The unfolding war tragedies testify to a pattern of war criminality that characterizes the Iranian politics of destabilization throughout the Middle East. There isn’t a single country that was spared the destructive outcomes of Iranian interventionism and its incidence on domestic and regional peace.

The Gaza war is one variant within the conflict spectrum extending between Yemen, Gulf countries, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories. This last episode does not depart from the standard conflict template which runs on the interfaces between internal instability and imploded regional geopolitics. The same conflict pattern reproduced throughout the Middle East and its disastrous iterations. What’s appalling is the pliability of regional countries to Iranian interventionism whose leverage owes mainly to the well-coordinated destabilization strategy and the systemic weaknesses of an imploded State order. The same volatility and lethality that defined the above-listed conflicts are recapitulated in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza. The evolutions of the current conflict have yielded the following features:

The conflict dynamics are structured on the intersection between internal and external variables and cannot be defined away from their mutating configurations. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict with its centennial legacy and landmarking sequences is no novelty. However, the Jewish and Israeli enterprising, despite its ambiguities, was never paralleled on the Palestinian side. Palestinians have failed to build their moral and operational autonomy and were constantly swayed by Muslim and Arab power politics. The Palestinian agenda was never able to distance itself from the instrumentalization of competing power politics. The Iranian sequence comes at the heels of a long list of power contenders leveraging the Palestinian platform for their own sake. The very short interludes of political emancipation were forfeited, when the PLO and its Lebanese allies worked diligently on sapping the very foundations of Lebanese Statehood and transformed their camps into extraterritorial enclaves utilized by international terrorism and competing power axes during the hauled Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990).

The nihilistic attack on South Israel on October 7, 2023, its flaunted genocidal nature and disastrous fallouts were a downright declaration of war whose calculated consequences were minutely pondered by the masterminding Iranian strategists. The October 7th attack and its cohort of criminality leave no room for mitigated responses since the security and the strategic and moral credibility of the State of Israel are at stake, and the magnitude of the Pogrom is reminiscent of the Holocaust and its gruesome legacy. The Hamas scenario is no coincidence because it has been tested over time as a blueprint for terrorism and political subversion all along different theaters. This is a conventional political script adapted to the meandering idiosyncrasies of the Middle Eastern landscape.

The choice of the battleground, with its demographic density, urban arcanes, subterranean military ramps and the human shields strategy is a probed military scheme amply enforced by guerillas and terrorist groups in asymmetric wars. The high lethality scenario is an intrinsic part of the subversion plot since it is readily instrumented in political warfare and antisemitic propaganda. The volatility of the battlefield, its dire humanitarian costs and political reverberations are weighing heavily on the ongoings of harsh urban warfare. The balancing of strategic choices is not predicated on a pre-scripted scenario despite the Israeli long-term scanning of the Gaza and South Lebanon military theaters. The mounting civilian casualties, the rising international pressure, the international and humanitarian law mandates and the simulations of Arab and Muslim unity should be reckoned with while proceeding with the inevitable battle. The humanitarian corridors and the relaxation of martial constraints are meant to dampen civilian casualties, undo the human shields strategy and unravel the panopticon carefully crafted by a well-worn terror strategy.

Israelis have no choice but to oversee the defeat of Hamas as an overriding military and political objective while their room for maneuver is beset by multiple hazards. The Palestinian National Authority has to overhaul itself and prepare to take over the governance of Gaza as a springboard, to reengage Israel on the very basis of a new negotiation based on moral reciprocity, mutual acknowledgment and the trove of international resolutions and peace agreements finalized between the two people (UN resolution 1947, Camp David 1978, Madrid Conference 1991, Oslo Accords 1993-1995 and their derivatives, Wye Plantation 1995, Annapolis 2007, Arab Initiative-Beirut 2002, Abraham Accords 2020, US-Saudi negotiations 2023) and a rich coexistence of 100 years.

The Riyadh Arab-Islamic Summit is a clever and opportune move on the Saudi side to overcome the swelling anger, contain Iran’s destructive free-roaming and reengage the United States and the transatlantic community in their endeavors to reignite the peace process and set the path for a just and sustainable solution. The very fact that Iran and Turkey joined the conference demonstrates their tightening room for maneuver, their eagerness to be part of the forthcoming diplomatic gambit and search for face-saving exits, the irrelevance of Russian obstructionism and Chinese idle posturing and the fallacy of the bogus notion of the Global South and its self-defeating contradictions.

Iran’s criminal attempt at backpedaling, reneging on a legacy of international diplomacy and keeping the Palestinians on the rims of the international community must end. Palestinians must shed their consecutive statuses as prisoners of extraneous power politics and the subculture of nihilistic and belligerent self-pitying that prevailed for decades within their various constituencies. As for the Israelis, the challenge after this war is not only to win but to move decisively on a consensual peace plan that puts an end to an overdue conflict and its deleterious consequences. The Cassandra scenarios are unwarranted and this whole criminal undertaking is going awry: Hamas is foredoomed, the Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel didn’t backtrack, and the fraudulent scheme of conflict internationalization turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy with no grounds whatsoever. The latest tragic episode should invite serious examination on both sides and open up a new horizon for a peaceful settlement.

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