Israel and Hamas take each other on as the region suffers. (Image Credits: Google Images)

Israel vs Hamas: Proxy wars in the Middle-East

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The onset of an active conflict between Israel and Hamas has set into motion a complex geopolitical situation in the Middle-East. Contrary to popular belief, Hamas is not synonymous with Palestinian authorities and is considered a terrorist group by most nations.

The greatest distinction between Hamas’s approach, when compared to Palestine’s, is that Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel as a state and stands firmly against the two-state solution. On the other hand, Palestinian authorities have accepted Israel as a state and have accepted the two-state solution as the most amicable one for all parties involved.

A spanner has been thrown into the works by a very conservative, right-wing leader in the form of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. His approach stands in the way of a two-state solution, as he sites old Hebrew scriptures, all the while attempting to discredit the notion.

Considering the fact that this conflict’s flash point was the brutal attack conducted by Hamas on Israeli soil, any hopes for a peaceful solution from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can be abandoned for the time being.

Israel has made its stance very clear; its objective now is to destroy Hamas in a definitive manner.

The underlying cracks in middle eastern diplomacy have now begun to show very clearly. With Syria engaged in a proxy war with rebellious factions with in the nation, the Israel-Hamas conflict is now a powder keg that could send the entire region into a protracted conflict.

As in Syria, the signs of different factions pulling the strings behind the scenes are quite evident. With Iran eager to exercise control over dealings in the Middle-East, Saudi Arabia forming a separate block, and western powers having an influence on proceedings, the plot thickens with each passing minute.

Hamas is not the only radical group with a militia that Israel has to contend with though. Hezbollah is another contender which could be emboldened by the chaos that the region is experiencing currently.

While this immediate tussle takes center stage, behind the scenes Saudi Arabia and Iran are now at loggerheads with the Saudi state seeking permissions from the United States to develop their own civilian nuclear energy program.

To any who question the need for an oil rich nation like Saudi Arabia having access to nuclear energy, their answer is quite swift and decisive. What need does the oil rich Iran have for a nuclear program?

Caught in this cross fire of dubious intentions, the United States finds itself in a tough spot. For starters, the United States are unimpressed by the nuclear demands being made. To further complicate the issue, the Saudis also have asserted their desire to see the two-state solution put into practice and have it recognized by Israel, something the incumbent Israeli government is firmly against.

The United States itself, has only just improved relations with Mohammed Bin Salman following the diplomatic row over the assassination of columnist Jamal Khashoggi. This incident was found to be directly related to the Saudi leader according to sources, something that President Biden criticized extensively.

Currently though, the two leaders have reestablished a working relationship. The reason behind it is the fact that the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia have to maintain an uneasy alliance for the benefit of their interests.

Add Iran to the mix and you find a crock pot of ingredients that do not go well together, at least on paper.

The net result of this is not great for the United States, which has been attempting to establish a balance in the middle east so it can extricate itself from the region. The United States as a nation has been depleted by years of war in the Middle East where it failed to establish liberal governments that would have suited its interests.

The attempt has been to focus on China and the conflict in Ukraine while a stable Middle East fends for itself. This attempt has been for naught as the United States are now firmly intrenched in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Iran has been seen as a backer to Hamas, it being the only nation which has benefitted directly by upending the order that was being established. Iran has also adopted this tactic in Syria where it has engaged with western backed rebels by backing the Assad regime.

Simply put, Iran has taken a page out of America’s book and is using proxy wars as a tool for influencing regional politics. Iran does have a strong hand to play in this regard with both Hamas and Hezbollah at its disposal.

For posterity’s sake, it has to be said that Prime Minister Netanyahu has done his nation no favors by shrugging away the two-state solution. To Arab nations, Netanyahu’s stance is a clear sign of Israel’s refusal to find a peaceful resolution to the issue.

If considered in terms of the demographic of the region, if Israel does for example get its one state policy and grabs the disputed regions, it will find itself with a large population of Arab origin citizens who might not be in agreement with the Israeli cause.

Beyond all the complexities, at the end of the day, the source of the current conflict is two extreme religious ideologies going head-to-head. One of the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, and the other of the many enemy’s Israel has cultivated in the region.