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The War in Gaza From Local to Regional

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant warned on April 20, 2023, that Israel would likely no longer see limited conflicts on single fronts, but rather would have to face a multi-front escalation in the near future. Defense Minister Galant’s warning proved to be correct and Israel is indeed in a multi-front conflict, but the assessment of the multi- front conflict threatening Israel did not help her prevent the surprise attack by Hamas which was the first step in this conflict.

Over the past two years, Iran has developed a concept known as “unity of fronts,” under which Hezbollah, Hamas and other regional allies have pledged closer cooperation and mutual defense. Iran’s coordination with its regional proxies since Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7 strongly suggests that the proxies are acting as part of an Iranian-organized strategic plan. Iran has denied involvement in planning the attack, but the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised the slaughter in a televised address.

The Iranian decision on whether to expand the war in Gaza into a regional war will be influenced by two main factors: (1) The determination that Israel will demonstrate in the war in the Gaza Strip and its success in destroying Hamas infrastructure. (2) The level of threat that the US will create for Iran and its proxies. If the Biden administration hopes to prevent more fronts from opening, America’s threat to intervene has to be seen as credible by making clear, through words and deeds, that participation of Iran and its proxies in the conflict would elicit a strong U.S. response.