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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist


Global conflicts boil over: Is the world on the brink of war?

The Hamas-Israel attacks are the latest outbreak of violence in troubled globe.


The fierce fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip is the latest in an outbreak of wars, civil and otherwise, around the globe. And while the world may not be officially at war against a common enemy, it is a world at war. On Saturday, Hamas launched a barrage of rockets at Israel, penetrating as far as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, before tearing down border fences with bulldozers, allowing Hamas fighters to stream into Israel and border towns, catching Israel defences off-guard. And the conflict is likely to expand, with Lebanon and Israel having already exchanged cross-border fire.…

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The fierce fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip is the latest in an outbreak of wars, civil and otherwise, around the globe.

And while the world may not be officially at war against a common enemy, it is a world at war.

On Saturday, Hamas launched a barrage of rockets at Israel, penetrating as far as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, before tearing down border fences with bulldozers, allowing Hamas fighters to stream into Israel and border towns, catching Israel defences off-guard.

And the conflict is likely to expand, with Lebanon and Israel having already exchanged cross-border fire.

ALSO READ: A year of relentless Israeli-Palestinian violence

Iran, which backs Hezbollah, has said the Hamas attack was in “self-defence”.

US president Joe Biden on Sunday promised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “we stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support to the government and people of Israel”.

A senior White House official said it was “too early to say” if Iran was “directly involved” in the Hamas attack. However, there was “no doubt Hamas is funded, equipped and armed by Iran and others”, he added, as the conflict between the two sides escalated to its bloodiest point in decades.

It’s another war by proxy the US is involved in as it supports Ukraine against the Russian invasion.

Other countries helping Ukraine include Germany, the UK, Norway, Japan, Canada and 31 other countries.

Middle East protests

According to the Middle East Institute, a second major arena to watch is the continuing protests and uprisings in Iran.

“The Islamic Republic has indeed entered a new – perhaps final – phase of its revolutionary life, as the regime has generally lost legitimacy among the bulk of the new generation, which will determine Iran’s future.

“Ethnically diverse regions of the country are already becoming increasingly restive, and the situation remains a potential powder keg.

READ MORE: What is ‘ethnic cleansing’ and where has it occurred?

“The authorities are able and willing to use extreme force to maintain control and will likely ride out 2023 in a similar fashion as they closed out 2022.

“But the death of the supreme leader or other unforeseen events could tip the country in an unpredictable direction. Changes in Turkey, Iran, or both would have tremendous consequences, for the Middle East North Africa region and the wider world,” it said.

Africa has long been a hot bed of civil war as military juntas overthrow one another.

War over negotiations?

On why countries go to war, instead of negotiating, independent political analyst Sandile Swana said dialogue must be underpinned by incentives and perks.

“Two nations that have figured out intelligently that neither of them can succeed in a physical fight are more likely to engage in a physical dialogue.

“But if one of the nations feels they can get what they want, the other will hold onto the advantages they have.

“In the conflict between Ethiopia and Egypt, Ethiopia needs to show how it has reconfigured the waters, with the support of other African countries. In the case of Israel, the Arabs have said for a long time that even if the Jews must settle in Palestine, they must do so under Palestinian authority,” Swana said.

As noted by the Institute of Security Studies, more than 180 kidnappings were recorded in the war-torn countries of Mali and Burkina Faso in the first half of 2023 – an average of one a day.

RELATED: In DR Congo camps women face stark choice: hunger or rape

“This aligns with the trend in recent years, which has seen the kidnapping industry expand since 2019, with about 400 victims in each of the two countries every year,” said Flore Berger, Sahel senior analyst, Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime.

“Most victims are Sahelian, as communities are caught in the crossfire between conflicting parties.

“Kidnappings are primarily an instrument of war, used strategically by opposing sides to achieve their goals. Although abductions of foreigners for ransom still happen, there has been a shift to targeting Sahelians, driven by insurgents’ expansionist goals.”

In at least 15 armed conflicts, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Mali, Burkina Faso and South Sudan, government forces or non-state armed groups have been implicated in abuses against civilians.

‘Lack of unified law’

War is the biggest waster of human and natural resources, said David Gallup for worldcitizengov. org, which aims to create “the institutions of world law to help humans live together peacefully and sustainably with the Earth”.

“We need to alleviate the economic, political, technological, and social factors of humiliation – the underlying inequalities and oppression – that cause people to seek vengeance against and to hate, oppress, and control others,” Gallup said.

“We need to eliminate the anarchy, the lack of unified law, between nation-states that is the breeding ground of war.”

Additional reporting Amanda Watson

Read more on these topics

Africa Gaza Israel Palestine Ukraine Russia War

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