Why Hamas might be in trouble this time
What is missing from the latest Israel-Hamas flare-up? Arab protest. We aren’t hearing much from the surrounding Arab countries. Previous fighting usually resulted in multiple Arab governments pressing hard for a cease-fire, and declaring condemnation of Israel. Not much of that is happening this time. Despite Hamas running up their own civilian casualties and displaying their usual dead children videos, Arab governments aren’t pushing for a stop to the fighting. Why? Well for one, Hamas was allied with the Muslim brotherhood that is now persona non grata in Egypt. The new Egyptian military government is perfectly willing to sit by and let Israel bloody the ally of its enemy. Hamas chose unwisely in Egypt power politics. Hamas was also an Iranian counterweight to Israeli action. As Iran moves closer to having a nuclear weapon, Arab governments such as Saudi Arabia become more concerned. A neutralized Hamas would make it much easier for Israel to take action against Iranian nuclear targets. Even if they don’t take action, the increased threat of action will help US and allied countries in their nuclear negotiations with Iran. Add to that the fact that Hezbollah is currently engaged heavily in Syria and Iraq, which further curtails Iran’s ability to strike Israel, in turn ratchets up pressure on Iran in the nuclear talks. So, degradation of Hamas generally works in the favor of most Arab countries. The plethora of other conflicts underway around the globe also works against Hamas. Videos of paraded dead Palestinian children have to compete with ISIS beheadings, downed jetliners in Ukraine, and a host of other global strategies. All of this means that Israel will likely have more time to sustain an attack on Hamas before international pressure mounts to stop it. Like the much younger sibling who smacks his older brother because he knows mom will intervene before he can get beat-up too badly, Hamas has antagonized Israel in the past with the rationalization that the international community and public opinion would step in (like mom)to save it before things got too bad. It may not work out that way this time, and Hamas may end up far more bloodied than they anticipated. It might even turn the population against them if they compare their status with that of the Palestinians in the West Bank.