Iran Uses Hamas to Prevent Regional Peace

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By Dr. Reza Parchizadeh

Following the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, Western and Israeli officials accused Iran of being behind the attack on Israel. Some American media outlets published investigative reports that indicated Tehran was directly responsible for it.

According to them, officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah planned the attack for several months in Beirut. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later said that the conflict between Israel and Hamas is “the war of the civilized world with an axis of evil led by Iran and its partners.”

I believe that the Hamas attack was launched at the behest of the Iranian regime in order to obstruct the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, which would open the door to normalization with the wider Arab and Muslim worlds.

The installation of former IRGC Quds Force head Qassem Soleimani’s bust in Isfahan’s Naqsh-e-Jahan Stadium prior to the football match between Sepahan and Al-Ittihad, to which the Saudi squad responded by refusing to play against the Iranian team, could have been Iran’s warning to Saudi Arabia against normalizing relations with Israel.

When Riyadh failed to take the warning seriously, defended Ittihad’s decision to withdraw from the match and under the auspices of the U.S. continued to negotiate with Israel — or in Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s words, to “bet on the wrong horse” — the attack on Israel became inevitable.

As long as it exists, the Islamic Republic will not allow Israel and the Arab states to further normalize relations. The Iranian regime regards normalization as an existential threat to itself and its far-reaching imperialist designs on the region. From Tehran’s perspective, Arab-Israeli normalization will lead to the collapse of its “Axis of Resistance,” the network of armed proxies it has created from Yemen to Lebanon in order to impose its will on the Middle East.

By consistently inciting Hamas to attack Israel and forcing Israel to defend itself, and then declaring strong support for the rights of the “Palestinian people,” the Iranian regime presents itself as the champion of the Palestinians and the “leader of the Islamic world.”

This catches the Arab states in a fait accompli and puts them between a rock and a hard place. When Arab leaders take a strong stand against Israel on the issue, normalization efforts fail. In fact, with its apocalyptic approach to world politics and particularly its loathing of Israel, Tehran has taken the Arabs and the wider Islamic world hostage, refusing to allow them to lead a peaceful life.

The long-term goal of the Islamic Republic is to drag the Middle East into the new not-so-Cold War between the superpowers of the Orient and the Occident in order to tip the balance of regional power in its own favor.

By relying on the capabilities of Russia and China to overpower the Arab states and Israel, Tehran intends to rule the region with complete hegemony as the junior partner in the Moscow-Beijing alliance. America’s withdrawal from the Middle East and its highly costly conflicts with Russia in Ukraine and with China in the Far East have left the field open for Tehran.

In addition, there are signs that the Kremlin is keen on opening a front against the West in the Middle East in order to break Western resolve on Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has accused Russia of wanting to precipitate conflict in the Middle East to undermine international support for Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s public stance towards Israel after the Hamas terrorist attack has been muted and mostly unsympathetic. Russo-Israeli relations had already started to deteriorate after an initially neutral Israel gradually tilted towards Ukraine under American influence.

It should be noted that China, as Iran and Russia’s closest ally, might have endorsed the Hamas attack in order to put a knife in America’s side and gain further global prestige and leverage by posing as a mediator, as it did in the case of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Since the start of the war, both Moscow and Beijing have been trying to insert themselves into the conflict as mediators, apparently to undermine the West and gain more ground in the Middle East and on the world stage.

On the other side of the equation, Israel, which has received the most terrible national security shock in its 75-year history, intends to eradicate Hamas. The West, despite the clear signs that the Islamic Republic was instrumental in the attack on Israel, does not yet want a direct conflict with the Iranian regime and the war’s spread to the rest of the region.

So, it has given Israel the green light to destroy Hamas provided that it refrains from directly confronting Tehran. However, as the Islamists in Iran keep threatening Israel with annihilation and Tehran’s proxies across the region keep attacking American military bases, it is entirely possible that the war will escalate and spill over into the rest of the Middle East.

But the fate of Hamas has been sealed. Although the head of the octopus is in Tehran, Israel has decided to cut off one of its tentacles. Next, Israel may cut off the tentacles in Syria and Lebanon.

Cutting off the head of the octopus, however, is not something Israel can do alone. The U.S. must enter the field and take the lead by securing a global and regional consensus against the combined might of Iran, Russia and China.

Given all this, an American military confrontation with the Iranian regime is a distinct possibility. Tehran’s direct attack on Israel and the ruthless massacre of Israeli and other civilians shocked the world and evoked the horrendous images of the suicide attacks on the Twin Towers, warning the West and especially the U.S. that similar acts of cold-blooded terror and mass violence could once again occur on Western soil.

Hamas’ attack on Israel marked a turning point in the global strategic equation. It will rock the region and change it forever. In the meantime, the Israel-Iran conflict will exponentially increase, which is bound to further escalate tensions and pull in other regional and global actors. Finally, it is not impossible that Khamenei will finally unveil his nuclear arsenal and hasten the Middle East apocalypse he so desires.

Dr. Reza Parchizadeh is a political theorist, historian, and senior analyst.

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