For the past several years, Chinese President Xi Jinping has fundamentally changed the goals and methods of Beijing’s foreign policy, with the Middle East central to its ambitions as a global powerbroker. Given China’s increased relevance in the region, its response to the Israel-Hamas war has been surprisingly underwhelming.
As with the war in Ukraine, fault lines in the international system have emerged amid the Israel-Hamas war. The variation in reactions is perhaps most evident among the African Union’s 55 member states, whose positions reflect different histories, traditions and interests as well as the preferences of national leaders.
U.S. President Joe Biden is confident that the U.S. can do it all: support both Ukraine and Israel at war, contain China, thwart Iran, regulate and secure the U.S. border, and address a host of other security crises now facing the world. But politics at home may make the current situation too much for Biden to handle.
For the past year, Yemen has been in a state of limbo, its messy, regionalized conflict on hold but unresolved. And that’s unlikely to change—for the better, at least—soon. Even if Saudi Arabia and the Houthis agree to a formal cease-fire, the country will remain stuck in the liminal space of “no war, no peace” for some time to come.
As is often the case when faced with an unexpected crisis, infighting hampered the EU’s ability to respond to the Israel-Hamas war. Critics pointed to the disarray as proof that the EU can never become a truly geopolitical actor. But once the EU finds its feet, its long-term responses to new challenges can prove remarkably resilient.
In a lightning strike on Sept. 19, Azerbaijan extinguished more than 30 years of de facto self-governance by ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. For Armenians, its loss is perceived as a catastrophe. For Azerbaijanis, the outcome represents restored sovereignty. But how the conflict ended has key implications for the future.
Israel’s order for civilians to evacuate northern Gaza ahead of an expected ground offensive has generated severe criticism. But an alternative, legal plan at Israel’s disposal for moving civilians out of harm’s way could, if executed, resolve Israel’s humanitarian dilemma and also yield some strategic side-benefits.
The Israel-Hamas war has raised serious questions about the political and strategic relevance of the Palestinian Authority. Against the backdrop of recent trends in the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the war both reflects and exacerbates the PA’s dwindling authority and the Palestinian national movement’s shifting paradigm.
Debates over the role that shifts in the global order may have played in the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war might seem trivial. But putting discrete events into a global context is valuable, particularly when it comes to conflict, as it can help us anticipate the frequency and kinds of conflicts we are likely to see.
One of the reasons for the ouster of Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker by so-called MAGA Republicans was their opposition to sending more funding and military assistance to Ukraine amid Russia’s war there. The question this raises is: Why? Why is Ukraine aid such a common cudgel for the MAGA wing of the GOP?
No military solution has so far proved effective at combatting jihadist insurgents in the Sahel region of West Africa. Now a new long-shot idea is making the rounds: bringing in Rwandan security forces. However, the “Rwandan model” is no solution for the Sahel’s nightmare. The search for new ideas will have to continue.
The need for peacebuilding in post-conflict societies grew out of the realization that signing agreements to bring fighting to an end is a necessary but insufficient step toward true and enduring peace. But while many of peacebuilding’s objectives seem self-evident, it is often laborious and expensive—and easily undone.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s immediate and forthright solidarity with Israel following Hamas’ attack there stands in stark contrast to his noncommittal response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But India has compelling reasons to side so decisively with Israel in a conflict with Palestinian militants.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s recent visit to China signaled the diplomatic revival he has long hoped for. But Assad walked away from the trip empty-handed when it comes to financial commitments toward reconstruction of Syria’s still-devastated infrastructure. Worse still for Assad, China isn’t alone in its reticence toward Syria.
Israelis and Palestinians are again at war, with potential consequences—including the risk of wider conflict—for the entire region. Of course, wars are the product of local, proximate factors. But at a time when the global security order is fraying due to the war in Ukraine, the Israel-Hamas war also fits a broader pattern.
For leftist governments in South America, the unfolding confrontation between the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which some of them view as a liberation movement, and Israel, a country many of them view as damnably oppressive, became the source of domestic tensions, with some leaders struggling to modulate their responses.
The Israel-Hamas war has the potential to fuel further conflict across the Middle East, with a high risk in particular of the fighting spreading to include Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. By contrast, there is a worrying lack of attention in European and U.S. political and media discussions to the impact of the war in Gaza on Egypt.