Ehud Eilam

The battle on Gaza and Iraq and the world cup in soccer

The world cup in soccer goes on but there are only two teams left. In the battle on the Gaza Strip there are also two teams trying to beat each other, a bit more violently.

Hamas has support from Turkey and some Arab states while the United States and some European states have Israel’s back. Therefore each side in the Gaza war has its supporters not necessarily only from one state, as with teams in the world cup.
The soccer tournament would be over soon but the clashes in the Gaza Strip might continue. In the next world cup, four years from now, not all the teams that participated in the current tournament would appear there again while Israel and probably the Hamas too would still be here in 2018.
Another fight, a more brutal one, is in Iraq, an artificial state to begin with, that might not be around in 2018. That state forced ethnic groups, mostly Arab Sunnis, Kurds who are Sunnis but not Arabs and Arab Shiites to live together. Like in states such as Yugoslavia as long as there was a regime with an iron fist the country was kept together, and in Iraq the measures were more brutal than in Yugoslavia. In the latter her mythological leader, Josip Broz Tito, died from natural causes while in Iraq Saddam Hussein who lived by the sword died by the sword. However the end was similar: a bloody internal fight.
The leading team in Iraq is the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) known now also as IS (Islamic state). Until now the ISIS managed to score a goal in north Iraq but the game is not over. The final result could be a victory for either side there. It seems the United States and Israel would not benefit from that since Iraq would be under radical Sunni or pro-Iranian Shiite regime. It is doubtful if the Sunnis and Shiites could share power due to typical zero sum game attitude. At least for the upcoming months if not years the best the United States and Israel might hope for is a draw, a stalemate between the Iraqi Sunnis and the Shiites. Eventually the two Muslim factions might understand they must live with each other in the same area, which probably means each one would reside in his own state. Iraq that would be united or split might be weak and busy with her internal affairs and therefore much less involved in the Palestinian – Israeli conflict. This is good news – considering the negative contribution of Iraq in this matter in the past – which could help Israel and the Palestinians reach an agreement. At least they must not imitate what happens in Iraq. The latter is an example of a one state solution where there are different sides that are probably too suspicious of each other, and may have certain ties but not live together in the same state.

About the Author
Dr. Ehud Eilam has been dealing and studying Israel’s national security for more than 25 years. He served in the Israeli military and later on he worked for the Israeli Ministry of Defense. He is now a writer and an independent researcher. He has a Ph.D and he had published five books He lives now near Boston, MA. His email: