Israel’s Attack on Gaza Could Be the Opening Salvo of World War III
Chief Rabbi Sacks: “I think it’s Got to Do with Iran”
Overnight Israel carried more than 150 air strikes on targets in Gaza. Israel has the intention to “break Hamas,” and is meanwhile indiscriminately punishing the Palestinian people using the usual pretext of “stopping more missile attacks on Israel by Hamas militants.” But the tensions and problems between Israel and Hamas have existed for years, so why now? Why at this moment when the Middle East can explode at any time with already some major “hot spots” such as Syria?
On Friday, on the BBC‘s Today Show, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks was asked by host Evan Davis for his take on the Gaza situation. Rabbi Sacks — thinking that he was off air — had a candid moment and said: ” I think it’s got to do with Iran, actually.”
Gaza Punishment by Israel: The Green Light came from the White House
Before Israel’s attack on Gaza, two significant events took place last week. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Qatar to discuss the situation in Syria with regional players such as the Saudis, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was in Washington DC to give a briefing of what he was planning to do and see if it would fly with the Obama administration. It did.
On November 14, President Obama and Netanyahu had a phone conversation which implicitly gave a green light for the punishment inflicted by Israel on Gaza. President Obama also spoke with Egyptian president Morsi about the situation in Gaza and about Egypt’s “critical role for the region’s security.” In both conversations, president Obama “condemned the rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and reiterated Israel’s right to self-defense.”
Will Solidarity with Palestinians Trigger a Real Arab Revolution?
President Obama’s phone call to Morsi shows that the main regional player that can be a source of concern for Israel and the United States is Egypt. Before his election, Morsi was a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Besides a certain grass-root popularity with Egyptians, Morsi’s rise to power was largely due to the financial backing from Saudi Arabia. Morsi, however, doesn’t control the powerful military which has been in the back pocket of the United States for decades.
But an element that Israel and the US is clearly not considering is Egyptian national pride. The Egyptian army was humiliated by Israel during the brief Sinai war in 1973, and it is likely that some within the top brass of the military would like a revenge. With Syria in the middle of a civil war, the Egyptian army is the only potential credible threat to Israel. This explains the subtext of Obama’s conversation with Morsi. As a matter of fact, it was a warning to Morsi from Israel, through the channel of the United States, not to get involved.
If the Arab Spring of 2011 was hijacked by the West and Saudi Arabia with the help of surrogate Islamist fundamentalists, the attack of Israel on Gaza might create a complete different scenario. Strong support for the fate of Palestinians is taking place all over the world and uniting both Sunnis and Shiites. If there is one thing that has been a rallying cause for the Muslim world, it is the atrocious treatment of Palestinians by Israel with the complicity of the United States and its European vassals such as France, the United Kingdom and Germany.
Is Israel Trying to provoke a Retaliation to Justify an Attack on Lebanon, Syria and Iran?
Another regional player, which both Israel and the US consider a “terrorist organization” just like Hamas in Gaza, is Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah is an ally of Syria and Iran, and they are on the verge to get their supply route — both weapons and finance coming from Iran — cut off. A collapse of the Assad regime in Syria would be an almost lethal blow to Hezbollah. With nothing to lose, they might take the bait presented by Israel’s attack on Gaza and strike Israel.This in return, would “justify” an attack by Israel on Lebanon.
Jordan, a strong ally of the US, would likely erupt in massive unrest. Almost two million Jordanians are Palestinians, and toppling Jordan’s King could quickly become part of their agenda. The autocratic Saudis would also likely expose themselves to some serious problems. Their status of “bed fellows” with Israel and the US might put them in a precarious situation, where they have to send tanks to Bahrain again to squash an Arab revolution part II.
Geopolitics for the Apocalypse: Can Russia and China Stop World War III?
It is obvious. Nobody in the West either wants to or can stop Israel. All the ingredients seem to be present for a perfect recipe for World War III. It is unlikely that the revived conflict between Israel and Hamas, and what is already in the works for Syria can be stopped or contained unless major military players, namely China and Russia, stop it with credible threats of retaliations against Israel and its allies. It could take the form of economic retaliation, at least at first against the United States. But if Israel keeps running strategies that could eventually get them erased from the map in the medium term, a point of no return will be reached. This would be for Israel to use its nukes either on Syria or Iran. The United States might be running insane scenarios of moving troops from Afghanistan to Iran, but they would shortly have to deal with Pakistan’s large army equipped with nukes. If China and Russia cannot stop this, World War III is ready to go.
Editor’s Note: All photographs by Active Stills.