Where is the Middle East taking us?

I had determined not to blog about the Israeli / Palestinian crisis mainly, it has to be said, due to time constraints and the knowledge that this was complicated and would require careful research and thoughtful analysis. But once a writer always a writer! In trying to make sense of what is going on in the current conflict I found myself wondering how I might go about writing about it ………..

My one sop to my original reluctance to write about the matter is that this piece will be without references, it is based entirely on what’s in my head from reading and listening to a variety of sources (see below).

I find the Israel / Palestine conflict far more complicated and difficult to understand than the war in Ukraine or the coming war with China – although my intuition is that they are all underpinned by the accelerating decline (economically and militarily) of the Collective West in general and of the US in particular. It seems to me that trying to understand what is going on in Israel / Palestine requires consideration of multi-layered perspectives and analyses – some of which are contradictory, others reinforcing and amplifying.

Let’s start with mainstream narratives:

– In Israel the Hamas attacks on 7 October have generated an existential crisis about the future of the country and the safety of her citizens. Despite much international condemnation of the retaliatory attacks on Gaza and the number of civilian casualties, polls currently show overwhelming support (90%+) for the destruction of Gaza and her civilian population.

– Palestinians view the Hamas attacks as a continuation of the asymmetric resistance to the Israeli occupation and the violence and restrictions unleashed upon them since the 1940s.

– In the wider Middle East region criticism of Israel and its sponsor the US has developed in some places into military push back – most reportedly in Yemen where the Houthi administration (aka ‘rebels’ in western parlance) have brought the passage of western shipping to a stop in the Red Sea.

– In the West the Hamas attacks are seen as an unjustified terrorist attack largely on civilians (although this is a gross oversimplification: the Kibbutz attacked had garrisoned Israeli soldiers and many of the Israeli casualties were at the hands of a panicking Israeli army). The response from Israel through military action in Gaza is viewed as justified in terms of protecting the security of its citizens, although there is concern (some might say hand wringing) about the scale and impact of this response. There is some bewilderment as to how the much-vaunted Israeli intelligence system failed to appreciate the threat and the slowness of response of the Israeli Defence Force.

– In the Global South (with the impact of being colonised still very much being felt) Israel is viewed as a settler occupying power and as such can have no right of self defence. Its military incursion into Gaza is therefore illegal and in breach of all number of UN resolutions.

– In the Global East (essentially Russia and China) there is concern about the potential for escalation into a regional conflict and perhaps much, much worse.

Consideration of the positions taken by key state actors:

– The (very right wing) government of Netanyahu’s stated aims of the military action are (i) the return of all the hostages taken by Hamas and (ii) the complete destruction of Hamas as a force capable of mounting ‘terrorist’ attacks on Israel in the future. These are incompatible aims as a completely destroyed Hamas will surely take all remaining hostages with it. Moreover, Israel’s ‘Hannibal Doctrine’ that Israeli soldiers and civilians should be killed rather than allowed to be taken hostage militates against much in the way of official concern for the wellbeing of the hostages. Any hostage exchange agreed with Hamas will be asymmetrical, with many hundreds of imprisoned Palestinians being swapped for every Israeli. Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that this is not acceptable and nor is a ceasefire that would allow Hamas to regroup and mount further terrorist attacks.

Destruction of Hamas seems impossible, particularly if this is to be achieved through hand-to-hand urban fighting in the piles of rubble created in Gaza by the Israeli air force.

Whilst world attention is on Gaza the Israeli government seems keen to promote and progress its Zionist plans for the establishment of a ‘Greater Israel’ that includes the West Bank and, as in Gaza, requires the expulsion of all Palestinians. The sense is that this opportunity may not come again – the moment must be seized!

– Hamas may not be an official government – but it is the elected representative of Palestinians in Gaza and therefore can not be easily dismissed as just a ‘terrorist’ organization. Its commitment to a Palestinian State (whether the ‘Two State solution’ cited in its constitution or a single state) is beyond question. It clearly seeks redress to the oppression and disenfranchisement of the Palestinian people since the proclamation of the Israeli state in 1948.

The fact that Hamas was set up and funded initially by Israel and the US in order to undermine the Palestinian Authority in Gaza and split the resistance to Israeli expansion through settlers in the West Bank and containment in Gaza is a complexity that hinders a straightforward analysis of its current role. At the very least there is irony here – but maybe more convoluted drivers. Nevertheless, its attacks on 7 October have brought the issue of Palestinian statehood back front and centre to the international stage from which it had become remarkably absent.

– The position of nearby Arab states is complicated. Whilst their ruling elites (often US clients) seem keen to avoid an escalation of the conflict (and had been about to agree a normalization of relations with Israel through The Abraham Accords), their populations are outraged at the destruction being meted out on Gaza and are pressing for intervention. Such popular sentiments seem largely behind states such as Egypt refusing to allow Palestinians from Gaza to be resettled there – despite the promises of significant Israeli funding support.

– On one level the eruption of the recent conflict can be viewed as a rather unwanted distraction for the US Democratic Party Administration (and in effect leader of the Collective West) given that its current war of choice in Ukraine is turning into an economic and military disaster and its need to focus on its next adventure against China. Indeed one week before the attacks of the 7 October, Jake Sullivan (White House National Security Advisor) opined that the Middle East hadn’t been as quiet and stable for decades………..

Much is made of the influence and power of the ‘Jewish Lobby’ in the US, which provides financial political support to Biden and many other representatives and senators (both Democratic and Republican) – which makes going against Israel a potentially suicidal move – particularly in an election year.

Despite public protestations of concern the US continues to provide shipments of arms to Israel, without which the Israeli Defence Force would not be able to sustain its actions in Gaza, The West Bank or on its northern border against Hezbollah.

The US, and its poodle the UK, has responded to the closure of the Red Sea by mounting air and missile strikes against Houthi launch sites – a project that has absolutely no chance of successfully dissuading more attacks. In Iraq and Syria illegal US bases are coming under attack from militias said to be Iranian supported. American casualties are being reported, but until yesterday no deaths. White House sources suggest that US servicemen deaths would cross a red line that would compel the US to undertake retaliatory attacks against ‘Iranian Assets.’ Biden has now publicly stated that retaliatory action will be taken against the ‘Iranian backed militia’ identified as responsible. Iran denies any involvement.

– The Global East and South are the ones who are trying to put the brakes on the conflict, largely through the offices of the UN. Although unsuccessful to date this has resulted in the increasing isolation of the US and a very visible fraying of its global authority and power. This has served to embolden moves to create alternative global economic arrangements to that of the US hegemonic dollar. The intermediate judgments of the International Court of justice on accusations of Israeli genocide brought by South Africa are a telling blow against the moral authority of Israel and by association, that of the Collective West. Failure to comply with very clear instructions to prevent genocide put Israeli and complicit Western leaders in a potentially very vulnerable position.

So, how can we make sense of all this? It seems to me there are a number of potential ways of seeing things:

1) The Hamas attacks of 7 October caught the Israeli military and intelligence services by surprise. The Israeli response was panicky and disproportionate, led by a prime minister who faces prosecution for charges of corruption if he loses office. Israel, through over reaction and a keenness to reassert its military prowess and control, has backed itself into a corner from which it requires ongoing support from the US and the Collective West to hold the country together and prevail against Hamas.


– Israel allowed the Hamas attacks to proceed in order to create an existential crisis from which the Zionist project of a greater Israel could be progressed at pace. It may well have been taken aback by the scale and success of the attack and was not expecting such firm resistance from neighbouring Arab states to the acceptance of the Gazan population as refuges. Netanyahu and his government know only too well that the support and military engagement of the US is a prerequisite for this to work and is therefore committed to provoking neighbouring countries and others in the region to react and thus trigger this. Given its previous experiences in Southern Lebanon it will be loath to take on Hezbollah without US support and will be keen to ensure that other states in the region are dissuaded from engagement. Of particular concern for Israel will be the likely response of Iran which, putting the disputed development of nuclear weapons aside, has sufficient conventional ballistic missiles to lay waste to all Israeli cities.


A mixture of these two. Caught by surprise and catapulted into a crisis the Netanyahu government has decided to go on the offensive and create an opportunity to further the Zionist programme.

2) The US, in thrall to and frightened of the Jewish Lobby, made knee jerk statements of absolute support for Israel and was determinedly critical of Hamas (an approach adopted by all in The Collective West). It now finds itself backed into a corner where it feels it cannot back down whilst fearful of facilitating a regional middle eastern conflict that it can’t control and may not win.


Far from being wagged by the Israeli tail, the US has always viewed Israeli as its own destructive wrecker in the Middle East, constantly creating tensions and conflict. This, along with the US’s own meddling in the region has sown division amongst Arab states and prevented the establishment of any coherent anti-western, anti-imperialist resistance. It maybe that the timing of this eruption of conflict is not to Washington’s liking, given other geopolitical considerations, but it is consistent with US foreign policy objectives.


It just so happens that a long-standing goal of the neo conservatives in Washington is to engineer a war with Iran in order to demilitarize it, reduce its (anti-western) influence in the region and, crucially to take control of its oil (primarily to deny China continued access to it). So, a bit like the Netanyahu government seeing an opportunity in adversity, the neo cons may well see this as a moment not to be missed – and one for which western public opinion in support of direct military action could be relatively easily shaped through the reporting of all resistance to the US presence in the region as being facilitated by Iran. Failing this there is always the old trick of a false flag action.

So, what’s staying the neo cons hand? It maybe that some in Washington and The Pentagon are able to voice opposition to such a move on the grounds of potential over-reach (Russia has managed not only to demilitarize Ukraine but also significantly degrade NATO arsenals) and with it the very real possibility of the destruction of Israel and a major military defeat – this time of the US military itself – not of some discardable proxy.

Does any of this help point to how the crisis might be resolved? I see two main options:

1) The US continues to fund and equip Israel whilst being ‘drawn’ into direct conflict with an array of countries in the Middle East and Iran in particular. As in Ukraine, the neocons’ over optimism and hubris may well result in a clear military defeat for the US and whoever is foolish enough to follow it (suggest the UK is a prime candidate for this). If nuclear war can be avoided (remember it is Israel which is the known nuclear power in the region), this will hasten the collapse of US global hegemony and the evisceration of collective west economies. BRICS will go from strength to strength.


2) The US ceases financial and military aid for Israel.

Israel will be forced to negotiate a ceasefire and cooperate in the establishment of a Palestinian State. The funding that was on offer to neighbouring Arab states to take refugees from Gaza could be repurposed to compensate those Israeli settlers on the West Bank (currently numbering some 800,000) who would have to be moved. As for Gaza, maybe the Collective West could transform handwringing into reconstruction aid?

I guess I know which is more likely.

— x —

Sources (include):

Alistair Crooke – former UK Diplomat

Colonel Douglas Macgregor – US Army (retd)

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson – US Army (rtd)

Professor Jeffrey Sachs – Columbia University

Professor John Mearsheimer – University of Chicago

Professor Michael Hudson – University of Missouri

Ray McGovern & Larry Johnson – former CIA analysts

Scott Ritter – former UN Weapons Inspector

Steel City Scribblings – my very good friend Phil Roddis

The Duran – Alex Christoforu & Alexander Mercouris

The Guardian




Let Love Shine


  1. Admirably lucid. Thanks

  2. Eleri

    Thanks Bryan – very clear as ever … thanks for being a writer !

  3. Bryan

    Thank you Phil and Eleri – much appreciated!

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