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