The conflict on Palestine is going through a very internationalized phase. US President Biden visited Israel recently, while Palestine’s neighbors Egypt and Jordan are directly involved due to huge numbers of Palestinian refugees on their territories and their possible increase, as Israel is pushing to force the Palestinians in Gaza to leave their homes. Besides, from the entire Muslim world to the European countries and the Global South, all eyes are on the conflict, as reflects the fact that Brazil recently presented a resolution to the UN Security Council for a humanitarian ceasefire -vetoed by the United States.
Two important actors are the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran. We asked Abbas Djuma, Moscow-based journalist of Syrian origin, about their stance. Djuma commented the following.
Russia is in a balanced position. Such a position is convenient for Russia to be a mediator. This does not mean that Russia is strictly following such a line to be a mediator. It is a policy that observes balance and tries to reconcile the two sides. I think nothing, including the recent attack on the hospital, can change this policy of balance.
Gaza’s infrastructure, settlements, etc. have already been bombed during the last week. Bombing the hospital will not lead to crossing a psychological threshold. Russia thinks that taking sides in this conflict would deepen the crisis.
However, Iran’s situation is different. Iran may indeed be indirectly involved in this conflict. I do not expect Iran to enter the conflict directly. When establishing the Shiite Crescent during the years, preparing its proxies and providing them with financial support, this was not the scenario Iran had in mind.
Now the main issue is about Hezbollah. Hezbollah is holding back for now. We know about Hezbollah’s potential; we have all seen how Hezbollah is in war. In this respect, the opening of a second front would pose a serious threat to Israel. This is exactly why Israel is holding back from the land operation, with the concern of opening a second front from Galilee in the north of the country.
Now, Israel is discussing whether to launch a ground operation. This indicates that the leadership of the country has less confidence than Yakov Kedmi, one hundred percent. It hesitates, doubts, calculates.
On the other hand, there is a rumor that “more than a thousand” fighters of the Iraqi Shiite Hashd al-Shaabi entered Lebanon from the Syrian border.
Three sources confirmed this information to me. A Syrian source spoke about unnatural activity on the highway, a source in southern Lebanon said that Hashd fighters are indeed on the ground and ready, but not in such numbers.
The fact that something may be brewing is evidenced by such indicators as:
– The Bahraini Embassy in Damascus called on all Bahraini citizens in Lebanon to immediately leave the country to ensure their safety.
– The Saudi Arabian Embassy in Lebanon called on its citizens to leave the country.
A third source in Beirut hinted to me that some kind of negotiation process is underway. Most likely, around preventing an Israeli ground operation in Gaza. Until this process is completed, Hezbollah will not be active.
Cover photo: Raheb Homavandi / Reuters