Israeli-Gaza Conflict: A Written Scenario by Tel Aviv

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Reza Ekhtiari Amiri

Israel triggered a brutal military assault on the Gaza Strip under the pretext of reacting to the kidnaping and murdering of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas. Without further considering how the war opened, precise examination of the time when the tragedy began, and the new developments in the Middle East during the past years, alarms us to rethink and search for the deeper causes and more significant reasons of the recent outbreak. The main question is: “What strategic goals are behind the Israeli attack to Gaza at this time? The following analysis can be helpful to understand Tel Aviv’s major objectives for setting out a new war against the Palestinians.

1) To reconfirm US support: The recent limited rapprochement between Iran and the West, in particular with the US, over the former nuclear program has created a feeling of threat for Israeli leaders. In fact, they were concerned about the Iran-US possible reconciliation, even in such a limited scale. For this reason, they initially attempted to utilize any diplomatic means to impede the US and European states from reaching an agreement pertaining Iran’s nuclear activities; which did not succeed. Under such a circumstance, and in order to make sure that it still kept US patronage, despite the Geneva agreement, Israel needed to test Washington’s leaders once again.  When it attacked Gaza after which it received the full   political, military and financial support from Obama and the Congress, in fact Israel reconfirmed this reality that it could enjoy the US backing in any condition.

2) To put Iran in a state of dilemma: While Iran has newly pursued a dynamic foreign policy and demonstrated determination to solve the old nuclear dossier, it all seemed unpleasant for the Israeli leaders, who have always looked for a way to weaken the country.

The Gaza war indeed put Iran in a dilemma. If Tehran keeps quiet and does not take any steps, it could be perceived as “not supportive enough in critical situations” in the eyes of its regional friends. This could also downgrade Iran’s position among all allied Islamic movements like Hezbollah. On the other hand, if Iran takes significant action against the Israeli massacre, it is likely that Tehran’s stand affect the Iran-US possible compromise on the nuclear file in the upcoming future; with regard to this reality that Washington had already announced its full support for Tel Aviv.  In other words, by this war, Israel intends to create a link between its security and Iran. Given that, Israel will definitely push the Obama administration to take more aggressive actions in future nuclear talks. In that case, it would be expected either to have more obstacles in reaching an agreement in the next round of negotiations, or to add more restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program by the US, and the removal of the sanctions by the US in case of any agreement.

3)  To destroy Hamas’s power: During Ahmadinejad’s presidency, Israel had endeavored to fortify its relationship with Arab states, especially Persian Gulf countries, through exaggerating an Iranian menace in the region. It further tried to intensify the sectarian tensions between the Sunnis and Shiites. However, when Rouhani took power, and subsequently succeed to revise the country’s image and improve relations with most of the Gulf States, Israel felt a threat, since political weight in the region was shifted in favor of Iran. Under such a strategic change, Israel needed to overcome the immediate danger i.e. Hamas, and destroy its military might, which would likely be more powerful in the upcoming years considering Iran’s new position in the region and world. Meanwhile, Israel realized that before any significant improvement occurs in Iran’s relations with its neighboring Arab countries, in particular with Saudi Arabia, and before any possible serious tension occurs in its relations with Riyadh and other regional Arab states, it was the most appropriate time to demolish Hamas’s power, especially its military one. In this respect, the silence of Arab countries is an evidence. It was at the time when, Saudi Arabia, as Iran’s old rival, would be pleased to see that one of Iran’s military muscles is fading in the region.

4) To prevent Israel’s isolation: Despite the above mentioned fact, Israel was not satisfied by the reconciliation deal between the two rival Palestinian factions, Hamas and Fatah, which took place in April 2014 to form a coalition government after several years of division. The fact is that Israel was concerned about the unification of the Palestinian factions that could affect the future peace talks to the loss of Tel Aviv. That is why, Israel declared that it would not negotiate any “peace deal” with the new government and “would push punitive measures”.

Meanwhile, when all the Great power such as the US, Russia, China and the EU and even the United Nations agreed to work with the Palestinian unity government, Israel found itself lonely in the regional and international political scene. Under such a condition, Israel had no choice except to implement a military action to free itself from isolation, and also to break Palestinian integration. Moreover, the current war in Gaza, in the one hand will destroy drastically Hamas’s military capabilities and maneuver power, and on the other hand is a stringent warn for Fatah and Mahmud Abbas.

In sum, it deems that the Gaza war is not just a simple conflict but also a planned scenario and smart project that could help Israel to materialize its various objectives in the region with the supreme aim of strengthening the country’s security. In other words, Israel is more realistic than any other country in the region when it comes to the security question. Further, the historical memory shows that a war has always been one of the best tools for Israel to get more support from the US and the West leaders and  secure and immune its regime for a foreseeable future, even in expense of ignoring all international laws and human rights.

*Reza Ekhtiari Amiri is currently an Assistant Professor in International Relations at the University of Mazandaran in Iran. His recent articles have appeared in the Journal of Asian and African Studies, International Journal of Social Economics, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, and the Canadian Journal of Politics and Law. He is also author of a book entitled Iran and Saudi Arabia: from Economic to Security Cooperation (1991-2001) and co-editor of the book entitled Political and Social Affairs of Iran in New Era.

Key Words: Israel, Gaza, Iran, Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia, US, Hamas, Fatah, Palestine, Ekhtiari Amiri

*Photo Credit: The Strait Times

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