JERUSALEM, Israel – The Middle East is currently experiencing a significant geopolitical shift, with several potential outcomes that could have far-reaching consequences. Amid these developments, there are growing concerns about a possible all-out war with Iran, which experts believe would extend beyond Israel and the immediate region.
“The prospect of a possible multi-front war is bigger than it was in the last two or three decades, but a decision to go to war from the Iranian side or Hezbollah, it's not that simple,” said reserve Brigadier General Amir Avivi, the founder of the Israel Defense and Security Forum.
Avivi maintains that Israel still possesses deterrence capabilities, but acknowledges that a conflict could arise if Israel deems it necessary to address Iran's nuclear military capabilities.
“In a scenario where Israel needs to operate alone, there will probably be a regional war. And this regional war will affect the whole globe. It'll bring recession. All prices will go crazy. Everyone in the globe will feel that,” Avivi said.
Avivi presents an alternative approach that involves the United States forming a Middle East coalition against Iran. He believes that American leadership, coupled with a formidable military threat against Iran, could help curb Iranian aggression and prevent a full-scale war.
However, Avivi suggests that America currently lacks the necessary determination and leadership to make this happen.
“On one hand, America is looking at China and Russia and seeing them as the big challenge. But, I think that there needs to be an understanding that if America wants to build deterrence back and this is needed cause without that, we'll see eventually China, attacking Taiwan, we'll see the Russians being more aggressive in Europe. We need to build this deterrence,” he said.
He argues that building deterrence, particularly by challenging Iran, would enable the United States to restore global stability and foster peace with nations such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Oman, thereby reaping substantial benefits.
Reserve Lieutenant Colonel Sarit Zehavi, founder of the Alma Research and Education Center, highlights Iran's reliance on its proxies as a source of strength.
“Iran is providing the ideology. It is providing the money, providing the training, and providing the ammunition to Hezbollah and other proxies in the region. Why they're doing that? Part of the Islamic Revolution values are to annihilate the State of Israel,” Zehavi said.
Zehavi notes that Iran's terror network is not yet ready to take action.
“In the past few months, we have seen the propaganda of Iran focusing on what they call the multi-front against Israel, creating proxy militias like Hezbollah in Lebanon. Also, they are in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen, in Gaza, inside Israel, and to create attacks against Israel from all these places,” she said.
Zehavi also observes that these proxy groups may not always be fully united, as was evident during the recent conflict in Gaza when Hamas declined to join Islamic Jihad in its attacks against Israel.
However, she identifies a distinct difference with Hezbollah in the north, which presents two possible scenarios.
“One option – this we already see – is that they're willing to raise the tension on the Israeli Lebanese border and to carry out more attacks. You know it already happened,” Zehavi pointed out.
“The second option is that they are trying to drag Israel into war. And that way, draw the attention and even draw the efforts, if you like, from any thought of doing something against the Iranian nuclear program,” she added.
Avivi believes that Hezbollah needs to understand the strength of Israel and the consequences it would face if challenged.
“Sitting here overlooking Lebanon, there needs to be a clear message to (Hezbollah leader Hassan) Nasrallah and to Hezbollah. Israel is by far, far stronger, and if we're challenged at the end of the day, we'll go in, we'll go fast and we'll destroy Hezbollah,” Avivi said.
Avivi also urges countries in the Middle East to consider the devastation Lebanon has experienced as a result of Iran's influence. He highlights the pattern seen in regions controlled by Iran, where destruction, poverty, and misery prevail.
Avivi calls on Middle Eastern nations to recognize this and take appropriate measures to address the Iranian threat.
The situation in the Middle East remains tense, with the specter of war with Iran looming. The decisions made by key players in the region, including Israel, the United States, and Iran, will undoubtedly have significant ramifications, not only for the immediate area but also for the global stage.