Artículo OpinionGlobal, 23.12.2023 Riad Fouad Saade, empresario libanés y cónsul honorario de Chile en El Líbano
UPDATE AFTER 76 DAYS OF WAR
For 76 days we have been over saturated with mainstream media news and with talk-shows explaining the “normality” of Israeli retaliation after the “abominable” October 7th Hamas commando attack on occupied territories in Southern Israel. The unprecedented carpet destruction of the most densely populated land in the world, was totally eluded, while the words “war crimes” or “crimes against humanity”, became a banality.
To date, the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli bombs is above 22,000 not counting the unidentified bodies lying under the rubbles. Half of them are children, many others are women.
Life conditions of 1.5 million displaced people are unbearable while vital means of life are missing.
UNICEF, WHO, WFP and many others have emphasized the dramatic situation of the population with little or no reaction from western governments who are maintaining their support to Israel to “self-defend” itself against Hamas “barbaric” October 7th attack. The UN Security Council was unable until now to reach a resolution stopping hostilities. The USA is obviously supporting Israel in its "eradication" Gaza war by a continuous airlift of tens of thousands of bombs and rockets.
Impressive street marches all over the world, expressed popular support to the Palestinian people with little or no impact on its governments. The Extraordinary Arab-Islamic Summit held in Riyadh on November 11, 2023, demanded the end of the Gaza war, without any tangible result. As a matter of fact, and for the past 75 years, the Palestinian cause has been instrumental to these countries, each according to its own interests while deep contradictions exist among them in relation to Palestinian resistance movements to Israeli occupation.
A FIRST CONCLUSION
- While a “smart” Israeli policy had prevented, over 30 years, the implementation of the Oslo accords (1993) which aimed at achieving peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through future negotiations that would lead to a Palestinian viable State,
- While during this period, Israel and the USA patiently implemented the “remodeling” of the post WWI British-French Middle East, which remodeling vision was well expressed in the Oded Yinon's "A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties", that led to the weakening of Israel’s main enemies by the destruction of its armed forces and State capacities: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and strangling of Iran,
- While normalization of relations was reached with previous Arab enemies, Egypt (1979) Jordan (1994) United Arab Emirates, Bahrein, Morocco (Abraham accords 2021), the Palestinian cause was considered as contained and did no more represent an obstacle in front of the Israel-USA plan for a New Middle East. Hamas October 7th attack seems to have blown up all these plans
A NEW READING OF THE SITUATION
The USA failing success in supporting their proxy, Ukraine, against Russia, approached the Gaza war with an immediate and unprecedented display of power at disposal of its proxy: Israel. After 76 days of carpet bombing of Gaza, Israel did not reach any of its objectives. It did not eradicate Hamas, nor has it been able to show a successful achievement, it did not occupy Gaza, it is presently reconsidering its military plans, it did not recuperate all hostages and could not reach an agreement over it with Hamas which seems to lead the game up till now. Meanwhile the psychology of Israeli soldiers operating in Gaza is questioning.
Simultaneously the Israeli economy has enormously suffered from the war, some of its main ports (Eilat, Ashdod) were much affected, the absence of the workforce represented by the 300,000 reservists that were called damaged many activities, tourism that is essential especially at Christmas was stopped, the cost of about 200,000 displaced settlers from Northern Israel as well as from Gaza surroundings, is very significant, not to count the price of war and war losses, which are extreme.
Meanwhile Iran that is negotiating with the USA its future position in the future Middle East, has used its proxies to send messages. Hezbollah in South Lebanon has shown restraint and strength in its daily fire exchange with Israel. Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have shown restraint in Syria, avoiding retaliation against renewed Israeli attacks, but attacking US bases in Northern and Eastern Syria. Al Hashd al Shaabi has been attacking US interests in Iraq. But the most significant move was that of the Houthis in Yemen, whose control of the Bab el Mandeb straits is vital for international trade through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.
Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon who are constantly threatened by the Israeli transfer policy that aims at sending the Gaza Palestinian population to Egyptian Sinai, the West Bank Palestinians to Jordan and the Arab Israelis of Galilea, to Lebanon, these three countries have taken strong attitudes against the “transfer”.
A SECOND CONCLUSION-QUESTION
Are we at a turning point where the West will revise its Mid-Eastern policy with Israel as its focal point?
Or will the West maintain the same plan with the risk of wider Middle East war including Iran and the Oil rich Gulf?
SOME CONSIDERATIONS ABOUT THE WEST
The Ukraine NATO strategy starting 2014 has shown many western weaknesses at military level as well as at diplomatic and economic levels.
Europe that has always played a prime role in the Middle East, has been literally ousted from this region, same as from Africa (especially France)
Although other alliances (BRICS, Shanghai etc) are not yet strongly established, they nevertheless represent obstacles to the USA hegemony and relentlessly call for multipolarity.
UNTIL NEXT UPDATE
Our opinion is that the USA will not sustain months of war in Gaza. Local Israeli conditions (mainly related to the deep existential feeling among the Israel citizens after the big intelligence and military failure of October 7th), as well as USA presidential elections will determine during Q1 of 2024, the American attitude in the Middle East.
A WORD ABOUT LEBANON
The Americans with the five States Alliance dealing with the Lebanese file, have secured a beneficial continuity at the head of the Lebanese Army, the only Institution of the country that is still holding under very precarious conditions.
The monetary situation has been under control since speculative games beneficiating to political corrupt leaders, have stopped at the Central Bank.
The country has adapted to its new socio-economic post Gaza war conditions, with an increase in emigration of skilled youth and a resilient population.
Hezbollah, the real governing party, is very keen on preserving the status quo until we reach the Gaza war results. It will then define what could be the new structures of government in Lebanon.
Meanwhile everybody is busy preparing for Christmas.