The Simchat Torah War

The Simchat Torah War

Hamas’ attack on Israel is a watershed moment not only for the Middle East but also for the rest of the world.

Perhaps the worst off are Gaza’s civilians, who’ve endured years of blockade and conflict, along with their own share of suffering under Hamas’ rule, and are now once again caught in the crossfire. Much like the broader Middle East’s, their future hangs in the balance, dependent on the choices and actions of regional and global powers in the coming weeks.

Coming Apart at the Seams 

It’s hard to guess what will happen to Kfar Aza, the kibbutz I visited two months ago. According to the latest reports, a baby was found alive but alone amid the community's charred remains.

Likewise, it is difficult to ascertain what will come next for the Middle East. With Israel’s announced intention to take Gaza and obliterate Hamas, the Arab world finds itself at a crossroads. Will they condemn Israel’s actions and risk derailing the recent diplomatic warmth? Or will they, even tacitly, support Israel’s move, viewing the eradication of Hamas as a pathway to a more stable Middle East? Either choice carries with it massive geopolitical implications. But now, it feels as if the Israeli/Palestinian situation is about to be resolved, one way or the other. 

This, perhaps, is what is truly terrifying Western policymakers: the sense that the Western-led, rules-based world order, such as it is, is coming apart. The previous constraints imposed on states are no longer as constraining. The war in Ukraine, the retaking by force of what remained of the Karabakh Armenian breakaway entity by Azerbaijan, heightening tensions over Taiwan, growing instability in the Balkans, military coups in Africa, and myriad other events are all grim portents of this trend. Which domino will fall next?

The Simchat Torah War, as this conflict will soon likely be called, is thus not just another skirmish. It’s a turning point, one with vast implications that heralds a coming age of disorder. The world watches with bated breath. 

Carlos Roa is a contributing editor and former executive editor for The National Interest.

Image: Shutterstock.