OPINION: Gaza: the potential for dangerous global escalation

Last Updated on Friday, 19 April 2024, 6:16 by Denis Chabrol

by GHK Lall

This has been the most concerning issue from the start, that the Hamas attack and Israeli retaliatory acts in the Gaza could widen.  By mistake or motive.  Every new media reported the Iranian fleet of drones and ballistic missiles unleashed on Israel.  Almost all were shot down.  In the brutal scorecard of move and countermove, the Iranian attack, itself a retaliatory strike, came out close to even.  The problem is that this game of blood and horrors looks far from over.  Now I spread wings and contemplate the ‘what ifs.

What if one ballistic missile had hit a populated area in Israel?  What if Israel thinks it necessary to respond in kind?  The most current word from Tel Aviv is that it is weighing a response.  A key consideration from the Israeli point of view is that it must appear to be weak or fearful.  Its leaders also have intimate awareness of who will stand in its corner come hell or hailstones.  Thus, I find myself thinking that it is in Israel’s interests to embroil others, namely America, in this conflict, still a contained war to this point.  What has its pluses for Israel is not healthy for either that combustible region, or the rest of the world.

Noteworthy was Israel’s defense shield.  It was led by not just Americans but also saw the presence and active participation of the British, with the French in attendance, and some others from the volatile region in the vicinity involved in the almost complete neutralizing of those drones and missiles.  There are too many snakes in the clustered space over there for my comfort.  As this is being tabled, there must be appreciation that Iran has its own backers.  Their hands might be full with their own troubles but that doesn’t mean that they are lacking in capabilities to back friends when they are besieged and in need.  The fact that Israel went outside of the theater of its current Gazan War, and into another country, to assassinate a non-Palestinian planner behind the October 7th Hamas strike establishes the potency of its reach.  But it also broadens the sprawling checkerboard of risks.  Not only a country’s space was violated, an unfriendly one at that; but the forbidden territory of an embassy was targeted with over a half dozen dead.  Others attacks in other places have contributed to the continuing body count, already at grim levels.  This was never a war of deterrence but one of unrestrained vengeance.  My alarm is over the increasing risk that others could be ensnared, which adds more fuel to a wildfire situation.  All the cajoling of the UN and even the US have led nowhere, and a set of circumstances that only requires one spark to become a full-fledged conflagration.  The really worried have muttered the unthinkable: World War III.  Their worry is my anxiety!

As has become crystal clear for some time now, it is now beyond doubt that one of the primary objectives of Israeli is to annihilate all of those who were behind the October 7th invasion.  It is also clear to me that there is scant concern in PM Netanyahu about how far the ripple effects of his actions could boil over and spread.  A container was seized, and all it takes is for one of those Straits to be blocked and all the world would be hollering to get this damn conflict over in a hurry.  Or, at least, keep it in Samaria and Judea (Gaza), so that everyone could breathe more easily and go about their business, ad leave Israel and its enemies to kill one another, set the stage for another hundred years of hate and conflict.

Despite all the noise from many parts of the world, the deep care that is needed for the Palestinians and their holocaust does not penetrate too far beneath the surface blobs, the hypocritical sobs.  One of the byproducts for Israel, perhaps a premediated one, is that an alarmed and tense world is now focused on the next moves in what is hoped will not be any escalation of the Gazan War.  Few, if anyone, has the time to spare presently about the perils of the Palestinians.  That once exclusive interest has dipped considerably with that unprecedented Iranian attack on Israel.  All the diatribes and denunciations that were hurled at Israel over Gaza have shifted in a hurry.  Netanyahu is enough of a gambler, and a wily operator, to have made the moves that he did to remove Israel away from under the global microscope.  In a region and with peoples where the dominant culture is about eternal feuds and endless revenge, it is the worst place on earth for the Israeli-Palestinian war to take a turn towards the cataclysmic.  Maybe, apocalyptic.  When new and well-armed players enter the conflict, the latter gains energy, including nuclear.  People are talking, but listening has taken a long leave of absence.