hamas, it’s not going to be a matter of days or perhaps weeks. This is months or perhaps years. This goes to go on for a protracted, very long time,” he added.

Given that these shock assaults stemmed from a failure of Israeli intelligence and surveillance mechanisms to detect and forestall, Bremmer mentioned there’re seemingly extra Hamas operatives already embedded in Israel they usually characterize “nonetheless a really actual and current hazard.”

The weekend assaults additionally occurred a day after the fiftieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, inviting comparisons with the deadliest Arab-Israeli war in 1973 that threatened to imperil the state of Israel.

‘Mighty vengeance’

In an tackle to the Israeli public, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas shortly after the shock assaults on Saturday, pledging “mighty vengeance” and vowing to make “the enemy … pay an unprecedented worth.”

Hamas — a Palestinian Islamist militant group that has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 — is one of two dominant events in Gaza. It has been designated a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union, Israel, Australia, United Kingdom and Japan.

A girl reacts after Israeli fighter jets destroyed a constructing following the Operation Al-Aqsa Flood launched by Hamas in Rafah, Gaza on October 08, 2023.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Gaza Strip and the West Bank collectively type the occupied Palestine territory. The West Bank-based Palestinian National Authority is internationally acknowledged as the only official consultant of the Palestinian folks.

“The Israelis are going to war,” Bremmer advised CNBC on Monday. “They might be extra unified as a authorities … so there’ll most likely be a nationwide emergency authorities with Netanyahu and the opposition combating that war collectively.”

“And meaning not simply airstrikes, but additionally floor occupation — home to deal with — in Gaza, with tons of casualties that Hamas, of course, desires Israel to be answerable for,” he added. “But that doesn’t imply they will launch a war towards Iran.”

Iran suspicions

The unprecedented nature of Hamas assault on the Jewish Sabbath has raised issues that Iran might have been concerned, given Tehran’s long-time help for Hamas and its trigger.

Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas spokesman, reportedly told the BBC that the group had direct backing for the attack from Iran.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Iranian safety officers helped with the planning and authorized the attack at a gathering in Beirut final Monday. Three U.S. officers advised NBC News they had been unable to corroborate the Journal account.

“Nobody would contemplate that to be onerous proof at this level,” Bremmer advised CNBC. While it is an actual chance that Iran is concerned, “we’re definitely not there proper now,” he added.

If it is true that Iran is concerned, there could be bigger implications. Israel may strike Iran.

Brian Katulis

Middle East Institute

“In phrases of different international locations’ involvement, definitely the extent of coaching for this type of operation … fairly onerous to think about Hamas would have been in a position to do that on their very own,” Bremmer mentioned. “At the very least, you’d have anticipated, Hezebollah to have given them some operational help and coaching.”

Founded in 1982 by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to export its Islamic Revolution, Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim political celebration and militant group based mostly in Lebanon that exists to battle Israeli forces that invaded Lebanon.

Hezbollah and the Israeli army exchanged fire Sunday in Shebaa Farms, a small strip of land that sits on the intersection of the Lebanese-Syrian border and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. A Hezbollah official reportedly mentioned these had been “in solidarity” with the Palestinian folks.

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“Hezebollah is rather more militarily succesful than Hamas, so if the Iranians try to vary the ball recreation right here, you’d suppose Hezebollah could be concerned, however they don’t seem to be. It appears fairly clear — to this point — that the Iranians should not trying to get right into a broader battle with the Israelis,” Bremmer mentioned.

Still, any involvement by Iran would seemingly set off a regional war.

“Like all the things else within the Middle East, there are 10 sides to each story,” Brian Katulis, vice chairman of coverage on the Middle East Institute in Washington, advised CNBC on Monday.

“We do not know all the small print right here, however it will not shock me if somebody in Iran would have been concerned within the planning of this. This was not like what we now have seen up to now within the Gaza Strip,” he added.

“If it is true that Iran is concerned, there could be bigger implications,” Katulis mentioned. “Israel may strike Iran.”

Normalization no extra

The weekend assaults on Israel by Hamas militants may probably upend efforts brokered by the United States to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Hamas spokesperson Hamad told Al Jazeera that these assaults are a message to Arab international locations who wish to normalize relations with Israel.

“I feel it’s [shameful] for them. I ask all Arab international locations to disconnect and reduce relationships with Israel, as a result of it’s not a state which believes in peace, or coexistence, or believes in being a superb neighbor,” Hamad mentioned.

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U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken hit the telephones together with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates over the weekend, underscoring grave issues over the prospect of derailed talks.

“The Israeli-Saudi deal which was near getting accomplished is now over,” Bremmer mentioned separately in a note Sunday. “If something was achieved that Hamas needed, that might be the one largest factor.”

Saudi Arabia has said it doesn’t help the assaults, and has joined international requires a de-escalation.

“The kingdom remembers its repeated warnings of the risks of the explosion of the scenario consequently of the continued occupation, the deprivation of the Palestinian folks of their official rights, and the repetition of systematic provocations towards its sanctities,” Saudi Arabia’s overseas ministry said in a statement Saturday.

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