Rising Iran-Israel tensions threaten global stability

Rising Iran-Israel tensions threaten global stability

Few rivalries are as potent and perilous as the one between Israel and Iran. (AFP)
Few rivalries are as potent and perilous as the one between Israel and Iran. (AFP)
Short Url

Few rivalries are as potent and perilous as the one between Israel and Iran. The recent escalation in tensions between these two regional powers — as highlighted by Israel’s strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus last week and Iran’s retaliatory drone and missile attack on Israel on Saturday night — has ignited serious concerns on a global scale.
With each passing day, the specter of direct conflict looms larger, casting a shadow of uncertainty over the entire region. In this fluid and unpredictable environment, the risk of miscalculation and unintended escalation is heightened, increasing the likelihood of further conflicts and crises with global ramifications.
Should this powder keg ignite into open warfare, the consequences would reverberate far beyond the borders of these two nations, potentially setting off a chain of events and unintended consequences with catastrophic implications. A direct war between Israel and Iran has the potential to reshape the global geopolitical landscape in ways that are difficult to predict, with far-reaching implications for peace and stability worldwide.
The first and perhaps most immediate consequence of a direct conflict between Iran and Israel would be the destabilization of the already volatile Middle East. Both nations wield significant influence over neighboring states and nonstate actors, which could quickly be drawn into the fray. Proxy conflicts, insurgency movements and refugee crises would likely proliferate, further exacerbating existing tensions and sowing chaos throughout the region. The delicate balance of power in the Middle East could be shattered, opening the door to a new era of uncertainty and violence.
It is important to point out that, if the flames of war spread, innocent civilians would inevitably bear the brunt of the suffering. A conflict between Iran and Israel, with their advanced military capabilities and densely populated urban centers, would undoubtedly result in widespread destruction and loss of life. The humanitarian toll would be staggering, potentially with millions displaced, injured or killed in the crossfire. Humanitarian organizations would most likely struggle to cope with the number of refugees and the overwhelming demand for aid, further exacerbating an already dire situation.
Another issue is that of nuclear proliferation. Iran’s nuclear program has long been a source of concern for the international community, with fears that it could spark a regional arms race or lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons to nonstate actors. A direct conflict with Israel could push Iran to accelerate its nuclear ambitions, heightening the risk of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. This would, in turn, undermine global nonproliferation efforts and increase the likelihood of nuclear war or accidental escalation, with catastrophic consequences for the entire planet.

A full-fledged Israel-Iran conflict would have profound implications for diplomatic relations and international cooperation. 

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

In addition to conventional military tactics, a conflict between Israel and Iran would likely also see a significant escalation in cyberwarfare. Both nations possess sophisticated cyber capabilities and have demonstrated a willingness to use them in the past. Such a war between these two adversaries could target critical infrastructure, disrupt communication networks and sow chaos in financial markets. The consequences of these attacks could be far-reaching, undermining trust in digital systems and causing widespread panic and uncertainty in the region and on the global stage.
A direct war between Israel and Iran would provide fertile ground for terrorist organizations to exploit, further exacerbating the threat of global terrorism. Radical groups sympathetic to either side could exploit the chaos and instability to launch attacks against their enemies or further their own agendas. The proliferation of weapons, the breakdown of security forces and the displacement of populations would create a breeding ground for extremism, posing a grave threat to regional and global security.
One should also not forget the environmental aspect of war. A direct war between Iran and Israel would not only ravage human populations and infrastructure but also inflict severe damage on the environment. The Middle East is home to fragile ecosystems and vital waterways, which would be endangered by the widespread use of military force and the destruction of critical infrastructure. The loss of vital resources and the degradation of ecosystems would exacerbate existing environmental challenges, including climate change and water scarcity, further compounding the suffering of future generations.
Meanwhile, the economic repercussions of a direct war between Israel and Iran would be felt not only in the Middle East but across the globe. Both countries are major players in the global economy, with extensive trade networks and strategic resources at their disposal. Any disruption to oil supplies from the Arabian Gulf, in particular, would send shockwaves through the international markets, driving up prices and destabilizing economies that are reliant on energy imports. The ripple effects would most likely be felt in sectors ranging from finance to agriculture, plunging already-fragile economies into recession and exacerbating social unrest.
Finally, a direct and full-fledged Israel-Iran conflict would have profound implications for diplomatic relations and international cooperation. Nations would be forced to choose sides, further polarizing the global community and undermining efforts to resolve conflicts through diplomacy and dialogue. The breakdown of diplomatic channels could lead to increased isolationism and nationalism, making it even harder to find peaceful solutions to the myriad challenges facing the world today.
In conclusion, the escalating tensions between Israel and Iran represent a grave threat to regional and global stability. The consequences of a direct war between these two nations would be severe and far-reaching, with the potential to unleash a chain of events that could reshape the geopolitical landscape for years to come.

  • Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a Harvard-educated Iranian American political scientist. X: @Dr_Rafizadeh
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view