GIGA Insights | 13/11/2023

War in the Middle East: Is There a Risk of Conflagration in the Region?

There is great concern about the war in the Middle East spreading. GIGA experts analyse the reactions from Israel’s neighbouring countries and the Palestinian territories.

  • Following the terrorist attack of October 7, Israel is taking military action against Hamas in Gaza – where a humanitarian catastrophe is occurring as a result of the war. All over the world, but especially in Arab countries, people are showing their solidarity with the Palestinian population. How are the governments of neighbouring Arab countries reacting to these developments? Is a risk of conflagration genuine? According to Prof. Dr. Eckart Woertz, Director of the GIGA Institute for Middle East Studies, no state in the region has an interest in all-out war. As he told Tagesspiegel: “Egypt is keeping a low profile and hopes that it will not have to absorb a stream of refugees from Gaza; Syria is on the ground and busy with other things; Turkey’s Erdogan is trying to make regional political capital out of the situation, but will not go beyond martial rhetoric; after all, his country is a NATO member.” Even Hezbollah has no real interest in an escalation with Israel, which could plunge Lebanon into chaos and weaken the terror militia’s support among the domestic population. Following the speech given by Hassan Nasrallah, Secretary General of Hezbollah, Woertz is “cautiously optimistic” that Israel will not end up in a war on two fronts. Since Hamas’s attack, there has been a new level of fake news circulating on the Internet, especially on social media networks. GIGA researcher Houssein Al Malla looks at the reasons for this, telling DW News that it is being spread so each side in the conflict can generate further public support. Our experts also look at the question of how things can continue in the Gaza Strip after the end of the war. Prof. Dr. Woertz currently sees little chance of success for a two-state solution. “The hope would be that the willingness for political solutions would be greater after a sobering ceasefire,” he says in an interview with ntv. You can find further assessments of the situation in the Middle East here:


    Text: Lisa Sänger

    GIGA Focus Middle East | 5/2022

    From New to Normal: Two Years after the Abraham Accords

    When Israel signed the Abraham Accords in 2020, reactions were split. Two years later, normalisation dynamics in the region are stronger than many had anticipated, though they differ in degree and scope. Further progress is limited by, for instance, the unresolved Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

    Petra Dachtler

    Diplomat in Residence and Fellow


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