From The Final Call Newspaper

Concerns rise that the Middle East is slipping gravely close to a wider war

By Brian E. Muhammad, Staff Writer
- November 7, 2023

To the thousands of Palestinians slaughtered, injured, and displaced in weeks of Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip and increasingly in the occupied West Bank, there has only been one unified message coming from Western politicians, warmongers, and conflict profiteers who wax rich from blood-soaked theaters of war: “No Ceasefire!”

At presstime the carnage suffered by the Palestinians was approaching 10,000 deaths and nearly 25,000 injured. Tens of thousands of justice activists, anti-war voices and change agents are on the streets worldwide demanding a ceasefire. An estimated 100,000 people attended the National March for Palestine in Washington DC on Nov. 4.

They amplified the message “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and said President Biden has “blood on his hands” for continuing the U.S. “unwavering support” of the Zionist state of Israel, which they say is genocide of Palestinians.

Even though human rights experts from the United Nations and international organizations are echoing the demand for peace, events are falling deeper into fire. Observers and analysts say the Middle East is igniting dangerously closer to wider conflict.

“The possibility for a regional escalation is huge,” said activist and investigative journalist Eugene Puryear. “I think we’re seeing how especially in the broader Middle East, Palestine is almost like the heart,” he said. “The center of a broader circulatory system that is connected to almost all of the other issues in the Arab world,” he added.

There are fears concerning to what extent the Arab world may be aflame militarily. Forces in the region are positioning themselves as the onslaught of Palestinians continues. Mass demonstrations in the Arab streets are in lockstep with the Palestinian plight. Across the region resistance fighters from nearby countries have entered the fray.

When Hamas lodged its surprise attack on the Israeli occupier area on Oct. 7, and Israel launched its corridor of destruction in Gaza, combat engagements with Hezbollah fighters at Israel’s northern border with Lebanon also started. Then Houthi Ansarullah forces from Yemen officially joined the war, firing several missiles toward Israel. In Algeria, with a unanimous 100/100 vote, lawmakers authorized President Abdelmadjid Tebboune to also enter the conflict, and back Gaza, reported Albawaba news.

In Nov. 3 remarks, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said: “All options are on the table” against Israel. To avoid a regional war depends on stopping Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip, he warned. Specifically to America, he said stopping Israel in Gaza is paramount because the skirmishes on the Lebanese front can easily escalate into wider war.

“You, the Americans, can stop the aggression against Gaza because it is your aggression. Whoever wants to prevent a regional war, and I am talking to the Americans, must quickly halt the aggression on Gaza,” Mr. Nasrallah said. “You, the Americans, know very well that if war breaks out in the region, your fleets will be of no use, nor will fighting from the air be of any benefit, and the one who will pay the price will be … your interests, your soldiers and your fleets,” he added.

Days before, the United States further ramped up its military game in the region. President Biden’s administration, as one of the loudest voices against a total ceasefire has pressed Congress for $14 billion-plus in military funding for Israel. The money is an “emergency supplement” to the regular annual bag of $3.8 billion the Zionist state already receives which are separate from the costs of added munitions and two aircraft carriers equipped with planes and thousands of American soldiers sent to the eastern Mediterranean Sea in early October.

Additionally, in the mix, the volume of antagonism between the U.S. and Iran is up. The region appears to be tipping past the edge.

A man sits on the rubble as others wander among debris of buildings that were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in Jabaliya refugee camp, northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Abed Khaled)

Since the Gaza war started there were over 30 attacks on the U.S. military in the region that began on October 17. Washington blamed Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria. An Oct. 26 statement by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin III., said President Biden authorized fire play in response to the series of attacks.

“The United States does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iranian-backed attacks against U.S. forces are unacceptable and must stop,” said Secretary Austin. An American contractor died from a cardiac incident while sheltering in place, and 21 U.S. soldiers suffered minor injuries in the attacks, he said.

The military head accused Iran of hiding its hand to deny any role in attacks on U.S. personnel and threatened that if “Iran’s proxies” continue with more attacks, the U.S. will not hesitate to take further measures.

On the timing of the military action, Secretary Austin said the strikes were intended “solely” for U.S. self-defense in Iraq and Syria. “They are separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and do not constitute a shift in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict,” he said. “We continue to urge all state and non-state entities not to take action that would escalate into a broader regional conflict.”

Anti-war opponents disagree with the defense secretary’s claim that attacks targeting U.S. personnel are unrelated to the Gaza crisis. “He’s totally wrong,” said Madea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, the pro-peace and social justice organization. “There is a tremendous connection between the groups in the region … the skirmishes that are happening in Syria … in Lebanon, that are connected to this horrific massacre going on in Gaza,” she told The Final Call.

There are groups in the region having a hard time sitting quietly while witnessing their brothers and sisters in the Muslim world being viciously attacked. Ms. Benjamin said Americans should be appalled that the U.S. is giving the green light to Israel for the bombings, land invasion, and the $14 billion package when so many domestic needs are unmet. “The American people should really be contacting our members of Congress, and going out in the streets in these demonstrations,” she said.

Ms. Benjamin, who has been exerting pressure on U.S. lawmakers to sign on to the universal call for a ceasefire, also believes there is a serious threat of a regional war that could certainly involve Iran.

Mr. Puryear said that for reasons looking from a more birds-eye view of the region, Iran is being framed as the main aggressor. He explained that the U.S. and Israel have been aiming for Iran for years and are using the current conflict as a pretext to continue their efforts.

He reasons that Washington and Tel Aviv want to maintain Western hegemony over the Middle East and see Iran as a major obstacle, and with Tehran’s growing relations with China and Russia, an even more formidable opponent.

Explaining what is at stake, Mr. Puryear said they see the geopolitical project they tried to establish in the Mideast to control oil and the commercial crossroads of the world and Eurasia, which is centered on Israel, its occupation of Palestine, and influence on pro-Western governments, threatened.

The concern is “that all of that could unravel,” said Mr. Puryear. “I think they’re willing to use overwhelming force, if necessary, to try to prevent a new Middle East, which has already been coming to the forefront,” he added.

He pointed out the rise of Iran includes its rapprochement with longtime regional foe Saudi Arabia and both joining the BRICS alliance changed things. Although the U.S. sees beyond Palestine as a priority, when the resistance rose and fought back on Oct. 7, those chess pieces were knocked off the board, some observers noted.

This photo released by the Israeli military on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023, shows ground operations inside the Gaza Strip. (Israel Defense Forces via AP)

“Now the possibility that the sort of U.S.-led, U.S.-centric, imperialist setup in the Middle East could be collapsing … and I don’t think they want to allow that,” said Mr. Puryear.

For America to remain “ironclad” with the Zionist State adds to its own trouble. Before the crisis reached this level of distress, there were years of warnings to the U.S. and Israel by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his National Representative and top student, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam.

Both of these Divine Servants of Allah (God) warned that America is under Divine Judgment for her errant foreign policies and own sordid domestic policies, namely the genocide of the Indigenous Native Americans and persistent oppression of the Black once slave—which has never been corrected by way of justice.

In a November 18, 2018, press conference from Iran, while answering a question about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, Minister Farrakhan warned America concerning her direction.

“My teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, taught me years ago that the policies of our government would bring about a war in the Middle East that would be a trigger to the greatest war that has ever been, the War of Armageddon, spoken of in the Bible,” said Minister Farrakhan.

“A reporter asked my teacher: Is America going to remain in the Middle East? And my teacher said America is going to come out of the Middle East. And when they asked about war, he said, ‘Yes, there would be war.’ And he said, ‘bloodshed in this area would be much,’” said Minister Farrakhan.

When Minister Farrakhan gave these remarks, President Donald Trump was in power. However, his warning is as applicable in 2023 with Mr. Biden or whoever will win the upcoming 2024 presidential race.

“I am begging our president and the government that supports him to be very, very careful because if the trigger of war in the Middle East is pulled by you, using your surrogates at the insistence of Israel, then the war will trigger another kind of war, which will bring China, Russia, all of the nations into a war and it bothers me to say this to you, Mr. President, but the war will end America as you know it,” warned Minister Farrakhan.