Between Swords of Iran and Al Aqsa Deluge: The Regional Politics of the Hamas-Israel War

Dr. Joshua Krasna and Dr. Brandon Friedman assess, in an article published by Foreign Policy Research Institute, how the Hamas-Israel War is affecting regional politics.

"Until October 7, it seemed there was a positive dynamic in the Middle East. A slew of detentes took place in the region in the past two years: between Turkey and Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and even Egypt; between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey, and Iran; between the United Arab Emirates and these same countries; between most Arab states and Syria. A key, and perhaps the most noteworthy, component of this regional process was normalization—the "Abraham Accords" - between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and (less clearly) Sudan, as well as the growing possibility of formal ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia."

"Hamas’ action was aimed at disrupting the positive dynamic of regional accommodation and integration. It aimed apparently, inter alia, at goading Israel into a military response which would stir up the Arab and Muslim publics, create internal challenges to the regimes with relations with Israel, and roll back the normalization process."

"Almost any post-Hamas political order will be widely seen in the region as imposed on Israeli bayonets. To the extent that Israel does conceive of such a role for conservative Arab states, one sure way to preclude it is to discuss it openly and to telegraph Jerusalem’s preferences. It can only be hoped and assumed that discreet contacts, probably in the security channel, continue (though the incumbent government in Israel has shown little aptitude or appetite for discretion in diplomacy). This is both to receive the vital input and signals the partner states can give, to allow and encourage them to take a role in the postwar reconstitution of the Palestinian polity and economy (which needs to be a key consideration in determining the end-state Israel wishes to achieve as a war goal), and to retain a firm base from which relations could be reconstituted in the days after."