(OPINION) If you haven’t been paying close attention to what is going on in the Middle East, you need to start doing so. As I have discussed previously, I believe that a Great Middle East War will be one of the conflicts that defines World War III.
For months, the fighting has mostly been limited to Israel and Hamas, but events on the northern front are really starting to heat up. In fact, as you will see below, the IDF just pummeled Damascus with more airstrikes and the Syrian government is saying that it is ready for war with Israel. So could we soon see a scenario where Israel is fighting an all-out war with Hezbollah and the Syrian army simultaneously?
Needless to say, that really would be a nightmare. We are so close to a major regional war, and each new day brings new escalations. Right now, there is a tremendous amount of buzz about Israel’s impending assault on the Hamas stronghold in Rafah.
As the Jerusalem Post has pointed out, Hamas desperately needs Rafah if it is to survive… There is likely another side to this. Hamas needs Rafah to survive. This is how Hamas controls humanitarian aid entering Gaza. Hamas has made extreme demands of Israel for a new pause in fighting.
It says it could release hostages over several months if Israel moves toward a ceasefire and an end to the war. In essence, Hamas wants Rafah as its main conduit to the international community, so it can control the aid that might enter during a ceasefire. Hamas wants to rebuild capabilities in Rafah and use it as a redoubt to extend its tentacles back throughout Gaza.
If Israel really does intend to wipe out Hamas, it must go into Rafah. And it appears that is exactly what is going to happen. Of course, Hamas is really freaked out at this moment, and they are desperately trying to get Israel to back off by warning that any attack on Rafah would “torpedo” negotiations for the release of the remaining hostages…
“Any attack by the occupation army on the city of Rafah would torpedo the exchange negotiations,” a Hamas leader told the AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.
I don’t think those negotiations were really going anywhere, and I am convinced that Israel fully plans to go in.But there is a problem. Most than a million Palestinian civilians have taken refuge in Rafah, and getting them to safety before the assault begins has become a major international issue…
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged “safe passage for the civilian population” of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians are crowded into shelters. A planned Israeli ground assault has spread fear in the southern Gaza city and fueled mounting global alarm.
Netanyahu told ABC News that an attack on Rafah was key to defeating Hamas, but it’s unclear where people packed into the city and pressed against the Egyptian border might go to find safety.
Once the IDF goes into Rafah, tensions in the region will go to an entirely new level. The Saudi government is warning that there will be “very serious repercussions” if a campaign against Rafah proceeds…
CNN reported that Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned Israel of “very serious repercussions” if their forces target Rafah. “The Kingdom affirms its categorical rejection and strong condemnation of their forcible deportation, and renews its demand for an immediate ceasefire,” the ministry said in a statement, according to the outlet.
And Egypt is warning that it could actually suspend its peace treaty with the Israelis…
Two Egyptian officials and a Western diplomat said Egypt threatened to suspend its peace treaty with Israel if Israel forces were sent into Rafah, The Associated Press reported. European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that an offensive into Rafah “would lead to an unspeakable humanitarian catastrophe and grave tensions with Egypt.”
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said an Israeli operation into Rafah “cannot proceed” in an interview with NPR. A tremendous international effort is being made to keep Israel out of Rafah.
In the end, I don’t think that it is going to work. I think that Israel will go into Rafah, and when that happens there will be an explosion of international outrage. Could that be one of the events that triggers a full-blown war on the northern front?
At this stage, we truly are on the verge of the unthinkable. On Saturday, the IDF once again hammered Damascus with airstrikes…
Israeli airstrikes allegedly hit several sites on the outskirts of Damascus on Saturday, according to the Syrian military, while a war monitor said three people were killed in the attacks.
The strikes came from the direction of the Golan Heights, Syrian state news agency SANA reported, citing an unnamed military official. It added that Syrian air defenses shot down some missiles and those that landed resulted in “some material losses.” It was not immediately clear if there were casualties. (READ MORE)