What's the endgame of Israel-Hamas war?

As Israel-Hamas conflict continues, the war may temporarily put the pursuit of a new Middle East on hold, but it's unlikely to halt it

What's the endgame of Israel-Hamas war?

Weeks into Israel's war in Gaza, three key observations can be made. Firstly, the insane retaliation war launched by Israel against the civilians in the Gaza Strip, followed by the negotiations for a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas. Secondly, Tehran and Hezbollah refrained from engaging in a full-scale war to support Hamas, choosing instead to harass the US and Israel within established rules of engagement. Thirdly, the existence of Arab options that continue to focus on the future and advocate for a just resolution to the Palestinian issue.

But what if the war continues for a long time despite ceasefires and prisoner exchange agreements? What political and military regional repercussions could unfold in the Middle East? What will be the fate of settlements, red lines, and rules of engagement in this scenario?

Al Majalla’s December cover story will provide insights into these pressing questions. The October issue highlighted the moment when Hamas took Israel by surprise. The November edition delved into the aftermath of the war and its repercussions on the Palestinian cause, the human suffering and the concerns about a potential "second Nakba."

Read more: "The Tokyo Principles" and "The Day After" in Gaza

As war continues, despite an intermittent prisoner and hostage exchange agreement amidst a temporary ceasefire, a fundamental question arises: How will these ongoing developments reflect on the Middle East? In this edition, experts and journalists endeavor to answer this question.

Al Majalla's December cover story will provide insights into the likely political and military regional repercussions in the Middle East, as the war in Gaza rages on.

After Hamas carried out its "October 7 surprise attack", they themselves faced a surprise from Iran. Iran did not mobilize its proxies and allies in the region to open an all-out war to save the Palestinian faction. America's deployment of two aircraft carriers in the Gulf and the Mediterranean conveyed warning messages to Tehran and limited Iran's "solidarity" within the rules of engagement.

This was evident in the meeting between Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, and Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Political Bureau of Hamas. The supreme leader blamed Hamas for the lack of coordination in the operation and informed Haniyeh that the "Axis of Resistance" factions in the region had informed him of the limits of the response they would direct towards Israel. On his part, Haniyeh justified his failure to notify Iran of Hamas's attack plan on October 7 by stating that there was a need for surprise. He then requested military action from the "Axis of Resistance".

Read more: Palestine's fate hinges on Gaza outcome

After Hamas carried out its "October 7 surprise attack", they themselves faced a surprise from Iran. Iran did not mobilize its proxies in the region to open an all-out war to save the Palestinian faction. 

The Iranian escalation in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen primarily targeted American or Israeli sites while also carrying out symbolic attacks for propaganda purposes. These attacks were countered either by neutralizing the threats or through preemptive Israeli strikes in Syria and Lebanon. The American response, particularly in Iraq, deviated from the usual norms of the game as what happened in Iraq, when they targeted the Iranian sites for the first time since the Joe Biden administration assumed office.

For several weeks, compliance with the "rules of engagement" has been evident. However, the prolonged conflict's expansion into the southern Gaza Strip, coupled with Israeli officials' threats to "dismantle the military infrastructure of Hamas" through airstrikes or expulsion, and suggestions of potential displacement from Gaza to Egypt and from the West Bank to Jordan, all contribute to keeping the Middle East in a volatile state, particularly as the region grapples daily with perplexing or provocative statements from Benjamin Netanyahu's government team concerning displacement, arming, and even the potential use of "nuclear weapons."

The Gaza war has brought the Palestinian issue back to the forefront and put forward the priority and the urgency of a ceasefire, as well as the need to address the ongoing painful humanitarian crisis. It also highlights the pressing need for the establishment of a Palestinian state and the pursuit of a 'two-state solution.' This was one of the crucial components in recent US-Saudi negotiations, which may also have encompassed strategic bilateral matters and relations with Israel.

The impact of this war extends beyond its immediate confines, influencing other conflicts like the Ukraine war, significant considerations concerning Russia and China, and crucial elections in a divided America. While the intensity of this ongoing conflict may temporarily impede the pursuit of a new Middle East, it is unlikely to halt it. Instead, the region's political, economic, and cultural landscape reflects a commitment to forward-looking perspectives and long-term goals, grounded primarily in national and internal considerations.

While the intensity of this ongoing conflict may temporarily impede the pursuit of a new Middle East, it is unlikely to halt it. 

This edition also includes another file, which is more like a second cover story. It focuses on the role of Sunnis in Lebanon, exploring their historical adherence to sectarian balances, current stage, and future prospects. Additionally, it examines the situation in Sudan, particularly in light of the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region that has been trapped in the aftermath of the war between the two generals that erupted in April.

As we approach the first anniversary of Elon Musk assuming ownership of the "X-Twitter republic," this edition will scrutinize the rapid pace of developments that have characterized this platform over the past year. Undoubtedly, Musk will have sparked a fresh sensation by the time these words reach the readers, given his status as a controversial figure who consistently captivates the world and draws attention.

Also featured in this edition is a tribute to the renowned painter Picasso on the fiftieth anniversary of his death. Additionally, there is a special interview with Paul Lynch, the Irish writer who won the International Booker Prize. In the interview, Lynch discusses the prevalence of "false mirrors" in our world.

font change