Greater Middle East (bbabo.net), - When and how will the conflict between the Gaza Strip and Israel end, how does the United States see the new architecture of the Middle East? Dr. Imad Rizk, director of the Institute of Strategic and Communication Studies of Lebanon (Beirut), answered this and other questions to Pravda.Ru special correspondent Daria Aslamova.
— What does your research center do and how do you assess the conflict between Hamas and Israel?
— The Center for Strategic Studies, which I head, specializes in strategy, communications and analysis of events in the Middle East - activities related to politics, economics and crisis. In addition, I write weekly articles for Lebanese newspapers. We are now focused on what is happening on our border and in the region amid the crisis in the Gaza Strip. Previously, we focused on Syria and Iran, and the Palestinian negotiations. One of the areas of our work was devoted to negotiations on the nuclear program between the 5+1 Group and Iran. Our center's mission is to establish peace in the Middle East through negotiations.
Regarding the conflict between Hamas and Israel, firstly, we did not expect such a reaction from Benjamin Netanyahu after the events of October 7. Perhaps the Israeli Prime Minister decided to show excessive aggression to save the image of the Israeli army. Netanyahu’s reaction is also related to his internal political problems with Yair Lapid and his desire to regain power in Israel. Netanyahu began to think of himself as the savior of the Jewish people. Analysts from Israel and the United States say Tel Aviv was ready to attack Gaza and Lebanon even before October 7. This was an operation of the Palestinian resistance, especially Hamas. Sanctions have made life in Gaza unbearable. I think the Palestinian reaction is natural because for many decades the Israelis have killed and put psychological, military and economic pressure on the Palestinians.
“Some believe that Israel knew that Hamas would take action. Israel waited for this to happen so it could use it as a pretext to attack the Gaza Strip. This is true?
— Various sources reported that Hamas is preparing an operation. Netanyahu did not believe that they could do something so serious. Israel's relations with Saudi Arabia and other states could become more complicated. Up to 500,000 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip used to work on Israeli farms, but this cooperation has now collapsed. Israel may have big problems economically.
More than 65% of Gaza residents are young people. After October 7, Netanyahu committed real genocide for them. In the future, relations between Palestinians and Israelis will become even more complex. The radical will become even more radical, and the liberal will want to leave this place because it is impossible to do business here. In Israel, demographic and economic problems will worsen year after year.
Nanotechnology companies will leave the region because they will not feel safe. The struggle for oil and gas resources in the Mediterranean will continue, and relations between neighbors will deteriorate. The crisis in the West Bank continues unabated, and the number of Jewish settlements there is growing. There will be an increase in violence and instability in the Middle East.
The conflict between the Gaza Strip and Israel will not end. At one level it will be a crisis between Palestine and Israel, and at another level it will be a crisis between Muslims and Israel. Firstly, Hezbollah and Lebanon live under Shiite laws. Secondly, Daesh* and Nusra will fight for Muslims. That is, Netanyahu is creating many problems for future generations of Israel.
— Does Hamas have a chance to win? Israel is a nuclear power with a large professional army, but Hamas does not have all this, nor does it have good artillery weapons.
— The chances of both sides are not equal from a military point of view. NATO, the USA, the EU support Israel and bring it weapons. But who supports Hamas? Only Palestinians. However, after four months of war, Israel is far from victory. His troops do not control Gaza. They are fighting for every centimeter of land, although Gaza is only 400 square kilometers, it is the size of a city.
I wrote an article for the newspaper where I compared Bakhmut and Gaza. What they have in common is that battles take place in dungeons. Bakhmut was very well prepared, but they used Ukrainians there, forcing them to fight, while in Gaza people fight for themselves. When you believe in yourself and your land, you fight to the end. Those who fought in Bakhmut were visitors from other places, so they lost. But those fighting in Gaza are fighting for their land and home. In addition, Netanyahu is from Yakud, and the founders of Yakud were from Bakhmut and Odessa. This is the connection between the events in Bakhmut and Gaza.
— Will the regional conflict between Hamas and Israel develop into a much larger war between Israel and Lebanon?
“If Lebanon enters a real war, it means a large-scale operation is ahead. These are not just Hezbollah attacks on border targets or Israeli air attacks on civilian targets in Lebanon.
Israel can use high technology in war, but Hezbollah also received a lot of new technology for the first time since 2006, mostly Russian equipment. For example, the Alburkan is similar to the Katyusha - it was prepared and modified by Hezbollah. Hezbollah gets its missiles thanks to the war in Syria and the black market. They have been using them against Israeli Merkava tanks for four months now. This is reminiscent of 2006 (the time of the war between Israel and Lebanon), when Russian equipment defeated NATO equipment in battles.
In today's battles we see Russian technology against American-Israeli technology. This looks like a continuous war, because in Syria the Americans also fought with Russia. And then Russia used its experience in Syria to fight NATO in Ukraine. This is all one battlefield - Syria, Ukraine and South Lebanon.
Soviet, Russian, American and NATO equipment is used on this battlefield. They use artificial intelligence, space and aviation technologies. Netanyahu and the Americans want to test their technology in battle. They want to kill all Palestinians, destroy Gaza, and test their equipment on the battlefield in Gaza and on the Lebanese border.
— Now there is a battle between the collective West represented by the USA, the European Union and Great Britain, on the one hand. On the other side is Russia. The conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, and now in Lebanon and Gaza, are the same battle between the collective West and Russia.
- This is a continuous war. The Americans want to benefit from this war, including by selling and using weapons. They also involve Iran in the affairs of the Middle East. In 1991-1994, the United States was involved in the peace process between Palestine and Israel, but no one wanted to take into account the demands of Palestine. After 2000, the United States began to intervene in the affairs of Iraq and Afghanistan. From that moment on, Palestine began to receive new military equipment, and the Americans began to promote a deal with Iran to resolve the situation in the “new Middle East.” After 2006, the States want to create a new architecture for the Middle East. Now the Iranians are bringing Americans and British into the Red Sea. If someone attacks Western ships, the Americans will blame Iran. He allegedly supports the Houthis and Hezbollah.
We have two ways of communicating: the battlefield and the negotiating table. Iran is winning this fight because neither the US nor Israel can defeat Hamas, the youngest organization. Now there is a naval battle between the Americans, British and Houthis. The Americans are leaving, but the Houthis are ready to continue. The US and Israel do not want to fight Iran, China or Russia. They just want to impose their will on everyone through negotiations. Israel will be different: it will no longer be the “dream home” for Jews. The region will conduct a military operation against him, and if he loses, it will be forever.
This is why Americans have to fight Hezbollah and Iran. Lebanese resistance fighters are not fighting for Lebanon. They are fighting to change the balance between West and East, between Russia, China and NATO-USA.
That's why we expect a regional war. Israel will continue to attack civilians and Lebanon to blame Hezbollah for starting the war. I believe that in a few weeks the operation will become larger, Israel will increase the number of attacks, and Lebanon, along with Hezbollah, will continue to create problems for Israel. As a result, Israel, as a nuclear power, will declare itself the most powerful state in the region. After that, they will lose to Hamas, and if they lose to Hamas, then it will be quite natural for them to lose to Hezbollah, a more powerful, equipped and trained group.
“Everyone expected Hezbollah to open a second front against Hamas, but this did not officially happen. How do you explain this?
— From the very beginning, Hezbollah declared its support for Palestine - moral, but not military. This statement was intended to put military, economic and political pressure on Israel. Hezbollah did not start this war. Yes, our land is occupied, but this was discussed. Hezbollah supports the Palestinian resistance in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Mr. Hassan Nasrallah said: as soon as Israel stops its operation in the Gaza Strip, we will stop and unite with the Palestinians against the Israeli project. Israel plans to resettle Palestinians outside of Gaza - to Egypt or another African country. There are rumors that they want to send 300 thousand people to Lebanon. Through Egyptian mediation, Tel Aviv offered this to Chad, Libya and other countries.
Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. More than 100 thousand people died and more than 600 thousand were injured. People have huge social problems, including those related to medicine; there is no food, drinking water or electricity. It's impossible to live there.
*Terrorist organization, banned on the territory of the Russian Federation