Full Spectrum Jordan: The Geopolitics of Saturday’s Attack

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Amidst the flurry of news surrounding potential deals and negotiations involving Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the United States, one critical player appears to have been overlooked: Hamas. The recent large-scale attack by Hamas should not have caught us by surprise, and I see it as a failure on my part for not anticipating such a move. Several factors converge to explain why this attack was not only foreseeable but almost inevitable.اضافة اعلان

First, Saudi Arabia's involvement in negotiations was not just on its behalf but represented the Islamic world as a whole. If Saudi Arabia, as host of Mecca and Madina, had signed an agreement with Israel, it would have implied that the Islamic world, in effect, had aligned itself with Israel. This shift would have transformed the status of Jerusalem from being a Palestinian cause to an Islamic one, subject to negotiation with external parties. In response, Hamas had limited options for re-shifting the focus back to the Palestinian struggle, and this large-scale attack was a means to that end.

In recent weeks, Israel has raised concerns about increased weapons smuggling from Iran, even mentioning Jordan as a potential route for weapons being smuggled to Palestinian resistance groups. This indicated that an escalation was brewing, and while it might have been predicted, the sheer magnitude of the operation likely caught many off guard.

The negotiations led by MBS had the potential to legitimize the Palestinian Authority as the de facto representative of the Palestinians. If the deal had gone through, Hamas could have been marginalized. Recent statements from the Biden White House seemed to lend support to this potential shift. This would have positioned the PA in the West Bank as a model for Palestinians to follow, rather than the failed leadership and living conditions they currently endure.

Second, the geopolitical implications for Iran were significant. A Saudi-Israeli agreement would have made Iran a legitimate target. It's plausible that Iran had a role in or would have benefited from Hamas's actions.

In this context, Hamas emerges as a strategic winner. In this action they have thwarted the PA's potential ascent, but it also undermined Iran's position and opened up opportunities for Egypt. Egypt, despite recent negative publicity and allegations of corruption with a US Senator, now returns to its role as a guarantor of stability, security, and peace between Gaza and Israel. Consequently, any international players involved with mediation with Gaza would need to engage with Egypt above all others.

In the short term, President Sisi may face unpopular and difficult decisions ahead of an election. However, in the long run, this development solidifies Egypt's position and reduces the scrutiny surrounding foreign aid.  Likewise, President Biden soon faces an election hounded by the fall of Afghanistan, the ignored war in Karabakh, and the Ukrainian counteroffensive. A Saudi-Israel deal would have been a real foreign policy win. 

In short, - and I know this is still all unfolding - any peace deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel is unlikely. Iran and Hamas will continue to operate without the burden of a perceived successful PA leadership. The strategic winners are Hamas, Egypt, and Iran. The strategic losers are the Biden administration, and the Netanyahu government (even if Israel later wins tactically).

This is a complex interplay of regional and international dynamics in what is a big shift in this geopolitical landscape. In the days to come, the fall out will be clearer.

Katrina Sammour was first published on Full Spectrum Jordan, a weekly newsletter on SubStack. 

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