Hamas’s attack on Israel has triggered a state of war between Israel and Hamas, with Israel launching airstrikes on Gaza and Hamas firing rockets and sending gunmen into Israel. The death toll and casualties on both sides are rising, and the humanitarian situation in Gaza is worsening.
This new conflict poses a threat to the regional security of the Middle East. Israel responded to the Hamas attack with a declaration of war and a massive military operation. Israel has engaged in fierce battles with the Hamas fighters who crossed into its territory, using tanks, artillery, helicopters, and drones. Israel has sought international support and legitimacy for its response, emphasizing its right to self-defense and accusing Hamas of terrorism and war crimes. Israel has condemned Hamas’s attack called ‘Operation Swords of Iron’.
The US, being Israel’s closest ally, showed diplomatic and political support immediately. With this attack, the US announced different amounts of military aid for Israel due to the Hamas attack. President Biden had agreed to provide Israel with an additional $1 billion in emergency military assistance. Secretary of State Antony Blinken clarified that the US was considering Israeli requests for additional military aid. Further, the US government had received reports of several Americans killed in the fighting as well as reports of missing Americans. The Pentagon has further planned on sending two warships, the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Nimitz, closer to Israel to bolster its defense capabilities and deter further aggression.
On the contrary, Iran’s stance on the Hamas attack is one of support and approval. Iran considers Hamas an ally and a proxy in its regional rivalry with Israel and the US. Iran views the attack as a sign of Palestinian resistance and self-defense against Israeli aggression and occupation. Previously, Iran also coordinated with other militant groups, such as Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, to create a united front against Israel. Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi, has publicly expressed his support for Hamas and the Palestinian cause. He also praised Hamas for its courageous operation and said that it has shaken the foundations of the Zionist regime.
Israel views Iran’s support for Hamas as a serious threat and a challenge to its security and sovereignty. Israel considers Iran its main enemy in the region and accuses it of sponsoring terrorism and seeking to destroy the Jewish state. Israel has expressed its anger and concern over Iran’s role in the Hamas attack. Israel has blamed Iran for providing Hamas with financial, military, and political assistance, as well as training and guidance for its operations. Israel’s representative to the UN, Gilad Erdan, said that Israel will not allow Iran to establish a foothold in Gaza or anywhere else near its borders.
Iran may be benefiting from Hamas’s attack on Israel in several ways. Iran may be trying to assert its regional power and influence by supporting Hamas and other militant groups that oppose Israel and the US. Iran may also be trying to undermine the efforts of some Arab countries to normalize relations with Israel and to challenge the US role and influence in the region. Iran may be hoping to divert attention and pressure from its nuclear program by creating a crisis that would distract the international community. Iran may also be hoping to gain leverage in its negotiations with the US and other world powers over the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal. Iran may be aiming to boost its popularity and legitimacy among Muslims and Arabs by portraying itself as the champion of the Palestinian cause and the defender of the al-Aqsa mosque. Iran may also be trying to rally support from its allies and proxies in the region, such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and the Houthis.
However, Hamas had a different agenda for this attack as it was trying to disrupt the negotiations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which were reportedly close to reaching a historic agreement to normalize relations. Hamas may have seen this as a threat to its influence and legitimacy in the region. By launching a massive attack on Israel, Hamas may have hoped to rally support from Palestinians and Muslims around the world and to challenge the rival Fatah faction, which had postponed the elections indefinitely.
Following this incident, Saudi Arabia has suspended its talks with Israel and put its normalization process on hold, citing the current crisis and the need to focus on the Palestinian cause. Saudi Arabia is also concerned about the US deal with Iran, which reportedly involved $6 billion in exchange for American prisoners. Saudi Arabia perceives this deal as rewarding for Iran’s malign behavior in the region. With Hamas’s attack, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry did not condemn Hamas but expressed concern about the violence and tension that occurred in Israel and Palestine. Turkey also urged the parties to work toward a two-state solution and to avoid impulsive steps.
From a regional perspective, Biden’s support is important for Israel because the US is Israel’s closest ally and a major source of military and economic aid in the region. The US also has a strong influence on the international community and can help Israel diplomatically and politically. Biden has also condemned the terrorist acts by Hamas and warned against any other hostile parties seeking to exploit the situation. Biden’s support for Israel may help deter further aggression from Hamas and other enemies of Israel and may also facilitate a peaceful resolution of the conflict. However, Biden’s support for Israel may also face some criticism and opposition from some segments of the US public and Congress, as well as from some countries that are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. Therefore, Biden’s support for Israel is not without challenges and risks, but it is crucial for Israel’s survival and security in a volatile region.
The attack has increased the geopolitical risk and uncertainty in the Middle East, which is a major source of oil production and exports for the world. The price of Brent crude jumped more than $88.02 a barrel, while the US West Texas Intermediate futures rose 4.25% to $86.31 per barrel. The attack has also raised concerns about supply disruptions or blockades from Iran or other hostile parties, which could reduce the availability of oil and drive up prices. The attack has triggered a surge in demand for oil. Oil is seen as a store of value and protection against inflation, which could rise due to higher energy costs and the weaker US dollar. The disruption of the global oil market could have spillover effects on regional economies, especially those that depend on oil exports for their fiscal and external balances. The attack has increased the demand for more oil supply to ease prices, but OPEC may be reluctant to increase its production due to its internal divisions and its desire to maintain its market share and revenue.
In conclusion, the escalation of violence and hostility between Israel and Hamas could spark a wider regional conflict with other states that have different interests and agendas in the Middle East. The involvement of these actors could increase the risk of miscalculation and confrontation, further escalating the tensions beyond the region.