"Those who profit from war do not seek peace"
For almost a week now, we have been shocked by news of the war between Palestinians and Israelis. The barbarities are terrifying. Women, children and civilians being killed in cold blood is unthinkable these days and takes us back to the barbarian invasions of Europe from the 5th to the 8th century. The atrocities are likely to get even worse, depending on the reactions of other neighboring countries, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and the West Bank.
The news coverage details the origin of the conflict, which dates back 70 years, with the creation of the State of Israel and Palestine, but does little to explain why world leaders are only following the escalation of conflicts in the region from a distance.
This is an atypical war. It's not simply about winning, because from the point of view of military power the imbalance between the combatants is gigantic. It's not about conquering territory, gaining power or imposing a religious regime on the enemy. The derisory size of Gaza, a little smaller than ¼ of the city of São Paulo, its irrelevant geographical location for commercial logistics and the lack of oil and gas do not justify a fight over territory. According to IMF data, this small area is home to just over 2 million people with a per capita income equivalent to about 1/3 of Brazil's. Almost 40% of the people in Gaza have less than one month to live. Almost 40% of Gaza's population is under the age of 14. Both sides seek to wipe the enemy off the planet. In other words, the winner of the war, as well as being genocidal, will bring with him infertile land and a multitude of poor people.
Knowing that a war always has a political and economic objective, who is benefiting from this war?
The most enthusiastic immediately point to the war industry. This sector, even in times of world peace, already generates almost 2 trillion dollars every year, around 2.7% of the world's GDP. In most countries it is closely linked to governments, which creates an inhibition on the free market in arms trade. Therefore, it would be difficult for any possible benefit to outweigh the damage to governments around the world, if we compare it with the other side effects that will result from this war.
The main oil-producing countries have nothing to gain. Even before the war, they had been exporting oil in large quantities, benefiting their public accounts, writing off debt and generating investment in infrastructure. If the war expands, there will be the usual bombing of oil and gas wells, port terminals and refineries. Consequently, there will be a tightening of Western economic sanctions.
It's an absolutely atypical war that only has losers. The Palestinian people are about to be decimated, the Israelis are increasing the conflict with the other Arab and Muslim peoples, generating more instability, which is detrimental to the economic development of the region. Armed conflicts often cause economic devastation in the affected areas. The high costs associated with war, such as the destruction of infrastructure, loss of life and the need to spend on defense and security, generally outweigh any possible economic gain, even in conflicts that seek territorial aggregation, as in the case of Russia's war with Ukraine. In other words, there will be no benefit in the affected region.
The price of oil will rise; the interest rate in the US economy will be affected and should stop its downward trend; the price of the world's main currencies will suffer speculative attacks. In other words, the conflict will further damage the already shaky world economy.
What's more, everything suggests that Israel will spare no effort in venting its anger at the barbarity it has suffered. Soon, there will be declarations of protest about the virulence of the response, popular revolt in Arab and Muslim countries, and some incident that will further aggravate the situation, which as always will culminate in terrorist attacks around the world.
Europe and the United States are at a loss. If they reacted quickly to the war in Ukraine, with economic sanctions and military, financial and migratory support for the invaded country, they now seem to be in a holding pattern. China, as always, has little say in external conflicts.
The issue is not religious.
A few decades ago, we didn't talk about the Middle East so much as the Levant, a geographical region that encompassed Palestine, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon and Cyprus, and could reach Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where at many points in history the different religions coexisted peacefully. Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in harmony.
So far, there has been no word from world leaders on what to do about the ongoing misery in the region. This macabre dance of the world with the Middle East in constant conflict has only led to losses for humanity. As long as the world continues to think that the problem is regional, the routes out of this horror will only get narrower. Today, they are already narrower than the territory of the Gaza Strip itself.
So I can't imagine who is interested in this war.