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World Braces for Israel-Hamas War as Western Leaders Advance their "Plan of Intentional Failure"

World Braces for Israel-Hamas War

By: Andrew Thornebrooke

October 14, 2023: The Israeli military appears to be readying a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip following an attack by the Hamas terrorist organization last week. More than a thousand Hamas terrorists poured over the Israeli border on Oct. 7, killing more than 1,200 people, including infants and toddlers, raping and torturing civilians, and seizing more than 150 hostages. The event was the most deadly assault on Jews since the Holocaust. Israeli leadership has characterized the atrocities as a 9/11 moment worthy of an unprecedented military response. Israel has cut off all food, water, and electricity to the Gaza Strip and given an evacuation order to roughly one million residents in and around Gaza City in preparation for what is widely expected to be a massive ground mission.

The Geopolitical Ramifications

Hamas espouses a doctrine of genocidal antisemitism which seeks to eradicate Israel and all Jews. The Hamas Covenant, the organization's founding document, claims that there will be a day of judgment in which all Jews will be killed. Religious leaders within Hamas have repeatedly called on Muslims worldwide to “totally exterminate” the Jewish people. The group and its genocidal doctrine have built a robust following throughout the Middle East, particularly in Iran, Lebanon, Jordan, and Qatar, where anti-Western sentiment runs high. That dynamic now threatens to engulf the Middle East in a new era of Islamist terror. Unlike the U.S.-led Global War on Terror, however, Israel is at risk of drawing state actors into the fray. Hamas leadership claims that the assault on Israel took more than two years to plan. Few experts or policymakers believe that the terror group could have conducted such an attack on its own. In all, more than 1,000 Hamas terrorists invaded Israel. They used drones to attack and disable Israeli observation towers, received massive cyber support from abroad, and already have launched thousands upon thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Many fingers now point to Iran, whose Islamist regime has called for the destruction of Israel for decades and who is engaged with China and Russia in a broader campaign to undermine and displace the current rules-based international order. Managing the threat from Iran and numerous smaller, non-state actors will be critical to prevent the war from spiraling into a regional or even global conflict.

Image above: Israeli army tanks and vehicles deploy along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on October 13, 2023. (Jack Guez/AFP via Getty Images)

Tensions Threaten Wider War

The nightmare scenario for Israel has always been a multi-front war and one of Hamas’ key objectives appears to have been to spark a regional war against Israel. Surrounded by hostile populations in the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria, Israel will need to continue deterring those powers from either entering the war overtly or else allowing segments of their population to join Hamas. Israel is already feeling that pressure. Limited rocket attacks from Lebanon occur daily and there has been a rash of violent clashes with pro-Hamas groups in the West Bank. Likewise, Jordanian King Abdullah II has had to deploy riot police to prevent thousands of Jordanians from flowing over the border into the West Bank to attack Israel. Even small attacks in the north and the east may have an outsized impact on Israel’s ability to conduct its war against Hamas, as troops deployed in response are troops that cannot be committed to Gaza.

U.S. Seeks to Contain Conflict

On the issue of deterrence, Israel is not alone. The United States has directed two aircraft carrier groups to the region to deter other nations from seeking to exploit the chaos. It will shortly be joined by vessels from the UK as well. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that the United States is not planning to be directly involved in the war in a military capacity. Rather, it is coordinating with Israel on matters of intelligence, planning, and coordination. The Biden administration is also sending ammunition and interceptors for Israel’s Iron Dome system. How the continued deliveries of munitions en masse will affect the United States’ already low stores of key munitions or its support for Ukraine is unclear. The Pentagon has said it is capable of doing both without undermining U.S. security. The United States is also seeking to prevent Israel’s desire for justice from translating into atrocities of its own in Gaza. It, along with much of the United Nations, is gently pushing Israel to be mindful of civilian casualties in the Palestinian territories and to obey the laws of war.

What to Expect Next

Israel is now operating under a temporary emergency government, the first of its kind since 1967. The last emergency government was established during the war that saw Israel seize Gaza from Egypt. Destroying Hamas’s presence in the Gaza Strip is likely not possible without a prolonged Israeli military occupation of the region. Israel is thus likely to establish a military administration over Gaza. To that end, Israel has called up 360,000 reservists for duty. While most of those would likely not be sent into Gaza proper, it is a signal that Israel is preparing for an occupation. For comparison, there were approximately 170,000 U.S. troops in Iraq at the peak of the Iraq war. Israeli forces will face tough, complex fighting in Gaza, characterized by densely populated urban environments much better known to enemy elements. Israel previously occupied parts of Gaza following its taking of the territory from Egypt in 1967. It ended its presence there in 2005, however, one year before Hamas seized power over the local government. There is little support in Israel for a permanent or long-term occupation of Gaza. The emergency unity government will therefore need to operate quickly in eradicating Hamas infrastructure while also considering the future of the territory, which has been without a reliable governing body for 18 years. How to prevent a new, equally threatening terror group from immediately filling the vacuum left by Hamas will remain a critical question.


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