America, Iran, and the Patron’s Dilemma
America, Iran, and the Patron’s Dilemma
Op-Ed / Middle East & North Africa 1 minute

America, Iran, and the Patron’s Dilemma

The Backers of Israel and Hamas Didn’t Start the War in Gaza—but They Can End It

As has been widely noted, Israeli security officials were caught completely off guard by Hamas’s shocking October 7 attack, a lapse that allowed the rampage to go on for hours before Israeli forces could regain control. But the Israelis were not the only ones unprepared. So, too, were Hamas’s own allies, including its chief patron, Iran. As Iran and other members of its so-called axis of resistance made clear, Hamas had failed to seek approval for—or give them prior notice of—its plans.

But Iranian officials decided they could ill afford to let Hamas struggle for itself, particularly once Israel’s devastating military campaign in the Gaza Strip began to spark outrage across the Middle East. Still, they were wary of provoking a wider war. As a result, Iran, through its axis clients—including Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and Shiite militias in Iraq and Syria—has tried to walk a fine line between responding to the demand for action and preventing axis responses to the Israeli offensive from spinning out of control. In essence, by acting without coordination with its ostensible overlord, Hamas precipitated a dangerous crisis that has threatened to engulf Tehran, as well.

Read the full article on the Foreign Affairs Website.

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