Analysis & Opinions - The National Interest

Iran and Gaza Escalation

| Nov. 16, 2023

To mitigate the risks of a wider war, all parties involved should commit to continuous dialogue to increase the prospects of de-escalation.

The ongoing fighting in Gaza presents a significant risk for expansion into a broader war. Although Iran may or may not have orchestrated the initial Hamas terrorist attack and isn't directly involved in the fighting, Tehran has a significant role in this conflict and a deep influence over its escalation potential.

On October 7, Israel faced one of its most significant security setbacks ever, intensifying the trust deficit between the government and its divided public. Later, other "axis of resistance" elements joined the fighting while demonstrating their expanding challenge to the region. The unprecedented launch of dozens of drones, missiles, and cruise missiles from Yemen to Israel by the Houthi rebels marks a concerning development. Although these attacks were intercepted by the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia or failed to reach their targets, they broadened the rebels' usual range of action.

Furthermore, the ongoing border skirmishes between Israel and Hezbollah, the first since 2006, have required Israel to divide its attention across multiple fronts. Militias in Iraq have targeted American forces in the region, and like previous rounds of fighting in Gaza, there is a possibility they will launch explosive drones toward Israel.

Even Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might have contributed to the fighting by allowing a drone attack from his territory toward Eilat on November 9.

These developments underscore Iran's regional strategy, which aims to create a multi-front challenge that encircles Israel, all while maintaining an operational buffer to reduce the risk of spillover into Iranian territory. These developments also reflect Iran's progress in establishing and sustaining a complex regional network that works toward common objectives based on shared interests.....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Zoran, Assaf.“Iran and Gaza Escalation.” The National Interest, November 16, 2023.