Regional turmoil: On the West Asia situation

Source: The Hindu

Subject: International Relation

Topic:  India and its neighborhood

Issue: Regional tension in West Asia

Why in news: West Asia needs a new security equilibrium with the Palestine issue at the center

Synopsis:

Extension of the war on Gaza

  • The conflict has expanded to involve Israel, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iranian commanders, and militias in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
  • Israel has conducted targeted strikes in Lebanon and Syria, resulting in exchanges of fire between Hezbollah and Israeli troops in southern Lebanon.
  • Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq have targeted U.S. forces. The Houthis in Yemen have turned the Red Sea into a battlefield.
  • The S. has conducted airstrikes in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, aiming to retaliate against Shia militias.
  • In response to chaos and instability, Sunni Islamist militants attacked Iran, resulting in the death of at least 100 people.
  • Iran claims to have destroyed an Israeli intelligence outpost in Iraq’s Kurdistan and targeted training camps of Sunni Islamists in Syria and Pakistan through airstrikes.

Impact on international law:

  • The situation is characterized by regional anarchy, with countries resorting to unilateral military actions to address perceived security challenges.
  • Countries involved are disregarding international laws, undermining established norms that uphold the idea of sovereignty a bedrock of the international system.
  • Nations are taking independent and unilateral military measures without broader consensus or adherence to international agreements, contributing to the breakdown of established diplomatic channels.
  • The disregard for international norms and the pursuit of unilateral military strategies create challenges for regional stability, potentially leading to a prolonged and intensified conflict.

Recent attempt of stability before October 7 crisis:

  • Just before the October 7 attack, the Middle East was relatively quieter, with positive developments like the
  • Abraham Accords,
  • Closer Saudi-Israel ties,
  • Decreased tensions in Iraq,
  • Improved relations between Gulf Arabs and Iran,
  • In addition, a holding ceasefire in Yemen.

Key issues involved in recent crisis:

  • The longstanding crisis of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories was largely overlooked.
  • The October 7 Hamas attack and Israel’s subsequent offensive in Gaza have brought the Palestinian issue back to the forefront, possibly triggering the most significant security crisis in the region since 1967.
  • The participation of non-state actors and the absence of a clear off-ramp make the situation more complex.

Conclusion;

  • Despite a 100-day conflict with Hamas, Israel has achieved little in Gaza.
  • The Houthis, having survived seven years of Saudi bombing, appear undeterred by U.S. strikes.
  • Iran, while wanting to showcase strength, faces inherent weaknesses, adding an element of unpredictability to the situation.
  • The traditional regional order, anchored by the U.S.’s dominant presence, is now in tatters.
  • West Asia needs a new security equilibrium, emphasizing the necessity of an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
  • Achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians could serve as a foundation for broader regional security talks involving key stakeholders like Israel, Arab nations, Iran, the U.S., and their respective allies and proxies.

 

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