The alarm bells should be ringing loud and clear. When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin this Saturday declared a state of war in the aftermath of a highly coordinated multi-front attack by Hamas, attention should not merely fixate on the immediate, impending war. The disturbing element here is not just the escalation but the advanced level of military precision demonstrated by Hamas—an unnerving signal that Iran’s influence is looming larger than ever.

Close examination reveals that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s influence played a key role in orchestrating the audacious maneuvers of Hamas. The Islamic Unity Conference hosted by Iran in the lead-up to the attack was attended by the key Hamas figure of Osama Hamdan (senior representative of Hamas in Lebanon and member of the organization’s politburo), providing a context for strategic collaboration. Concurrently, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, ramped up his vitriolic rhetoric against Israel, setting the stage for a well-planned offensive. These events, when combined, suggest a choreographed agenda rather than mere coincidence—that and the fact that Hamas publicly admitted that Tehran “gave its support.”

There is also a disturbing layer of calculated cruelty that has emerged, which necessitates an urgent re-evaluation. Hamas operatives have seamlessly incorporated social media platforms into their psychological warfare strategy, amplifying their acts of terrorism for the world to see. This tactic not only terrorizes but also expands their influence, paralleling Iran’s well-documented use of digital spaces for propaganda and intimidation. The troubling elements do not end there. Images of those who hate Israel and Jews more than they care for Palestinians, people who will greatly suffer due to Hamas’s latest actions, have flooded social media, praising, and even rejoicing in Hamas’s massacre of Israeli civilians and the parading of Israeli prisoners.

This chilling online engagement is not a spontaneous outburst of emotion but, rather, the result of decades of brainwashing and indoctrination, led by the Iranian regime. What we are witnessing is the coordinated glorification of violent anti-Semitic terrorism. Increasingly, we are seeing a conflation between calls for Palestinian statehood and justifications for violence against Israelis, explicitly based on their Jewish identity. This is often presented under the guise of Israelis “having it coming,” a narrative that is soaked in anti-Semitism. Such a conflation not only distorts the legitimate quest for Palestinian self-determination but also serves to legitimize hate and violence. It risks turning a legitimate political struggle for statehood into a veneer for deeply ingrained anti-Semitic sentiments. This makes it much harder to reach a lasting and just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, where Palestinian national aspirations and Israelis’ right to live in security are met.

Hamas’s newfound operational sophistication, its chilling use of social media for psychological warfare, and the normalization of extremist ideologies—signal a disturbing escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Such developments demand immediate and rigorous policy evaluation to prevent a broader, more destructive confrontation. Ignoring these indicators or dismissing them as mere byproducts of a longstanding conflict could lead to severe and lasting consequences that go beyond the immediate theater of war and could cause untold harm for Israeli and Palestinian civilians

The Biden administration’s decision to release over $6 billion to Iran as part of a hostage deal raises eyebrows and necessitates a critical reexamination of American foreign policy, particularly in light of disturbing new details about Iranian influence within the United States. The revelations concerning covert infiltration by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) into the fabric of American political and defense institutions demand a recalibration of diplomatic engagements and financial dealings with Iran.

Releasing funds to Iran is fraught with risks, given the Islamic Republic’s history of diverting resources toward destabilizing regional activities and furthering its ideological agenda. The $6 billion infusion could inadvertently boost Iran’s capacity to support proxy groups, cyber espionage, and disinformation campaigns—tools that Iran has often deployed against American interests both at home and abroad. It is also important to consider the opportunity costs: These funds could have been more effectively allocated toward bolstering American security measures to counteract Iranian infiltration, thereby safeguarding national interests.

Moreover, the Biden administration’s current diplomatic approach overlooks a critical and pernicious dimension: Iran’s weaponization of Islamic theology. Iran has been effective at intertwining religious narratives with its geopolitical agenda, fostering ideological sympathies that transcend borders. Such a conflation of state policy and religious dogma serves to legitimize the regime’s activities in the eyes of its supporters, thereby making it more difficult to isolate Iran diplomatically or to undermine its influence across various social and political spheres. The weaponization of Islamic ideology, consequently, has far-reaching implications, not just for regional politics but also for the broader Islamic world and beyond.

The $6 billion deal becomes even more unsettling when contextualized against the backdrop of IRGC infiltration into American institutions. With a boost in financial resources, there is a plausible risk that Iran might escalate its covert activities within the United States, deepening its influence and undermining American foreign policy from within. Given that the IRGC has been instrumental in running complex covert operations, any financial bolstering of the Iranian state essentially risks emboldening this elite military organization.

The Biden Administration, therefore, finds itself at a critical juncture. Its financial and diplomatic engagement with Iran must be urgently reevaluated. Decisive steps should be taken to mitigate risks, requiring a comprehensive strategy that involves not just financial sanctions but also diplomatic, informational, and ideological countermeasures.

The need for a multidimensional strategy has never been more pressing.

The Intersection of Faith and Geostrategy

Religious authorities in Jerusalem have escalated calls for Jihad against Israel, adding a layer of ideological intensity to an already volatile geopolitical situation. This religious incitement exacerbates existing tensions and veers dangerously close to distorting the foundational principles of Islam. At this critical juncture, Saudi Arabia, as the custodian of Islam’s two most sacred sites, has an indispensable role to play in moderating religious rhetoric and stemming the tide of radicalization.

The issue of religious authorities escalating calls for Jihad is not isolated to the local conflict between Israelis and Palestinians; it has broader implications for the Muslim world. Vali Nasr, a Middle East scholar, noted in his 2007 book The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future that “[t]he hardest part about the Muslim world is deciphering the mixed messages that come from it.”

Given its status as the guardian of Mecca and Medina, Saudi Arabia holds a unique and powerful position to influence the Islamic narrative. As Paul Aarts and Carolien Roelants write in their 2016 book Saudi Arabia: A Kingdom in Peril, “The Saudi monarchy views itself as the last defense against chaos in the form of militant Islamism on one hand, and Iranian-sponsored subversion on the other.” As such, Saudi Arabia is uniquely positioned to condemn and counter the escalating religious rhetoric that threatens both local and global stability.

It is incumbent upon Saudi Arabia to take a strong stance against the distortion of Islamic teachings. By openly condemning calls for Jihad emanating from Jerusalem, the Kingdom can signal a strong message against religious extremism, reaffirm the core tenets of Islam, and act as a counterbalance to forces seeking to co-opt religion for violent ends.

Iran’s involvement in the recent Hamas offensive serves as a harrowing milestone in the evolving dynamics of Middle Eastern conflict. With the Taliban expressing a desire to dispatch fighters to Jerusalem, it is evident that this extends beyond a localized dispute, drawing a myriad of extremist elements into a shared, perilous objective.

The calculated aggression shown by Hamas against Israel serves as a critical inflection point in global geopolitics, challenging the international community to reevaluate its stance on Iran and extremism. Ignoring these warning signs could set the stage for far more catastrophic consequences on a global scale.

Source » merionwest