Violence in the Middle East is back.
The timing of the brutal attacks by Hamas is motivated by an attempt to exploit Israel’s bitter internal divisions, but at a deeper level the attack is driven by Hamas’s overlord Iran, a theocratic Shi’ite Muslim state locked in a battle for the power. and influence throughout the Middle East.
Yesterday’s attack was clearly months, even years, in the planning.
The money to carry this out and the technology for the missiles almost certainly came from Iran, which has proxy forces throughout the region.
The chilling fact is that Tehran’s tentacles are spreading relentlessly as the regime supports other terrorist groups in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq.
The Iranian mullahs, reviled by many outside Iran but also by many Iranians fed up with despotism, want to destabilize relations between the Islamic Sunni world and Israel. Recently, those relationships have improved.
Iranians attend a rally in Tehran on Saturday in support of Palestine after Hamas militants launched a deadly air, land and sea attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip
Iranian supporters of Hezbollah wave Palestinian flags during a celebration of the militant Hamas group’s attacks on Israel
People walk on the rubble of a tower destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Saturday
Bob Seely is the Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight
It is in all our interests that the Arab world and Israel resolve their differences, however difficult that may be, not only because that would bring peace, which is in itself a good thing, but also because we are reaching out to states around the world must reach out to encourage and support democracy.
Iran is an ally of Russia and Russia is an ally of China. All three are deeply hostile to the West and want to undermine the international order: Iran by destroying peace between Israel and the Sunni world, Russia by destroying Ukraine and challenging the West through hybrid wars, and China by threaten Western interests in the Pacific, especially by destabilizing Taiwan.
Without a doubt, Iran’s military development is aided by Moscow, which in turn needs Iranian drone technology and uses hundreds of its Shahed drones to attack military and civilian targets in Ukraine.
Just as Russia is doing in Ukraine, Iran-backed Hamas is using medium-range missiles to make life hell for civilians in Israel. This technology is becoming cheaper and more readily available. Every few years, Hamas becomes more sophisticated in its targeting, while the payloads that rockets can carry grow larger.
The most worrying danger is that these capabilities will become a threat – not just to life but to Israel itself – especially if Iran develops its own nuclear bomb, which some believe is only a matter of time.
Against this dangerous backdrop, Iran and its Hamas representative, in addition to their military capacity, have been emboldened by the perception of Western weakness.
This is epitomized by the White House under President Joe Biden, a man whose policy acumen and mental acuity do not inspire confidence.
The sense of decline that the 80-year-old conveys is reflected in a series of events: America’s disorderly withdrawal from Afghanistan; the unilateral agreement for the release of American hostages held by Iran in exchange for colossal payments, and the friction in American relations with Saudi Arabia.
Iran sees all this as evidence of Western vulnerability and is eager to test us.
We must not be found at fault.
Any withdrawal in the face of violence and intimidation would be fatal to our interests and bad for our alliances. This is what we have to do. First and foremost, support Israel and ensure that Iran does not succeed in undermining the normalization of relations between Israel and other Middle Eastern countries.
Thousands of Iranian people organize a demonstration and carry the Palestinian flag in support of Hamas and the Palestinian resistance in Tehran, Iran on October 7
Israeli reserve soldiers line up to register for duty in a northern Israeli city on October 7, after Palestinian militant group Hamas launched a large-scale surprise attack on Israel
People standing on a rooftop watch as a ball of fire and smoke rises above a building in Gaza City on Saturday
Second, there needs to be more – and public – discussion about what happens if and when Iran acquires nuclear weapons.
Given the malign irresponsibility of the Iranian mullahs, such a moment in history would greatly destabilize the Middle East and elsewhere.
Saudis would either demand nuclear guarantees or get their own bomb from Pakistan.
Should Europe support the US or should the Iranian mullahs blackmail the world?
Thirdly, we in Britain need to think urgently about missile defense. What we have seen in Ukraine, and now in Israel, is the growing importance of missile defense and the increasing threat of massive missile attacks, especially given the new role of drones in warfare.
Finally, we need a much more robust response to the Iranian threat of violence in Britain, both against the Jewish people and against Iranian dissident groups threatened by intimidation or assassination by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Our government should immediately ban the IRGC.
Britain is far from the Middle East, but Cyprus, which has British military bases, is not. Neither are our allies on the other side of the Gulf.
The technology Hamas uses comes from Iran – and Iran has many more countries in its sights, such as Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Make no mistake: what is happening in Israel and Ukraine is a dire warning to us.
BOB SEELY is the Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight.