Fears that the Gaza crisis will expand through the region are manifesting into reality as 2024 begins. The Middle East has been a powder keg of potential war for a long time, but the carnage of Palestinians by the occupier Zionist State of Israel since October 2023 lit a fuse and ignited the keg.
Besides nonstop bombardment of Gaza, Israel is trading live fire across its northern border with Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement. Fresh rounds of fire came as Israeli officials stepped up threats against the group. Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem warned the regime they’re ready to escalate militarily if Israel does, reported Press TV.
“We are making the sacrifices that the battle requires, and they are great, but we are also repelling a great danger,” said Mr. Qassem on Dec. 29.
“We are ready for more whenever necessary,” he added. “We are not intimidated by threats or warnings. We in the field are clear that we are part of this battle,” he added.
Hezbollah is designated by the United States as a terrorist organization and proxy of Iran, a mutual foe of Israel and the U.S.
“If Israel goes too far, we will retaliate twice. We will not fear either Israeli or American threats or intimidation, because the future of the region now depends on this hope and this sacrifice,” warned Mr. Qassem.
On the same day, the Syrian Foreign Ministry denounced repeated Israeli attacks on Syrian territory in defiance of world public opinion, UN resolutions and most members of the United Nations Security Council not to expand the existing aggression of the Palestinian people, reported the Sana News Agency.
“The new aggressions against Syrian territory and the ongoing threats against Lebanon and other Arab countries in the region reveal the true goals of the Zionist entity, which seeks to expand in the region, at the expense of Arab rights in Palestine and other occupied territories,” said the ministry, in letters to the UN Secretary-General and head of the UN Security Council.
In addition, President Joe Biden ordered the U.S. military to carry out retaliatory airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia groups after three U.S. service members were injured in a drone attack in northern Iraq.
A press release from the U.S. Central Command, which oversees the region, said in response to multiple attacks against coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, U.S. forces conducted airstrikes against multiple facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq on Dec. 26.
“These strikes are intended to hold accountable those elements directly responsible for attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and Syria and degrade their ability to continue attacks,” said General Michael Kurilla, Commander of the U.S. Central Command in a statement.
Iraqi officials said that U.S. strikes targeting militia sites killed one fighter and wounded 18. The firefights are happening at a time of amplified concern about a wider war in the volatile region.
American military bases and personnel are brazenly confronted by militant groups upset over U.S. backing of Israel. Additionally, there exists a long-standing ambition by these groups for U.S. forces to leave Iraq and with America’s unconditional support for Israel’s attack on Gaza made America a legitimate target for the groups.
“Their view is that without U.S. support, this couldn’t continue. And in the context of an armed conflict, they’re seeing opportunities to strike at U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria in ways that weren’t available to them before,” said Mouin Rabbani, Middle East analyst and co-editor of Jadaliyya.
The Ansar-Allah (Houthi) movement staged dozens of attacks on commercial ships in solidarity with the Palestinian resistance, and to place pressure on America’s and Israel’s balking at global ceasefire demands.
Meanwhile, Washington has placed sanctions on individuals and financial entities it accused of financing the Houthi attacks on international shipping. The statement said the action aims to inhibit funding flowing to the Houthis, who continue to conduct attacks on merchant ships and risk further destabilizing the region.
“The United States, along with our allies and partners, will continue to target the key facilitation networks that enable the destabilizing activities of the Houthis and their backers in Iran,” said Brian Nelson, undersecretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, in a statement.
The measure is an added move to America’s response to the regionwide crisis. Recently, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced a multi-nation maritime security initiative called Operation Prosperity Garden that includes Britain, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain.
However, the Houthis stated until the attack on Gaza ends, they will continue targeting commercial ships.
Mohammad Ali Al-Houthi, a Supreme Political Council Member of the Houthi group told Türkiye’s TRT World news, the “region will burn” if there is any confrontation involving the U.S. and that the group is ready to respond to any “provocation” from the U.S.-led international coalition in the Red Sea.
The move threatens the flow of maritime commerce worth billions of dollars passing through the Strait of Hormuz, Southern Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb, and Gulf of Aden which potentially adversely affects prices of goods worldwide. The Yemen-based Houthis are uniquely advantaged for such a tactic because they sit astride this very narrow maritime choke-point central to global trade and supply chains.
“So, in practice, they can close it without firing a shot, just by threatening, and you will start to see ships avoiding that waterway,” said Mr. Rabbani.
“And the second thing … they’re being threatened by the U.S.,” he said. “But this is a group that has just emerged—if anything—militarily strengthened from an eight-year war launched against it by the Saudi-led coalition using advanced U.S. weapons,” reasoned Mr. Rabbani.
“They’re not going to be easily intimidated, particularly because they have adequate means to retaliate if they’re attacked, and they have allies,” he said.
For political analyst Wilmer Leon, this is a matter of settler colonialism and the resistance to it. “The Zionist State of Israel is a settler colony that the United States has always believed to be—as we have called it—our aircraft carrier in the region,” said Mr. Leon. And Joe Biden said, “if Israel didn’t exist, we would have had to create it, which to a great degree we did,” he quipped.
With all settler colonies the “removal/extermination” of the indigenous people is a fundamental element to settler colonialism. The United States did that with the colonies and the Native Americans. “That’s what settler colonial states do. The Afrikaners did that with the indigenous Black Africans in South Africa,” he said. “For the last 75 years, the Palestinians have been resisting.”
The struggle is spreading, and although there are diverse groups, they form a united axis of resistance. Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Ansar-Allah (Houthis) in Yemen, and resistance groups in Syria and Iraq. “They are now working in concert … to resist the settler colonial forces in the region,” said Mr. Leon. “The common denominator here is their anti-imperialist, anti-colonial desire to be free,” he said.
Critics condemn the U.S. for what they see as a wayward foreign policy that facilitates Israel’s war on Palestinians which has killed over 21,500 people—mostly women and children and injured over 54,000 since October.
Lending to the fray is that the United States is providing war ware to the occupier state. The Biden Administration approved an emergency weapons sale to Israel, circumventing a congressional review process for such sales for the second time within one month.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Congress the $147.5 million sale which includes M107 155mm projectiles and related equipment, was approved on Dec. 29, said a Department of State statement.
“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” read the statement.
However, critics long argued such support from the U.S. only adds to the crisis. The approval came as numerous anti-war advocates press the Biden administration to expend political capital towards a permanent ceasefire, not fueling a fire that has expanded out of Gaza.
In view of that, Yoav Gallant, Israel’s Defense Minister said Israel is fighting a multifront war involving—Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, Iraq, Yemen and Iran.
“We have already responded and taken action in six of these theatres,” Mr. Gallant told the Knesset on Dec. 26, without being more specific, however, implying the regional scope of its war.
Although America has over 40,000 military personnel in the region and it’s most sophisticated aircraft carrier in the Eastern Mediterranean, the drumbeat of war comes at a time when America as an empire is declining and losing influence on the world stage.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, National Representative of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam, has been specific about America’s fate globally. Both men warned of a time when America will come out of the Middle East.
“The world is looking at a country that is going to hell,” said Minister Farrakhan in a speech in February 2020 called “The Unraveling of a Great Nation.” The Muslim leader has consistently warned successive administrations concerning the ultimate fate and fall of America if she persists in errant foreign policy measures, warmongering, and global meddling.
As things heats up in the region, so has the hostile verbal play of threats and counter-threats with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Zionist State of Israel and America, its chief sponsor has been accusing Iran of backing the resistance groups involved in the regionwide upset.
Adding fuel to the fire was the Dec. 25 assassination of Sayyed Razi Mousavi, a commander in The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), in an Israeli missile attack in Syria. The move sparked a slew of threats of retaliation by Iranian officials.
The military leader was a close associate of General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force and assassinated by the U.S. in January 2020. That killing worsened prospects for peace in the region at the time.
Minster Farrakhan has warned America against being baited into conflict with Iran by Israel. Echoing his teacher Messenger Muhammad, the Minister forewarned both Zionists and America they will lose greatly under such actions.
“And to those of you who are Jewish: Please remember that if you use your tremendous power and influence to guide America again into war, this will be the end of your power as a Jewish people and nation universally. And America will go down if she follows your errant, insane arrogance and guidance,” Minister Farrakhan warned in Part 17 of a yearlong lecture series called “The Time and What Must Be Done,” delivered in 2013.
Containing Iran has been a central aim of the Zionist State. U.S.-Middle East policy coupled with anti-Iran instigation and provocations from Israel have fed the hostile posture against the Islamic Republic.
Containing Iran has been a central desire by the Zionist State. U.S.-Middle East policy coupled with anti-Iran instigation and provocations from Israel has fed the hostile posture against the Islamic Republic.
The hostility has kept the three nations on the precipice of potential conflict, which would be disastrous.
“They’re trying to provoke Iran,” Minister Farrakhan has cautioned in the past. The Muslim leader has visited Iran twice in recent years. Min. Farrakhan has been unflinching in warning U.S. presidents to cease their warmongering in the Middle East, and plotting regime change and assaults on Iran. War with Iran will be a catastrophic conflict the U.S. cannot win, Min. Farrakhan has forewarned.