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Israel – Hamas war UPSC NOTE

 Escalating tensions in West Asia following the outbreak of the Hamas-Israel war and the U.S. response to it

  • The drone attack by Iran-backed Shia militias on a U.S. military logistics hub in Jordan.

  • Along the border with Syria, in which three American service persons were killed and dozens more injured.

  • It is the deadliest assault on U.S. forces in West Asia since the Hamas-Israel war broke out on October 7.

  • When Israel launched an all-out attack on Gaza, after Hamas’s cross-border raid killing at least 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians.

  • The Joe Biden administration adopted a two-fold approach —to let Israel continue its war with America’s military assistance and diplomatic protection while simultaneously working to prevent the crisis from escalating into a regional conflict. 

  • Three and a half months later, Israel’s war is far from over, while the crisis has already spread across the region.

  • Even when casualties rose in Gaza and international pressure mounted on Israel to halt the attacks.

  • The Biden administration continued to back Israel’s war

  • It vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution that called for a humanitarian ceasefire and voted against back-to-back resolutions in the UN General Assembly that were critical of Israel’s war and occupation.

  • Israel’s war has killed over 26,000 Palestinians (mostly women and children), wounded more than 60,000 and displaced roughly 90% of Gaza’s 2.3 million population

  • The International Court of Justice, the UN’s top court, last week ordered Israel to take measures to prevent genocidal acts by its forces in Gaza. 

  • On the other side, to prevent the crisis from escalating, Mr. Biden sent his top diplomat Antony Blinken several times to the region

  • However, the problem the U.S. faced was that it lacked a similar diplomatic leverage with Iran.

  • And the main security challenge came from Iran-backed militias in West Asia.

  • The U.S. faced two kinds of attacks. 

  • One, the Islamic Resistance Forces, the Shia militias based in Iraq and Syria, carried out at least 150 attacks against U.S. forces and bases in the region since October 7. 

  • The U.S. strikes on Shia militias in Iraq and Syria were also not immediately effective as the drone attack in Jordan showed. 

  • America’s airstrikes are spreading the fire instead of boosting its own deterrence

  • The U.S. has some 2,000 soldiers in Iraq, 3,000 in Jordan and up to 1,000 in Syria.

  • Who are close targets for the vast network of Shia militias, which Iran has built across the region, from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon and Yemen.

  • Three and a half months since the Israel-Hamas war began, Israel is far from meeting its declared objectives.

  • Dismantling Hamas and freeing hostages. 

  • U.S. intelligence estimates that only 20-30% of Hamas fighters were killed in three months, while 80% of Hamas’s vast tunnel networks in Gaza remain intact, according to American media.

  • As long as the war continues, the chances of further regional escalation are high, with the U.S. being drawn deeper into the West Asian vortex at a time when it wants to pivot away from the region to focus on its more conventional challenges in the Indo-Pacific and Eastern Europe.

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