On the 7th of October 2023, when Hamas militants launched their rockets into Israel, resulting in the deaths of civilians attending a musical concert, one can't help but ponder whether they foresaw the subsequent reactions of both Israel and the Western world. It would be unwise to assume that Hamas was unprepared for the events that unfolded: the United States dispatching warships to safeguard Israeli waters, the Israeli Air Force relentlessly targeting the densely populated Gaza Strip, housing 2.2 million civilians, and the widespread condemnation by the Western media for the loss of innocent Israeli lives, including women and children.
But as the picture of a new world order unfolds, Hamas’ actions may not appear so uncalculated.
The countries previously perceived as anti-Islam or anti-Muslim due to their communist ideologies have recently displayed a more sympathetic attitude towards Muslims. A prime example of this is Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Juma Mosque in Derbent in June this year, following the desecration of the Quran, accompanied by his condemnation of Western attitudes towards the sacred figures of Islam. Later, in September, Putin inaugurated a grand mosque in Moscow – a country, where obtaining copies of the Quran during the Soviet era was no easy feat. The shift is quite apparent.
Even more astounding is North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's pro-Palestine statement, along with a forceful condemnation of Israel. The North Korean state-owned newspaper unequivocally held "Israel's ceaseless criminal actions" responsible for Hamas’ actions. It further added that "this clash was the result of Israel's constant criminal acts against the Palestinian people, and that the fundamental way out is to build an independent Palestinian state." Conversely, China has maintained fairly amicable relations with Muslim nations, and more recently secured the support of the Maldives, which has long been under Indian influence.
The countries previously perceived as anti-Islam or anti-Muslim due to their communist ideologies have recently displayed a more sympathetic attitude towards Muslims.
In a previous article, I discussed how a situation like this, which entangles a superpower – such as the US – on multiple fronts, has the potential of creating opportunities for other countries to settle old scores. In the last couple of years, Western media has been deeply engaged in debates surrounding Russia's determination to address historical grievances with the West, particularly stemming from the collapse of the USSR in 1991– a sentiment that escalated after Russia's 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
The western fears were not totally unfounded – something was brewing deep down somewhere, already.
North Korea’s pro-Muslim and anti-West stance, which is evident in its unreserved criticism of Israel is quite in line with the Russian approach. Western analysts are scrutinizing this development in light of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's train visit to Russia last month. Putin and Kim met at Vostochny, in the Far East region of Russia, and held talk of strategic importance, according to the media reports. In a recent development, South Korea is under high alert after the Hamas attacks in the Middle East. One can wonder, how could a conflict in the Middle East cause any caution to South Korea – the two regions are separated by thousands of miles of seas and land. South Korea condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel, while North Korea has condemned Israel. It is evidently becoming clear that the world is being divided along distinct lines – pro-Israel or anti-Israel, pro-West or anti-West. New alliances are taking shape, and a new world order appears to be in the offing.
The Americans have, nevertheless, sought to downplay the diplomatic and military maneuvers carried out by Russia and China in their efforts to challenge US supremacy.
North Korea’s pro-Muslim and anti-West stance, which is evident in its unreserved criticism of Israel is quite in line with the Russian approach. Western analysts are scrutinizing this development in light of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's train visit to Russia last month.
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in her discussion on the resurgence of conflicts among great powers – Russia, China, and the US – expressed concern about the erosion of the global system introduced by the US in various international institutions in the aftermath of 9/11. In the post-Cold War era, globalisation came to denote American hegemony. She laments that this system has been compromised in recent years by Russia, whom she labels as a “disruptive power” which has disbanded the hard-earned globalised system of the United States. Her tone towards the Russian and Chinese leaders is clearly disheartened, with no restraint in her criticism of the Russian president and his close aides in the government – her choice of words for them is distinctly disparaging. She rebukes the "no-limits partnership" between Vladimir Putin and the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, where the latter is heavily reliant on the West, particularly the US, for its trade and prosperity, with aspirations to become the world's leading economy.
Rice’s assessment of China is evident from its response on the current Middle-East situation too – at least for now.
Similarly, Mohammad bin Salman (aka MbS), the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is diligently pursuing his Vision 2030 reform agenda. Envisioning this, MbS had shown a willingness to improve relations with Israel. His ambitious city, Neom, is located in proximity to Israel on the Red Sea. However, one setback seems to have derailed many plans and, perhaps, many dreams. MbS quickly disposed of the possibility of forging diplomatic ties with Israel after the Hamas attacks – at least for the foreseeable future. He rather reached out to the Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, to find a way to end the war in his neighborhood.
All this leaves us pondering, who is pulling the strings?
Well – whosoever is orchestrating these events, it won't be long before it becomes evident. However, if no one is in control, and if we like to hold the belief that it all broke out as a natural reaction to the long-standing injustices and suffering endured by the Palestinians at the hands of Israel, then the world is at the mercy of the winds – we don't know where they blow or where they will stop.