Thu. Feb 22nd, 2024

RUSSIA, China and North Korea may use the smokescreen of the Israel crisis as an “invitation” to turn the tides of global power and unleash hell, experts warned.

As multiple conflicts threaten to erupt across the world, new axes of evil are forming – and analysts say it’s open season for rogue states “to get away with” their fight for a New World Order.

APIt’s feared Xi Jinping and Kim Jong-un could use the distraction of the Israel crisis to their advantage[/caption]

AFPPutin will be pleased as the world’s attentions turns away from the Ukraine war[/caption]

EPATens of thousands of troops are massing on the Gaza border readying for a ground invasion[/caption]

APMore than 4,000 Palestinians dead since Hamas stormed the Israel border[/caption]

The terror Hamas unleashed on Israel during their unprecedented October 7 attacks left 1,400 Israelis dead and a nation determined to take revenge on the densely populated Gaza Strip.

And as the bloody war rages into its 14th day – leaving more than 4,000 Palestinians dead – Israel is preparing for an imminent full-scale ground invasion of bomb-blitzed Gaza.

The world now waits with bated breath to see if the Israel-Hamas conflict could open up new fronts and spark an all-out war across the Middle East

But experts told The Sun that what is unfolding risks far more than a regional conflict in the Middle East.

Instead, they argue it has lit the fuse on a powder keg of simmering crises across the world – helping to turn the tides of global power towards Russia, China and their pariah pals. 

“Polycrisis is the new normal,” Keir Giles, a Russia expert from Chatham House, told The Sun.

He warned Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and Kim Jong-un will “watch and learn from how the West responds to the tragedy in the Middle East”.

If the West cannot step up to the challenge of handling multiple conflicts unfolding all at once, then the impacts could echo across the world, he said.

“That’s an open invitation” for autocratic regimes and pariah states “to cause more of them,” Giles argued.

“They will grab what they want while they can get away with it,” he said.

Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak flew to Israel to show their support for Israel this week, as the UK prime minister vowed to stand with the embattled nation in its “darkest hour”.

At the same time, Putin visited his “old” and “dear” friend Xi and the pair of tyrants took swipes at the US and the West.

Russia and China refused to condemn Hamas for their horrors they committed on October 7 and criticised Israeli airstrikes and called for freedom of Palestinians.

Their moves laid bare the gaping geopolitical rift extending between major global powers.

“Israel is not a new flashpoint, but it has taken centre stage,” Ashok Swain, professor of peace and conflict research at Uppsala University, told The Sun.

“If the present situation continues a bit longer, there is a big possibility that other states in the Middle East will be drawn into conflict.”

And with the possibility of the US, UK and Nato becoming increasingly embroiled in that war – it becomes clear who stands to profit. 

“China and Russia are waiting for the diffusion of the conflict to take place,” Prof Swain said.

“The Middle East has been the epicentre of [their] new superpower rivalry for several years now, and this ‘war’ provides an opening for both power centres to measure their strengths.”

A DANGEROUS DAWN

Admiral Lord West, the ex-Royal Navy Chief and Falklands War hero, said Putin will be pleased with the chaos erupting in the Middle East.

“All of this suits Putin very well,” he told The Sun.

“It is fantastic for him because it’s taken people’s eyes off Ukraine. So the more he can stoke it up, the happier he’ll be.”

And he argued that with the Western world distracted, the price will likely be paid by Ukraine along its frontlines.

A Hamas official claimed Putin was pleased with their terror attack on Israel as it has distracted Americans from the raging war in Ukraine.

“One war eases the pressure in another war,” he said.

If evidence was needed, Russia launched a brazen attempt to seize the eastern Ukrainian city of Avdiivka shortly after Hamas’s assault on Israel.

Kyiv itself said it now fears that if the Israel-Hamas conflict drags on, its Western supply of weapons and ammunition could dry up. 

In this time of fragile world order, “dealing with more than one challenge at a time will be key to the survival of western governments”, Keir Giles said.

The Russia expert added: “Look at the way the lighthouse beam of western attention has suddenly switched from Ukraine to the Middle East, meanwhile other crises are playing out in the margins more or less unnoticed.

“But it’s not just Ukraine that suffers. Russia – and other hostile powers – can use this opportunity to probe, test and attack in other ways.

“To understand who shares Russia’s aims, look for where Russia goes shopping for weapons to sustain its campaign of destruction in Ukraine.

“It’s Iran and North Korea – two other countries whose primary exports are destruction, disorder and fear.”

THE RED ROAR  

With Washington focused on the Middle East, Beijing could stand to benefit from a distracted US as it prepares for a future clash over the fate of Taiwan. 

China watchers have long feared Xi is waiting for the right moment to lurch across the South China Sea and submit the small island nation to the will of the People’s Republic.

For years now, the world has watched anxiously as China ramped up its military drills and menacing provocations towards self-governing Taiwan and the US responded by increasing commitments to its faraway ally. 

And behind the scenes – dangerous play appears to be work. 

On Friday, the Pentagon announced that China has significantly expanded its nuclear stockpile over the last year, now holding 500 operational warheads – a number they hope to double by 2030.

“In our interviews with the FBI, they said… this is the most aggressive period they have ever seen of Chinese activity,” Seth Jones, an expert at Center for Strategic and International Studies recently said.

“One official said to us: ‘The system is blinking red right now’.”

A conflict between China & Taiwan would be World War 3

Professor Kerry Brown, King’s College London

And if China makes good on its threats of a lightning fast invasion across the Taiwan Strait – the US, the rest of the West and Russia might very suddenly be forced to step in.

And the impact of such an invasion could be catastrophic for the world.

“Now is a really treacherous moment,” Kerry Brown, a professor of Chinese Studies at King’s College London, told The Sun.

“We’ve got a new kind of geopolitics.

“If the Israel-Gaza conflict is long term and with the Ukraine war – all of these things are big distractions.

“The West is weaker. Nato is not as strong as it once was and they’re constantly trying to make sure local conflicts don’t escalate and flare into regional and global ones.”

In a chilling warning, he said: “But I tell you, China and Taiwan, that’s the one that could bring the whole damn global system to a shuddering halt.

“It will make all of these other conflicts look like a picnic party on a Sunday afternoon.”

The West, he argued, needs to be aware that a conflict between Taiwan and China could “decimate the global economy and the existing security architecture in the Asia Pacific”.

“It would pretty much be World War 3,” Prof Brown said.

NUCLEAR ABYSS 

Fanning the flames that could ignite a new world war is the pariah nation that has loaded up half the Korean peninsula with nuclear warheads. 

Kim Jong-un might be banished from most of the world – but his regime is interwoven in some of the darkest corners of global conflicts, experts warn.   

A menace to the Western world, the tyrant is continuing to threaten to use nukes against its rivals, while provoking South Korea with missile tests.

This week, evidence even emerged that North Korean weapons were likely used in Hamas’s terror assault on Israel – a stark warning of how far the state’s blood-soaked tentacles reach.

Meanwhile, Kim has been cosying up to fellow outcast Putin – together vowing in September to fight a “sacred” battle against the West.

Their “friendship” tour stoked fears of a new axis of evil between the two nuclear-armed, warmongering tyrants.

Experts claim Putin is eager for North Korea’s stockpile of artillery shells to be used in Ukraine, while Kim is looking for help with satellite technology and upgrading its Soviet-era military equipment.

No weapons deal has been formally announced, but Washington fears negotiations are “actively advancing”.

“All this is concerning,” Dr Edward Howell, an expert on North Korea from Oxford University, told The Sun.

In the current geopolitical climate, the risk of nuclear escalation from the sinister state is particularly “intense”, he explained.

“By framing the US as a hostile power determined to overthrow the regime, Kim justifies defending North Korea with more aggressive nuclear armament and use policies,” he said.

And he needs to look to other partners in destruction to secure his cash flow.

For Russia, North Korea is an “obvious, easy choice to be a partner in crime at a time when Putin doesn’t have many friends”.

“I am concerned about the creation of a network of nuclear proliferation that could expand to include other rogue states,” Howell added.

North Korea has done this before, he explained, by establishing illicit networks between Pakistan, Syria and Libya where they exchange nuclear materials, knowledge and advice.

Howell expects this tactic to continue as “right now, King Jong-un needs money to fund the nuclear programme and a slush fund for the regime”.

He puts it this way – in 2021 Kim defined “a shopping list for new types of weapons he wanted” and “he is quickly getting through it”.

As new battle lines are drawn across the map, a growing coalition of evil appears to be taking shape with rogue and pariah states increasingly finding ways to fuse their interests.

The Israel-Hamas war could herald in a new dawn that changes the world as we know it, and as Professor Brown puts it “bringing the whole damn [thing] to a shuddering halt”.

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