(Ed: It is particular joy for me to post something from Ramin Mazaheri – this is his first article on Substack and he still writes for PressTV. Many of you will remember his quirky journalism and his Yellow Vest coverage among other topics, at the Saker).
Do we realise just how close we are to seeing Palestine win their own state, finally?
What Hamas has done is to create a geopolitical situation so unstable that if one major event is added to it, then the entire Middle Eastern order – and beyond – will be remade.
It’s as if Hamas correctly surmised that the West has become so weakened that they decided to take a chance on October 7 and simply hope that something would spin out of control but in their favor. Indeed, considering they live in a concentration camp – what did they really have to lose?
For those who disagree that we are closer to a free Palestine state than in 75 years simply tell me what happens if:
- A second Tahrir Square erupts? There’s already no way Egypt cedes/sells off Sinai to Israel, as Tel Aviv desires, proven by their offer to pay off Egypt’s debt to the International Monetary Fund. If the “anything to topple the Muslim Brotherhood” dictator Al-Sisi is forced out like Mubarak was in 2011 then war materiel, money and Egyptian mojahedin flood past the Rafah crossing and it’s imperialist game over for Israel.
- The Jordanian monarchy is toppled? Then the same floods the West Bank via the Jordanian border. Can you imagine the fighting morale in the West Bank if they finally have something other than rocks for the first time in decades? Again, it’s imperialist game over for Israel.
These are two things which are actually within the realm of immediate possibility; two things which, added to the Hamas unrest, would overwhelm Israel into accepting a diplomatic solution.
So, of course, the Western mainstream media won’t talk about these things as much as they should. Of course they won’t encourage democracy in these two anti-democratic allies of the West.
There’s already a precedent for – and thus evidence of a popular will for – the Egyptian scenario, while 20% of Jordan is Palestinian refugees. An oil-poor Jordanian king or a democracy-denying puppet Egyptian dictator redux are all that’s preventing permanent, game-changing reinforcements for Palestine. Egypt has always been the key to the Palestine situation from the beginning, but Israel’s flooding of 700,000 illegal settlers into the West Bank over the past 40 years has made Jordan a similar kingmaker (or tyranny-toppler, in this situation).
But wait, there’s more! Please tell me what happens if:
- Israel foolishly takes on Lebanon: Is Israel dumb enough to take on Lebanon and open up a second front? This is even as Hamas has an unprecedented upper hand, has hostages for years, has tunnels for miles and has never been beaten on their home turf? This is even as Tel Aviv has to arm and protect West Bank settlers, i.e. they already do have a second front? So it’s more accurate to say that Israel is going to open up a third front in Lebanon, even though it’s not 1982 and Hezbollah is stronger, more experienced and better equipped than ever? If Israel invades it’s maybe not an immediate imperialist game over – we don’t really know how many missiles, fighters and capabilities Lebanon has, and if it’s enough to deal a devastating blow the the Zionist project – but Lebanon is an exaggerated version of Gaza in that the longer Israel stays and fights there the closer it gets to Zionism’s funeral.
- Israel chooses now to attack Iran’s non-existent nuclear program: It is non-existent, and everyone paying attention knows that. The United Nations knows that. This is a stupid question which only serves as a distraction. Iran doesn’t need the bomb anymore, and they’ve said this to anyone who will listen: Tehran feels deterrence (the only reason they would want a nuclear bomb) has been achieved, and they are obviously referring to US aircraft carrier-sinking hypersonic missiles, drones, the most advanced and diverse missile program in the Middle East, a little thing called the Basij (which is better than all the other stuff mentioned), etc. and etc. and etc. The false reason Iran wants a bomb – to allegedly use on Israel – is as stupid as it is untrue. To anyone with a brain who wants to truly understand: Iran with a nuclear bomb is far, far weaker (less popular globally, more overly reliant on one “magic solution”, less able to engage in any diplomacy with the West) than Iran without it, and this explains why Iran has spent 20 years trying to get world to accept that they don’t want a bomb and nor do they even need one. Such is Iran’s strength that if Israel attacks Iran it’s imperialist game over for Israel, should Iran decide so.
- Israel chooses now to escalate in Golan Heights: 2017 proved that Syria has friends who will come to their aid and fight, and these friends proved back then that their tactics, equipment, electronic warfare, etc., are better than the West’s and NATO’s. Hint: these friends have been proving this same superiority over the best of the West day after day in Ukraine for 21 consecutive months. Hamas was paying attention in 2017, and in 2022, and last month they obviously thought: hey, we can win too! And Hamas’s has friends with this powerful friend. Syria also has other friends who have been fighting the West for 20 consecutive years, and just right next door. Israel taking on Syria could be the spark which frees Iraq from the dregs of the US invasion, or it could also mean taking on Russia as well, or it could result in both, and then it’s imperialist game over for Israel.
These are three more things which could happen which could directly spell the end of Israel’s refusal to negotiate with Palestine.
But wait, there’s more! Please tell me what happens if:
- The House of Saud collapses? The moral authority of Islam would finally become freed of the English puppet Wahhabis. “Saudis aren’t Muslims, they’re Wahhabis” is a common insult in the Muslim world, but what’s certain is that they shouldn’t be “Saudi Arabians” at all but simply “Arabs”. (The entire Maghreb would be quite happy if you stopped calling them Arabs, certainly.) You may insist that “Saudis” are too complacent – thanks to the largesse of socialist-inspired state ownership of the peoples’ resources – and too genuinely radicalised (reactionary-ised) by Wahhabism to overthrow their leaders? I agree – it’s not as likely as Egypt or Jordan, but the House of Saud cannot stand forever and when it falls it’s imperialist game over for Israel.
- European-minded Turkey becomes south- and east-facing Turkiye: Foolish neo-imperial dreamers in Turkey finally give way to the genuinely Muslim masses, and a revolution ends 500 years of extremely European-style thinking in favor of a modern Turkiye. Turkiye finally stops playing both sides of the geopolitical divide, ends their French-style secularism and embraces modern Islamism, and then it’s imperialist game over for Israel.
Should either happen would you really be shocked? Absolutely not – they are historically inevitable, and it’s only been the strength of the imperialist West which allowed these situations to even take root in the first place.
The list is now at seven. Seven real things in the immediate vicinity which could create a situation where the West – already at the limits of its military resources and global prestige, and economically dangling by QE, ZIRP, inflation, the petrodollar, endless austerity, insert-your-least-favorite-liberal capitalist policy here – becomes nakedly incapable of the control it once had.
It’s a new world. You were alive in 1991 but it’s not then anymore, so forget it. You were alive in 2002 but it’s not then anymore, so adapt. Israel is not facing one foe, but more than seven, and only West Bankers are still relying on rocks.
The most important question today: Will the unrest remain limited to Gaza, or will it expand?
If it expands, how far? We can answer this question with near-certainty.
This is the real, established alliance in the event of an ever-escalating multinational war, and not at all some pie-in-the-sky dreaming:
Hamas attacks Israel. Israel attacks Hamas. Hezbollah (and Yemen) attacks Israel. Israel attacks Lebanon. Syria attacks Israel. Israel attacks Syria. Iraq attacks Israel. Israel attacks Iraq. Iran attacks Israel (only after all of Iran’s allies have gone first, crucially). Israel attacks Iran. Russia attacks Israel to defend Iran.
This is absolutely the alliance system and balance of power which has been arranged, and mainly by decades of Iranian perseverance, brave defiance of Western capitalism-imperialism, sound economic management and long-range strategic thinking.
Do not delude yourself into thinking this is wishful thinking: Iran did not give missiles, guns, money, training, fight ISIL, sacrifice Soleimani, bear all these sanctions just to keep the anti-imperialist revolution alive in the Muslim World and beyond, etc. and etc. and etc. to Hamas, Hezbollah, Yemen, Syria and Iraq just for Iran to leapfrog all of them to go directly to war with Israel. What Iran has done has cemented a series of alliances, of which everyone agrees exists, but which eschews the formally declared pageantry of a pre-WWII Europe, for example.
Of course, it’s not like Tehran can just give orders to a Hezbollah soldier or a Yemeni soldier like he is an Iranian soldier. However, if Israel attempts to genocide/ethnically cleanse Gaza Tehran seems certain to say, “Hey, what did we give you all this stuff for if you weren’t going to fight?” And then these soldiers are going to swallow hard and willingly go fight long before an Iranian private formally does. Iran has given materiel, money and morale to these five non-Iranian regions for years, and countless people in these regions are absolutely ready to take the fight to Israel after all these woeful decades.
Do you think Israel take all this on and win? You may think so, but I do not.
Israel never wants to publicly admit they are facing the alliance system described above as it is so obviously daunting in 2023, even if it was not in 1993.
In parcel with this denial is Israel’s proposition of a simple “magic solution” – destroy Iran – which is pure snake oil.
I don’t think I need to explain why the idea – so often dangled by a desperate Israel, solely in order to delude their own populace, Western backers and themselves – that a direct attack on Iran, on the alleged “head of the snake”, would solve everything for Zionism. Simply look above: it wouldn’t end the very real grievances which these other regions have with Israel.
So this is the clear chain of events which will happen should war escalate.
Does Israel not understand this? Cool diplomats from Lebanon to Iran are calmly blinking and watching Israel for their answer, and then they will respond however they individually decide. Iran is going to look out for Iranians, and Nasrallah is going to look out for Lebanese, but it’s a big assumption to assume that they will not get involved even if Israel totally confines their atrocities to only the Gaza Strip.
What we are seeing so far from Tel Aviv is the US after 9/11: rushing into a quagmire with no exit strategy. They are fools rushing in where they should be fearing to tread – Israel’s only hope of survival is to pull back.
At the same time, and I’ll continue to be as succinct as possible when dealing with these vast historical forces: If Israel doesn’t win whatever their awful leadership wants to fully win right now – be it control of Gaza, or all of Palestine, or the murder of all Palestinians, or control of southern Lebanon, or whatever it is – such is the strength of the the anti-Israel alliance above (which has barely mentioned its silent behemoth supporters in Moscow and Beijing) that if Israel doesn’t go all in now it will soon be too late.
How on earth can we foresee Hezbollah getting weaker?
And Iran falling so very precipitously into an Egypt-style disarray?
And the West successfully toppling Syria, when they already blew their huge effort?
And Yemen being even weaker than when hundreds of thousands of them were starved to death by the Saudis and the West, a point from which they somehow rallied?
And returning to a situation where Americans in the Green Zone call all the shots in Iraq?
No, if Israel has dreams of conquest it’s now or never. These nations are exponentially stronger than 10, 20, 30, 75 years ago. Just imagine how this informal alliance will only continue to grow further in strength?
Many in Israel know this, and it explains why are they only pushing for complete ethnic cleansing and genocide, and why the dehumanisation campaign of Palestine is so disgustingly virulent.
However, I say it’s already too late for Israel, and can prove why. However, what’s been written already should provide so very much hope and inspiration for those opposed to capitalism-imperialism.
Put aside 1948 – how did the West get to this all-time low point of influence & control?
We can’t just understand one-half of these historic changes – we cannot limit ourselves to understanding how this powerful new anti-Israel alliance arose, and which will be strengthened with every anti-Western spark, and which has achieved military parity (and supremacy in aspects) in the region, and which was unthinkable in, say, 1999. To do so would be to only look at the currently peaking anti-Western strength – but what about the current Western weakness?
Just one more spark, just one more half-revolution and we’ll have a Palestinian state became possible because of specific failures in the United States and in Europe.
In the US the failed Western invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan – imperialist, unjust and misguided (the targeted nations did not create 9/11 of course) – sapped the US in terms of morale, which is always the most important factor in any fight (otherwise explain the Taliban’s victory). The US lost, they know it and the rank-and-file has no stomach for another (foolish) fight. But it goes beyond morale, i.e. the devastation of confidence in their own culture.
American commentators focus on the cost of “blood and treasure”, but we should not underestimate the impact the 2002-era irrational exuberance of, “We’re going to wipe the floor with the whole world” surely helped propel the financial chicanery which led to the 2008 Great Financial Crisis, which sucked out more “treasure” than Iraq and Afghanistan ever could. Americans were promised world domination in 2002, but by 2008 they had economic crisis. This failure is more devastating to internal confidence than losing a couple wars abroad in which only 7,000 Americans were killed.
What is our ultimate question in this section? It is, “How did the West become so weakened – so powerless in the region – that Israel is now one unplanned spark away from permanent checkmate?”
Afghanistan & Iraq, the cognitive dissonance of unjust wars that destroy a society from within and the empty purchases of irrational exuberance explain the weakening of the US, but the US is only the western half of “the West”, after all.
We must add to our explanation: the failure of Europe, i.e. the failure of the European Union, which really didn’t begin until it was undemocratically forced though – amid the Great Financial Crisis – with the Lisbon Treaty in 2009.
Nobody mentions European decline even though their inability to protect their key ally Israel is just as much an indictment of them as it is of the US. Everyone focuses on America’s decline, but many neo-colonies across Africa are well aware of the stupidity of ignoring Europe in favor of an all-consuming focus on the US.
It must be accounted for in any assessment of the West’s performance, and what is our reckoning?
Europe has gutted itself economically, precisely as it’s Americanesque, totally Liberal Democratic (and anti-Social Democratic, and of occurs anti-Socialist Democratic) tenets dictated. The European Union is now losing on its frontier (Ukraine), is totally incapable of organising a military defense of either Ukraine or Israel, and Covid seems to have wiped the memory of the total failure – democratic, economic, social, cultural – of its self-imposed Age of Austerity (2009-2020) which left it so very, very weakened.
Most recall Trump’s famous “this American carnage” line from his 2017 inauguration speech, but why do commentators on the West’s decline ignore “this European carnage”? It was real, too, and I reported on it daily from Paris since 2009. It had less guns and drugs than in the US, and no clear figurehead like Trump, but Europe was a disaster zone during the 2010s – what’s occurring in 2023 is the direct byproduct of that. I encourage people to read my recent book on France’s Yellow Vests to get a clear-headed, in-depth and on-the-ground analysis of Europe’s staggering failure since 2009, and I remind that a failure of Israel is a failure of Europe almost as much as it is of the US.
The West is so weak that we are an unplanned spark away from a Palestinian state
The West is weak, and everyone not only smells this but can prove it with facts like up above. This has been proven on the battlefield in Syria, against Western-backed ISIL, and in Ukraine. It is proven by China’s economic rise amid Western stagnation since 2008. It is proven by not just Iran’s endurance but Iran’s excellence – they just keep prevailing, after all. It is proven by Russia’s overwhelming victory – economically and militarily – despite the unified Western response to Ukraine.
Hamas saw all this – their attack was a surprise but it wasn’t desperation. Hamas is currently winning, no matter how many bombs destroy civilian apartments. It’s admitted by Israeli politicians that Hamas still has the upper hand, and – of course – there is no chance Hamas is going to surrender by Christmas, is there?
What is Israel’s endgame? Is it to ethnically relocate 2 million Gazans, or are they going to add the relocation of 3 million West Bankers to this impossible dream? Or maybe it’s the death of all 7 million ethnic Palestinians in Israel and Palestine? Similarly, is Hamas’s plan to push out all 7 million Israeli Jews, or is it to kill all of them?
All of these scenarios are impossible in the real world, which will never allow either one, I hope.
Such scenarios exist in a vacuum, for the overly passionate and for the unserious. They exist in a place where Hamas has no allies; where the West has power like it’s 1995 and Yeltsin is drinking in Moscow while China’s GDP is 12% of that of the US, as opposed to the 70% it was in 2022; in a place without social media to document Israeli crimes; in an absurd world where the West is totally powerless. Crucially, they exist in a place where anti-Israeli forces are falsely believed to be so overwhelmingly strong that all Jews are going to be sent out of Palestine shortly – the world will not accept that any more than the they will accept all Palestinians leaving. These are genocidal ideas, wrong and false.
No, the truth is that we are closer to a two-state solution than we ever have been.
Firstly, a two-state solution is what Palestinians have openly wanted for a couple decades – I believe Palestinians certainly deserve to get what they want, finally. Many want to see the colonial injustice which is Israel replaced with a single state of Palestine – well, you can go fight for that if you want, but Palestinians have made it clear they’re fine with a two-state solution, and I respect their sovereign decision.
Hamas has started half the revolution, but – weakened by 17 years of blockade and 75 years of repression and forced non-development – they need something else to complete the full turn of history. It can come from outside – look at the more than half-dozen possible, certainly logical, seemingly inevitable scenarios I listen above. Or it can come from a misstep by Israel itself.
Frankly, I think Iran has been right with this official line they’ve been pushing for a few years now: Palestine will eventually become free simply because Israeli society is going to implode. After all, how can they live under such tension, cognitive dissonance, repressed guilt, paranoia, hatred for Palestinians and Gentiles and on and on and on?
Oh, the Hamas counter-attack actually united Israel, you say? (I keep calling it a “counter-attack” because Gaza was under a blockade, which nobody denies is an act of war. It is surprising that more people don’t refer to October 7 as a “counter-attack” because it so clearly reveals the moral justification for that Gaza concentration camp breakout.) They are even more united in their unjust Zionist colonial project, you insist? After all, we are reading that the future of Israel is where everyone has a handgun, like the US. And the US is such a safe, united place?
Did America truly become more united after 9/11, or did the very unjustness of America’s wars create so much militarism, wasted taxpayer money, cognitive dissonance, irrational exuberance and unmet expectations that it resulted in Trump’s “this American carnage” speech? No, injustice has a price, and Israel is certainly unjust. Like America its carnage is internal as well as external.
A two-state solution has long-been denied by Israel – anyone paying attention knows that the injection of 700,000 settlers into the West Bank was done expressly to undermine the possibility of a two-state solution – but when they are faced with total defeat then they will finally acquiesce to sharing Palestine. Finally. It is only military parity which will ever expel any hardened colonists, and I have described the military parity which the anti-Israel alliance has achieved and which is seemingly impossible for Israel to beat even with its weakened Western allies.
And colonists will have to be expelled – but this is not new.
Former French foreign and prime minister Dominique de Villepin made his bones in 2003 on building the case for France not go to war in Iraq, and he hasn’t deviated from this line of thinking, to his great credit. He recently shocked France into remembering that at the end of the Algerian War for Independence (1954-1962) the previously unthinkable happened: a million French people had to be “resettled” in France. This is what will have to happen to 700,000 Israelis in the West Bank – how can there be two states when the West Bank is not remotely contiguous with not just Gaza but also with itself?!
You still say it’s impossible that Israelis would leave? History says no, they are not special, and logic says it’s the only way to a two-state solution. Israeli settlers will ultimately be no different than French pied-noirs, because both are on the losing side of humanity and human history. Algerians and Palestinians come from very different historical backgrounds than American Indians and Australian Aboriginals, after all – neither will be forced to accept permanent reservation status.
A two-state solution must be pushed because it’s what Palestinians want, and it’s also the path to the least bloodshed. Of course, I’d prefer a single state of Palestine with as many Jews there who want to live there – that’s the historical norm, and it worked until the advent of Zionism. It’s also the most peaceful solution, because the existence of a Zionist state can never be truly peaceful: segregation, racism and a rejection of religious co-existence doesn’t isn’t a recipe to lasting peace.
But we are all following the lead of the Palestinians, and these are spectacularly inspirational times.
Don’t be afraid to sound ridiculous – spectacularly inspirational times!
The Middle Eastern order is on the cusp of being remade or, as I described, if not now then in just a few years. This means the Western order – so financially dependent on the extraction of oil wealth – will be remade, and this has obviously immediate effects for Africa and beyond.
It was said often shortly after October 7 that anything can happen, good or bad, for either side.
I don’t agree with that any more:
The current realities delineated in this article should be inspirational to you because you see the historical forces which have slowly, finally, gratefully swung behind Palestine and against imperialism, Zionism and capitalism. If the West appeared – was proven to be – weak after losing in Ukraine, how weak will they appear when Israel makes whatever move it makes… and inevitably loses?
So I don’t agree anything can happen good or bad for either side – I don’t see how Israel regains the strength, or the West regains the regional control, it had on October 6, 2023. I will never forget this day (and neither will my parents… because it was my 46th birthday).
All moves Israel makes result in their losing. They are currently choosing a very bloody path, and may even continue on this cruel road for months, but their destination will inevitably conclude closer to the Palestinian’s long-awaited two-state solution.
Crucially, should any other people in the region dare a dare such as Hamas did on October 7 – well, it’s staggeringly hopeful how close the world is to political progress away from awful, failed Western capitalism-imperialism.
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