Border Countries With Israel at Risk of Economic Chaos
Countries bordering Israel risk being caught up in the Israeli-Hamas war in a tornado-like chain reaction. This raises the possibility of Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan witnessing economical and political hurdles.
Weeks before Hamas launched its strike on Israel, the International Monetary Fund report warned that the said three countries could record economic pressures. It stated that Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan could lose their sociopolitical stability.
War watchers say the Israel-Hamas war could amplify the economic strains and potential cause governments to collapse. If efforts for a ceasefire are not reached or the war keeps escalating, it could spill over into the broader region, and globally as well.
Economic Development at Dangerous Junction
Christopher Swift, an international lawyer and former Treasury Department official, says the more unstable things are economically, the easier it is for bad actors in the region to take stir the pot. He explained that politics, economics and security go together very closely. “The notion that you can divorce politics from economics is a little bit myopic and naïve.”
Even Western countries are very much well aware of the consequences of the Israel Hamas conflict if it spirals out of control. Charles Michel, president of the European Council, told officials last week they needed to do more to support the Egyptian government. He said the Egypt is under pressure because of the possibility of migrants arriving from Gaza and Sudan.
The US has also been keenly following the turn of events in the Middle East. Last week, US Joe Biden flew to Israel to stand by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to show support as a big brother. Antony Blinken has also been to the region several times since the war broke out on October 7.
Janet Yellen, the US Treasury Secretary, said they are monitoring the economic consequences carefully. “So far we have not yet seen much that has global consequences, but if the war spreads, of course there could be more meaningful consequences.”
Palestinians Will Seek Refuge in Neighboring Countries
Swift believes that to presume that there won’t be a movement of people is naïve and premature. But Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has refused to take in Palestinian refugees. The Egyptian government says Israel wants to force a permanent expulsion of Palestinians and nullify Palestinian demands for an independent state. Swift said any sudden blow to Egypt from the outside be it economic or sudden influx of people from Gaza into Sinai, could have destabilizing effects.
Mirette F. Mabrouk, director of the Middle East Institute’s Egypt Studies program, said Egypt is facing the worst economic crisis in at least five decades. “That only complicates the current turmoil from the war.”