It is apparent to many that the Middle East conflict, triggered by Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza, risks spilling over into a wider regional conflict. Now four months in, the war has already drawn in multiple nations, with rival armed groups targeting one another’s territories. Fears are now mounting of further regional escalation, especially after Iran targeted Syria and Iraq over apparent retaliation of members of its elite forces being killed in Damascus, allegedly due to Israeli aggression. Thousands of people were displaced in Lebanon after exchanges of fire between Israeli forces and Hezbollah. The U.S. and U.K. have also conducted several attacks against Houthis in Yemen after the Iran-backed group targeted commercial and military ships linked to Israel in the Red Sea.
Traditionally preferring to remain on the sidelines of any Middle East conflict, Pakistan, too is being forced to take note. Iran’s violation of Pakistan’s territorial integrity earlier this month had raised concerns over Islamabad being roped into the conflict, but the border tensions have since subsided with the neighboring nations expressing intent to restore “normalcy” in their ties.
The splinter conflicts, however, are no match for Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza, which has killed over 26,000 people already, mostly women and children, and displaced more than 80,000 others, while practically eradicating all signs of civilian infrastructure in the region. The conflict has offered a rare moment of unity for the Muslim world, as the tacit backing of the U.S. and most of Europe has raised fears of a new assault on Islam by Western states. At the same time, the long simmering internal war between Muslim states is ongoing, especially between Iraq and Iran, which severed diplomatic ties after Tehran’s airstrike from earlier this month. Unfortunately, the conflict still has no end in sight, and the longer it persists, the greater the risk it could damage not only the regional, but the global economy as well.