While the world remains transfixed by the Israel-Hamas war, other trends that could prove as consequential for the future of the Middle East are gaining momentum. In particular, an increasingly visible transformation of identity discourses in the Gulf and Iran is setting the scene for further shocks to the regional order.
Iran’s long-range ballistic missiles long have been the focus of international attention. Over the past two decades, though, Iran has also developed and deployed an increasingly diverse array of shorter-range strike systems. Now, the war between Israel and Hamas has raised the urgency of understanding these other strike capabilities.
Year after year, observers have been warning that the status quo in Gaza could not last, and yet year after year it stubbornly did. It was a testament to how sustainable an unsustainable situation can be—until the moment when it no longer is. The unprecedented attack this weekend marked that moment in Israel’s standoff with Hamas.