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EDITORIAL: The US and UK retaliation for Houthi disruption of Red Sea trade, with strikes inside Yemen, has not make the Bab el-Mandeb straight any safer, but it has vindicated concerns that blind western support for Israel’s genocide in Gaza will assure widening of this conflict.

Even going by US-Israeli propaganda, that Iran is mobilising proxies that make its “axis of resistance”, US-UK escalation has only played right into Tehran’s hands. Now nobody doubts the Houthis’ counter-threat of a “strong and effective response”, or that the Red Sea will become a much more volatile flash point, or even, for that matter, that a harder, much worse Iran-US/Israel confrontation is now inevitable.

This is bad news on all fronts, especially for Washington as it prepares for a turbulent presidential election later in the year. The World Bank was the first to warn of “real dangers” from this “conflict escalation”, especially “surging energy prices, with broader implications for global activity and inflation”.

Economists and government officials descending on Davos for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF), on the other hand, are more direct, with many now doubting the soft-landing economic scenario that Biden was counting on to boost his campaign. Majority opinion is already beginning to factor in high interest rates for longer, low growth, higher inflation and increased political uncertainty.

The UN, whose cries and warnings have been flatly ignored since the onset of the Gaza genocide, has also expressed “serious concern” about “stability and fragile peace efforts in Yemen, which has endured years of civil war”.

Sadly, the so-called leaders of the free world are deliberately putting together this powder keg and also lighting the fuse. If the greatest care is not exercised immediately, including stopping Israel’s madness in the Gaza Strip, then it will surely explode with devastating consequences. And it is not even remotely clear how that will benefit any party to this conflict, including the United States whose complete support for Israel is singularly responsible for the Zionist state’s unacceptable and unforgivable barbarism.

Hamas’s daring Oct 7 raid seems to have pushed the whole world to a crossroads. Can the global community really do nothing but just watch as a belligerent state carries out naked genocide under superpower cover? By refusing to entertain such questions before and even address them now, even in the face of such unimaginable cruelty, the US-led western bloc is creating the perfect catalyst for a much wider, much more brutal war in the Middle East.

Now everybody must accept more violence, more deaths, higher commodity prices and crashing economies just because one illegitimate state’s political and financial leverage in major countries has left their policymakers impotent.

The worst is clearly not yet behind us. Countries like Pakistan, which face unprecedented political and financial crises of their own, are particularly vulnerable. And it doesn’t help that our political elite is blinded by the lust for power to give wider existential problems much attention.

Is our divided house, crashing under its own dead weight, prepared to deal with a storm that was triggered far away but is sure to drench it as well?

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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