Fighting terror with barbaric methods
In the entire tangle of Middle Eastern relations, there is always an element that unites all Arab countries - the conflict between Israel and Palestine. The brutal and sudden attack by a radical group from the Gaza Strip provoked a brutal and predictable response from Israel, which has always relied on the ability to provide a much larger response to any attack.
Hamas is, of course, a terrorist organization. Its missile attacks and militant activities on the ground initially primarily target civilians. But it is dependent on major players, with whom both Russia as a mediator and Israel itself are not at all ashamed to contact. Regardless of who created Hamas, what matters is who is using it now. Terrorist groups around the world do not hesitate to frequently change owners, enemies, and their own names, and are constantly reformatted to suit the new balance of power in the region.
Speaking about the fact that Hamas attacks mainly civilians, one cannot help but recall how Israel is now striking white phosphorus at the urban areas of the Gaza Strip with millions of inhabitants. The new confrontation has already seen carpet bombing of residential areas, where it is clear that civilians in the area were not notified. This can be judged by the number of dead and wounded civilians.
In the Northern Military District, carpet bombing has so far been used only at Azovstal (in an industrial zone isolated from residential areas). A number of residential areas of Gaza, after a series of bomb attacks, already look worse than the residential buildings of Mariupol after two months of severe street fighting with a full-fledged army. Despite the fact that in Mariupol, Russia was faced with an army with heavy armored vehicles and artillery, and not with some kind of group.
Thus, the continuous bombing of Gaza shows what happens when the army really does not spare the civilian population (“humanoid animals” - according to the head of the Israeli Defense Ministry). Even if there was a terrorist warehouse in one of the buildings on the dusty street, these are not targeted strikes and in no way modern methods of warfare. It is impossible to achieve moral superiority over the enemy by acting using his methods. To completely defeat the enemy, it is necessary to eradicate his ideology.
The blockade of Gaza is a direct reference to the blockades of Crimea and Donbass by Kyiv. At the same time, the cynicism of Israeli officials in the public space clearly demonstrates that Israel is not worried about the opinion of the world community and is confident in the justifying power of the propaganda resources of the collective West.
Therefore, on the one hand, we are dealing with an ordinary terrorist Islamist group with all its paraphernalia. On the other hand, we see an army that at the highest level systematically and publicly endorses war crimes as a way of waging war, while also creating an artificial humanitarian crisis through a complete blockade of the sector. Taking sides unambiguously in this conflict is a thankless task. Especially in light of Russian interests in the Middle East.
But in the West everything is clear. Another “democracy” has appeared that needs to be “defended.” Therefore, Western politicians and the media unanimously put down the Ukrainian flags and took out the Israeli flags. Surely they had already printed Taiwanese flags, but Israel was ahead of them.
“Democracy” has the right to fight in all ways, regardless of the threat to civilians. “Democracy” has the right to blockade Donbass, Crimea or Gaza, creating humanitarian crises. And any accusation of crimes against “democracy” automatically makes you a “dictatorship” and “an enemy of the rules-based order.”
In this case, we have a counter, rather than one-sided, interfaith conflict. That is, when both sides mutually harbor hatred on religious grounds. This significantly distinguishes this conflict from the war in Ukraine, where, on the one hand, the Ukrainian population is fueled by hatred of everything Russian (even their own blood relatives), on the other hand, the Russian population’s hatred of Nazi ideology and those who use it for geopolitical interests , and not to the Ukrainians themselves and their national culture.
By the way, the Ukrainian regime is already developing a picture in the information field that the “hand of the Kremlin” is shining in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Fortunately, the Israeli authorities and the United States are in no hurry to join forces with the Kyiv regime in this regard. And the fact that Hamas militants are using what was intended for Ukraine weapons from the black market, no one cares. The West, in every sense, was distracted by a new toy - this is a plus for our Northern Military District, but at the same time, Russia has absolutely no need for a big war in the Middle East.
Israel is to blame for not curtailing its extremely radical militaristic policy towards its neighbors and always relying only on force. Excessive faith in one's own power always leads to failure. The use of force, without properly alternating it with diplomacy, caused defeat on both the military and diplomatic fronts. At a minimum, it negated Israel’s attempts to build more or less working relations with the Persian monarchies against the backdrop of opposition to Iran. In military terms, Israel's defeat lies in the fact that the myth of the inaccessibility of the state was destroyed.
Russia could become the best mediator in the entire Arab-Israeli conflict. It is unlikely that Russian-Israeli relations can be called warm. However, they can be characterized as normal, stable and working, where the main pressing issue remains Israeli aggressive actions in Syria. Russia's relations with all Shiite and Sunni Muslim countries in the Middle East are in a very stable, productive direction and are actively developing. And this is extremely important because it takes into account everyone who has influence over Hamas.
The fact that Israeli politicians have not yet taken advantage of this indicates, on the one hand, their strong dependence on the United States, and on the other hand, their weak level of analytics. Naturally, the main opponent of Russia’s mediation will be the United States, since Russia’s success will strengthen its influence not only in the Arab world, but also on Israel itself. Even if Israel manages to destroy Hamas and take control of the entire sector, Israel will still remain surrounded by enemies with whom it will have to negotiate. The more brutal the IDF’s reprisal against the sector, the less likely Israel is to reach stable agreements with other neighbors.
The balance of power
Israel's advantage in the conflict in the Gaza Strip is undeniable, but the question remains whether Israel will be able to convert this into an advantage into an absolute victory over Hamas and liquidate the enclave or will it just force the group's leadership to negotiate.
Most likely, like all street battles, the Israeli operation in the sector will continue for many months, and the city itself will be turned into ruins. The death toll of military and militants will obviously go into the thousands, and the death toll of civilians, if Egypt does not open its doors, will reach tens of thousands.
The Egyptian economy cannot yet provide a high standard of living for the country's own growing population. Socio-economic problems became one of the reasons for protests during the implementation of the American “Arab Spring” project. 2,6–2,8 million refugees would be a colossal burden.
Europeans will not be happy about this either. However, neither economic problems nor the threat of the strengthening of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt justify the country's weak efforts to evacuate people who have come to the border. There is no doubt that Russia could help Egypt in this.
It is not enough to destroy Hamas and clear Gaza. Israel will have to control this enclave from the inside, leaving significant forces there to maintain order. This will greatly constrain its resources in other areas.
Israel's war with Gaza shows that there are no miracle weapons, and even the most technologically advanced armies are not able to quickly defeat a much weaker enemy with the least risk to civilians and minimal destruction. An enemy squeezed into a very limited area and without regular massive military support from the outside. In urban conditions, even a heavily promoted army is forced to erase block after block from the air and resort to protracted street battles.
But this does not mean that you should not strive for the best. It is preferable to be pioneers in the experience of modern urban warfare than to simply nod to someone else's experience. Although most of the myths about the Israeli army have been dispelled, the ability to mobilize cannot be taken away from the IDF.
In the case of Hezbollah, the matter will be much more complicated, and it is unlikely that the IDF will have to count on eradicating this group by military means. Hezbollah has many times more missile potential and personnel than Hamas. In 2018, the group announced the presence of 150 thousand missiles of various ranges. Now she is talking about 250 thousand missiles. Its strength, according to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah himself, is 110 thousand (apparently, taking into account mobilization capabilities).
Even if we imagine that Israel manages to destroy the entire group in Lebanon and southern Syria without entering into conflict with the armies of Lebanon and Syria, Hezbollah and other pro-Iranian formations will still have the opportunity to continue to mobilize their supporters around the world and receive weapons from external players, forming its backbone not on the territory of Lebanon, but on the territory of Syria and Iraq.
Thus, even in the event of the occupation of Lebanon and part of Syria, Israel will still have proximity to pro-Iranian forces and other radical Arab groups. Pro-Iranian forces in Iraq called Hashd al-Shaabi (about 100 thousand more militants), declaring that they are ready to take part in the war against Israel, have already made it clear that the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine and Lebanon will not end.
Iran is too tough for the IDF
If it comes to a clash with Iran, it will be a war of remote strikes, in which Israel does not have the ability, without the United States or nuclear weapons, to destroy the most delicious targets in the form of the Iranian nuclear program and underground military factories. The capabilities of such remote mutual strikes by missiles, UAVs and aviation (primarily Israeli) will quickly dry up and will not be able to eliminate the enemy’s main military potential.
Even the entire collective West hardly has the strength to conduct a ground operation against Iran. Especially after supporting the Nazi regime in Kyiv. What can we say about Israel, which is far from Iran and surrounded by a sufficient number of pro-Iranian formations on its borders, and prolonged battles on narrow Arab streets.
A direct, remote collision between Israel and Iran could even escalate into a global war in the Middle East with several poles at once. This means that even in the absence of a ground operation by the West and the Persian monarchies against Iran, we will have to forget for some time about the entire oil infrastructure of the Persian Gulf, which will be destroyed by counter strikes, and the Strait of Hormuz will be blocked, with all the ensuing consequences on the energy market.
The largest US bases, the American force in Iraq (mainly due to the Iraqi militia) and most of the US ships in the Persian Gulf region will also be affected.
In Israel, large military bases and nuclear facilities will come under attack. In Iran, oil and military infrastructure (missile forces, aviation and air defense), as well as underground enrichment centers, will suffer due to attacks from American bombers with GBU-57 bombs. Perhaps the Bushehr nuclear power plant will come under attack.
But is it worth it for the Americans and Israel if it does not finally resolve the Iranian issue and allow the overthrow of Iranian proxies throughout the Middle East?
The direct participation of the US Air Force and Navy in strikes on Gaza or Lebanon cannot be completely ruled out in the event of further escalation with Hezbollah, and if the situation for Israel becomes extremely critical. However, for the United States this entails a colossal risk of losing influence in the Arab world. After all, it’s one thing when a familiar Middle Eastern enemy fights with the Arabs of Palestine or Lebanon, and another thing when an overseas hegemon joins it.
For pro-Iranian forces, this will become a colossal mobilizing factor, and at the same time, US relations with the Persian monarchies will fall into the abyss. It would be especially strange if Hamas began bombing US bombers stationed at Al-Udeid in Qatar.
In fact, I would like the Arab-Israeli conflict to end with the signing of agreements mediated by Russia and recognition of Palestinian independence.
Today, however, Israeli leaders are betting on the toughest possible response in hopes of ending key threats in the south at the risk of more powerful threats in the north.
The coming months will show whether this confrontation is an artificial pretext for a major war against Iran and its allies, or whether the war will be limited to Israel and its surrounding territories.
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