The Middle East has entered an unprecedented phase. Not only was the scale of Hamas’ brutal October 7 attack completely unexpected, but Israel’s mass killing of the Palestinian people in response has caused the highest daily death toll of any conflict in the 21st century, according to Oxfam. However, precedence has not only been broken in human casualties, but also in their wider ramifications.
Amidst the New Cold War conflict for global domination between US and Chinese imperialism, the assault on Gaza has set into motion a regional conflict that could trigger a full scale war. October 8 saw Hezbollah begin launching missile attacks on Northern Israel, with Israel responding with strikes on Southern Lebanon. Soon after, the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq,” a front for Iran-backed militias, began firing missiles at US bases in Iraq.
Similar clashes began in Syria, with Israel assassinating multiple high-ranking Iranian generals in Damascus. Facing its own internal security crisis including a major bombing attributed to ISIS, the Iranian government has bombed the Syrian province of Idlib, Iraqi Kurdistan, and the Balochistan state in Pakistan. Pakistan responded with an attack on the Balochi province of Iran. Such clashes have actually increased support for the Pakistani coup-government, seen until recently as wholly illegitimate by most Pakistani working people.
Perhaps the most significant escalation, however, is the Yemeni Houthi interception of Israel-linked shipping in the Red Sea, which threatens to create a new global supply chain crisis with inflationary implications as major shipping companies abandon the Red Sea altogether. US and Western imperialism have now launched an unofficial low-scale (currently) war in response, through both naval attacks and bombing campaigns on Yemen – a country already devastated by a decade of US-funded imperialist war. Appallingly, Joe Biden even admitted that the new clashes with the Houthi’s weren’t working, but would continue to pursue them anyway!
The US’s war-mongering and ceaseless backing of the Israeli military machine hasn’t made American people nor troops any safer. On January 28, three American troops were killed in an Iran-backed drone attack on a US base in Jordan, threatening an even bloodier response by the US.
Many working people correctly see the diplomatic efforts of the US-aligned Arab and Islamic capitalist dictatorships like Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, as completely ineffective in stopping Israel’s massacre of the Palestinian people. However, the militarism of the China-aligned Iranian regime and its allies do not pose a way out.
Iran, the US, and Israel claim to want to avoid an expanding war, though elements of the Israeli and Iranian regimes may be seeking escalation. While a wider war creates serious risks for every regime involved, conditions and miscalculations may push any one of them to the point of no return. A ceasefire is an absolute necessity to stop the ongoing bloodshed, however, with no clear end to the Gaza war in sight, any potential local or regional ceasefire would be under threat of violation.
Workers in the region or around the world don’t stand to benefit in any way from this widening conflict. US imperialism is facing massive opposition from the masses of the region since backing the bloodbath in Gaza. This can become a threat to the Arab regimes most closely linked to it, including Egypt and Jordan. However, the regional imperialist mullah-regime of Iran, backed by China and Russia, and its allies in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, have shown time and again that whenever they are confronted with the threat of working people and youth fighting against their immiseration, they won’t hesitate to use bloody measures similar to what the IDF uses on Palestinians. Any wider war would only use the working class as cannon fodder for the interests of each of these imperialist blocs.
The only way to stop the killing in Israel/Palestine and the regional war is through a mass struggle of the international working class for a permanent ceasefire, and in the US, for the end of military aid to Israel. Only the power of the working class, which makes the capitalist system run, can bring this for-profit system and its wars to a halt. Unions must break with the Democrats and block arms to Israel! No to imperialist diplomacy, no to imperialist war! For a working class fightback for a permanent ceasefire, an end to the siege and occupation, and self determination for the Palestinian people! Complete the “Arab Spring”!! For a socialist federation of the Middle East!