Expert Q & A: What led to the Hamas attack on Israel and what role will the United States play?

Expert Q & A: What led to the Hamas attack on Israel and what role will the United States play?

October 10, 20232 min read

The conflict between Israel and Palestine dates back many years, but the recent escalation can be attributed to issues centering around Palestinian rights and access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, according to Craig Albert, PhD, program director of the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies at Pamplin College of Arts Humanities, and Social Sciences at Augusta University.

Albert, who is a leading expert on relations in the Middle East and American interests in the region, also notes that Hamas has been fighting against what it believes is unwarranted and illegal Israeli settlements being extended into Palestinian territory, while Israel has had a serious blockade on the Gaza Strip for over a decade. Hamas views this as state-oppression and thus, when combined, led to this horrific attack.

Q: Now that Israel is declaring war, what should we expect to see in the upcoming days/weeks?

A: We should expect more attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as Hezbollah from Lebanon. This means that there is a serious possibility of a two front war for Israel as it strikes towards the Gaza Strip near the sea, and more north into Lebanon.

Concerning the State of Israel, look for a massive air bombardment over the next few days until the conditions on the ground are satisfactory, according to Israeli intelligence, to send in massive ground forces.

One can expect a full infantry onslaught with all that entails within the Gaza Strip and perhaps other areas as well. We could also seem so strikes against Iran, especially cyber in nature, but perhaps, much more kinetic than we can imagine given the emotions being felt by the Israeli security council.

Unfortunately, we can expect massive civilian casualties on both sides as this continues especially when Israel invades with its heavy ground forces.

Q: What role does the U.S. play in all of this?

AThe United States is already sending in a carrier fleet to show support for Israel; but one can imagine a scenario where Israel and Iran get into a serious confrontation, resulting in direct action by the U.S. on the side of Israel.

The U.S. is also already supplying munitions and intelligence to the Israelis, and we should expect to see more in this area over the coming weeks and months. Note that the U.S. might have to take drastic actions itself as its war materials are being dramatically reduced because of arming the Ukrainians against Russia, and now, looking to arm heavily Israel.

It is quite possible that the U.S. could be pulled into this in a direct way but currently, it just does not have the war material to conduct massive military operations if called to do so. This is quite a dramatic situation for the U.S., and of course for Israel.

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  • Craig Albert, PhD
    Craig Albert, PhD Professor of Political Science and Graduate Director of the Master of Arts in Intelligence and Security Studies

    Dr. Craig Albert focuses on national security, cyberconflict, ethnic conflict, and political thought.

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