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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

One Month Of Israel-Hamas War — How Our World Has Changed

Marking one month of war in the Middle East, French political commentator Pierre Haski takes stock of three major geopolitical consequences.

photo of a tank in the desert with its headlights on

Nov. 1, 2023 Israeli ground troops conduct operations in the Gaza Strip on Oct. 31, 2023.

IDF handout via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — One month after the Hamas attack, the shockwaves continue to resonate around the world: from Colombia recalling its ambassador from Israel, to this past weekend's gathering of two million people in Jakarta to the hardening of Arab countries that had made peace in the past with the Jewish state, to the unleashing of acts of anti-Semitism in Europe.

We can also mark a broader geopolitical impact, on three main levels. The first concerns the United States, which has invested more than it has in a long time in the Middle East, from which it had been trying to distance itself for years. U.S. military deployment and diplomatic involvement have been considerable.

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The Americans have so far succeeded in deterring Iran and its allies from getting involved in an escalation that would have changed the nature of the crisis. Vice President Kamala Harris gave a one-word response to a journalist who asked her what the U.S. message was to Iran: “Don’t!" Message received — so far anyway.

But this involvement with Israel comes with a strong political cost for Joe Biden at home, especially among young Democratic voters sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. With less than a year to go before a presidential election, and Donald Trump's shadow looming, it's a risky move.

The Palestinian question 

The second consequence concerns Israel, which is experiencing a triple crisis. The first being the trauma of October 7, which continues with the ordeal of the Gaza hostages and the war. It will have unpredictable political consequences, no doubt a big bang like after the 1973 war. Benjamin Netanyahu's power grab against democratic institutions is unlikely to survive its security collapse.

The second crisis revolves around the Palestinian question, which the far-right coalition thought it had under control, allowing it to roll out its program of excessive colonization of the West Bank. But the Palestinian question will not go away.

The third crisis concerns the strategy of forging links with the Arab world, which had been moving forward successfully. Now, it will be difficult to revive after the images of Gaza, and the political price will be higher.

photo of a man with a Free Palestine headband

At Sunday's massive rally in Jakarta, Indonesia in support of Palestinians

Denny Pohan/ZUMA

A global crisis 

The third consequence involves the rest of the world. A crisis of this magnitude always has the effect of making other areas of tension invisible. The most serious is obviously Ukraine, which now finds itself competing with Israel for U.S. support. In an election year, this will be even more complicated.

The West is paying for its past contradictions.

This obviously suits Vladimir Putin just fine. What's more, without having to tire himself out, he can let the "double standards" about the West and Palestine spread, and reap the benefits — the same goes for Xi Jinping's China. The West is paying for its past contradictions through a "Global South" that is emancipating itself from crisis to crisis.

Finally, the war renders all other conflicts utterly invisible. Who remembers the Armenians who briefly occupied the spotlight in September, or worse still, who cares about the nearly 7 million Congolese displaced by the conflicts in east of the DRC? There is a world to rebuild, but it will have to wait, best case scenario, until the war in Gaza is over.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

What Are Iran's Real Intentions? Watch What The Houthis Do Next

Three commercial ships traveling through the Red Sea were attacked by missiles launched by Iran-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels, while the U.S. Navy shot down three drones. Tensions that are linked to the ongoing war in Gaza conflict and that may serve as an indication as to Iran's wider intentions.

photo of Raisi of iran speaking in parliament

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at the Iranian parliament in Tehran.

Icana News Agency via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — It’s a parallel war that has so far claimed fewer victims and attracted less public attention than the one in Gaza. Yet it increasingly poses a serious threat of escalating at any time.

This conflict playing out in the international waters of the Red Sea, a strategic maritime route, features the U.S. Navy pitted against Yemen's Houthi rebels. But the stakes go beyond the Yemeni militants — with the latter being supported by Iran, which has a hand in virtually every hotspot in the region.

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Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel, the Houthis have been making headlines, despite Yemen’s distance from the Gaza front. Starting with missiles launched directed toward southern Israel, which were intercepted by U.S. forces. Then came attacks on ships belonging, or suspected of belonging, to Israeli interests.

On Sunday, no fewer than three commercial ships were targeted by ballistic missiles in the Red Sea. The missiles caused minor damage and no casualties. Meanwhile, three drones were intercepted and destroyed by the U.S. Navy, currently deployed in full force in the region.

The Houthis claimed responsibility for these attacks, stating their intention to block Israeli ships' passage for as long as there was war in Gaza. The ships targeted on Sunday were registered in Panama, but at least one of them was Israeli. In the days before, several other ships were attacked and an Israeli cargo ship carrying cars was seized, and is still being held in the Yemeni port of Hodeida.

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