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What to watch in Hamas-Israel conflict

Oct 09, 2023

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Israel and Hamas have been in a simmering conflict since 1987, but that escalated again in 2023 throughout Jerusalem, Gaza, and the West Bank. On Saturday, Oct. 7, violence erupted as Hamas launched a surprise attack against Israel that the Times of Israel called “the bloodiest day for Jews since the Holocaust.”

Straight Arrow News contributor Peter Zeihan reviews these important events, but his eyes are already on the broader Middle East as a whole. Alliances are already shifting, peace plans are already breaking, and the long-desired normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel–considered a staple for any Middle East peace plan–might now be at risk.

Excerpted from Peter’s Oct. 7 “Zeihan on Geopolitics” newsletter:

Hamas, a terror/political group (depending on your politics), has launched an attack on Israel. This has been a multi-faceted attack spanning land, air and sea. Prime Minister Netanyahu has declared war on Hamas as a result.

We’ve already seen Ukraine issue their support of Israel, which is notable based on Israel’s hesitant stance on the Ukraine War. I’ll also be keeping an eye on the ongoing talks between Israel and Saudi Arabia on normalizing diplomatic ties.

These attacks have the potential to break some longstanding logjams in the geopolitical schema of the Middle East. I’ll continue to monitor the developments in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and issue updates as I have more info.

Everyone Peters on here coming to you from Central Texas. It is the seventh of October. And the news today is that in the early hours of today, Hamas the political slash terror group based on your politics that controls the southern enclave of Gaza in southern Israel launched an attack into Israel proper demolishing a little bit of the border, land, sea paraglider attacks, and literally 1000s of missiles. And so far, they’ve kidnapped at least several dozen civilians and a handful of soldiers and took them back to Gaza with

 

Netanyahu Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel has declared war on Hamas. And military operations are forthcoming.

 

Since very hot situation on the ground, very fluid don’t have a lot of information for you there. And honestly, there’s people who are much better at that than I am. What I can tell you, there’s a there’s two kinds of things that kind of stand out that we need to watch here. Number one, within minutes of the news been reported, the Ukrainian government offered its support to the Israeli Government in the defending against the assault, which is far more than the Israelis have offered to the Ukrainians. In response to the Russian invasion. The Ukrainians have been a little annoyed with the Israelis tried to sit on the fence. The Israelis, for their part, have a population, that’s roughly one since the Russian and so they’ve been trying to not get involved as much as they can. Because they’re always trying to keep their lines of communication open to the Russians as a way to manipulate events in the Arab world, it’s gonna be very interesting to see if this changes the mindset of folks in Israel at all, because for them, dealing with groups like Hamas is kind of an existential issue. And for Ukraine to come down so quickly, and so publicly on their side is definitely noteworthy.

 

There is no direct indication of Russian involvement here. But there are a lot of tactics that look very familiar that we’ve seen, the Hamas group has actually shared footage of some of its attacks, including attacks on civilian targets, which you know, under normal circumstances, would be considered a war crime pretty much anywhere, but the rules in the Middle East are a little odd. And we know that the senior leadership of Hamas has been in and out of Moscow quite a bit over the course of the last year. So it’s gonna be interesting to see how that whole dynamic changes politically. Second aspect is political strategic as well. And that is that the Saudis and the Israelis have been hip deep in negotiations on a normalization program. Right now, most of the countries of the Arab world still don’t recognize Israel as a independent state and an entity that has broken a little bit under the Trump administration with Morocco in the United Arab Emirates switching sides. But now the question is whether the Biden administration gets Saudi Arabia to switch sides. And the debate, of course, is about the Palestinians, not between the Saudis and the Israelis, but among the Saudis. There’s a debate going on within Saudi Arabia itself, it’s a generational over whether or not they should just ditch the Palestinians completely normalize relations with the Israelis and just move on. The older generation of the king, who’s probably senile at this point, wants to continue to back the Palestinians were the younger one ruled by Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman really doesn’t care at all. So we’re going to find out really quickly here, who actually holds power in Riyadh. And that is going to have any number of implications because whenever the world’s largest oil producer and exporter, decides to change its political stance on regional affairs and starts backing that up with money, or oil and military power. A lot of interesting things can break through very quickly. So watch Jerusalem and Tel Aviv first to see what they say about Ukraine, watch Riyadh to see what they say about Hamas. And it’s not very often that we have a big logjam like this potentially breaking free all at once. It’s going to be interesting. Take care

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