The Three-Linked Conflict: The Middle East’s Struggle – opinion

The Middle East is currently embroiled in three interconnected conflicts. The first conflict is between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, the second is a lower-intensity battle between Israel and Hezbollah in the north, and the third is the Houthis’ maritime campaign to support Hamas by targeting international shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

Despite media coverage focusing on the Gaza war as the main conflict, all three fronts are part of a larger regional dynamic. Each front is at a critical turning point, with major implications for the region’s future. The conflict with Hezbollah in the north is characterized by daily exchanges of fire and deaths on both sides. Israel has a tactical advantage but faces strategic challenges, with thousands of Israelis displaced from the border area.

In Gaza, Israel’s goal is to destroy the Hamas-led authority, and while they have made tactical progress, they face conflicting timetables in terms of military operations, diplomatic pressure, and efforts to secure the release of hostages taken on October 7. International pressure for Israel to wind up its operations is growing, which could result in Hamas emerging victorious.

The third conflict front involves the Houthis’ attacks on international shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, with significant global consequences due to the strategic importance of these shipping routes. These attacks have led to the suspension of passage for major shipping companies, and oil prices have risen as a result. The US has announced the formation of a naval coalition to defend shipping from Houthi attacks, but the future of these operations remains uncertain.

All three conflicts are linked to the support of political Islam movements by Iran in its push for regional domination. The outcome of these conflicts will depend on the actions taken by the anti-Iranian and anti-Islamist side, with significant implications for the future of the Middle East.