THE Gaza crisis could spiral into an all-out world war in six terrifying steps, an ex-Navy chief has warned.
If things “go really wrong”, Admiral Lord West predicted the UK and US could seeon the ground in Israel – and Lebanon, Syria, Iran and Russia might be drawn into the fight.
Tensions in the Middle East have soared since Hamas terrorists unleashed hell onto Israel during their unexpected October 7 attacks that left some 1,400 Israelis dead.
The full force of Israel’s military might has been massing on the border for two weeks as Gaza braces itself for the looming full-scale ground invasion – and what Israel expects to be a “long war”.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that every Hamas terrorist is “marked by death” and said Israel is “fighting for its existence” against “new Nazis”.
Meanwhile, at least 4,000 Palestinians have been killed after almost two weeks of Israel pounding the densely-populated enclave from above.
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Rockets, air, hospital bombings and a humanitarian crisis have ensued, while and Lebanon’s Hezbollah threaten to open up new fronts.
“It is a dangerous, heady mix,” Lord West told The Sun. “This might turn into a fight.”
In a flammable mix of promises of revenge, military alliances, violent protests and high civilian casualties – the crisis could be a powder keg about to be lit.
Lord West laid out how the crisis could descend into World War 3.
Predicting what could take place in thedays, weeks or months, the former Navy chief predicts it could all kick off with a heavy-handed, high civilian approach by Israel.
“Israel, quite understandably, wants revenge,” he said.
However, “if she lashes out and overreacts in a way that will make the Arab world recoil inand cause a backlash”, he added.
The current siege of Gaza and the impending Israeli invasion could likely be that ticking point.
“With no food, electricity, water plus an attack by ground forces there’s a potential for masses and masses of Palestinian casualties,” he said.
“And when you get huge numbers of casualties, that’s when the Arab world will change their view.”
And importantly, Lord West added: “If there are huge casualties in Gaza then there’s a possibility that Hezbollah would get involved.”
WAR SPREADS TO LEBANON
Iran-backed Hezbollah has a strong military and political grip on Lebanon – and has already fought a devastating war against Israel in 2006 that claimed 1,200 lives.
Since Hamas unleashed hell on Israel on October 7, Hezbollah has been sending “solidarity” rockets across Israel’s northern border and threats to join the war “when the time comes”.
The result has been sporadic deadly clashes at the border, one of which hit a group of international journalists, killing one and injuring six.
Foreign powers have urged Hezbollah to stay put on the sidelines over fears the conflict will spill over into Lebanon and open a new front.
This is a uniquely dangerous situation, Lord West said.
If Hezbollah got involved, he said “that would be a real problem for Israel”.
If things escalate between Israel and Iran, there’s a real danger of the US and UK getting involved
Lord Admiral West
Jerusalem has long seen the Lebanon-based terror group as a bigger threat than Hamas with their more advanced weaponry, including precision-missiles and drones.
“Israel would again react very strongly against them, no doubt conducting attacks into Lebanon,” Lord West explained.
“Lebanon is actually in a hell of a mess anyway… it could easily collapse, which would cause more uncertainty there.”
Already Brits have been ordered by the Foreign Office to immediately get out of Lebanon as violent pro-Palestine protests broke out.
The US embassy in Beirut was targeted and UK ministers fear that the Israel-Hamas war could spill into the fragile nation at any moment.
ASSAD & PUTIN TEAM UP
With the possibility of Lebanon in shambles, the next step could be for Russian-backed Syria to join in, Lord West suggested.
“[Bashar al] Assad would be very stupid, but he might feel that he should somehow be involved,” he said.
“The problems there being that Assad is supported by Russia,” he added, explaining that would be a means for Putin to be pulled into the dogfight.
West noted how the Israel-Hamas war is already “fantastic” for Putin “because it’s taken people’s eyes off the Ukraine conflict”.
“So the more he can stoke it up, the happier he’ll be.”
And the happier his pariah pal Iran will be.
A WAR WITH IRAN
A nation hellbent on destruction, Lord West believes Iran could “try to use her ability to inspire terrorism in other countries to provoke attacks on Israel”.
“So that would make Israel feel that there should be some reaction against Iran,” he said.
The retired admiral said if it became “really bad” and Israel attacked Iran then “there’s no doubt” Iran wouldn’t accuse the US and the UK of being involved.
“So suddenly the thing has expanded quite dramatically,” West added, explaining that “Iran sees us as the little Satan, the great Satan being America”.
Iran is a key backer of Palestine terror group Hamas – as well as Lebanon-based Hezbollah.
And Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has already warned Israel that it will be “eradicated” in another “shockwave” following the Hamas terror outrage.
Tehran has repeatedly warned that a ground assault on Gaza would be met with a response from other fronts.
US & UK ENTER THE FIGHT
The UK and US have already sent military and naval forces to support Israel in their fight against Hamas and to reinforce regional stability.
And on Friday a US Navy warship fired what are believed to be America’s first shots in defence of Israel.
The warship, operating in the Red Sea, downed drones and missiles launched by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen believed to be targeting Israel.
A brutal and protracted war is expected to take place after Israel’s military rumbles into the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, the embattled nation could end up fighting against Hezbollah on its northern front where it’s sent thousands of freshly drafted reservist troops.
“If Israel begins to fall apart due to Hezbollah and Hamas then there’s a real danger then of the US and UK getting involved,” Lord West suggested.
And “if things really go wrong”, Nato “will be looking to increase our capability in the eastern Med because this might turn into a fight”, he said.
SAUDI ARABIA FORCED IN
The last step to a terrifying puzzle of pieces that could plunge the world into war would be for Saudi Arabia to step into the chaos, Lord West explained.
For years, Iran has supported Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who are at war with their large Islamic neighbour,.
They also share Iran’s distinct hatred for the US and Israel.
Already, rockets have begun being fired at military bases hosting US forces in Syria and Iraq by the terrorists after President Joe Biden affirmed rock-solid support for Israel.
The volatile and gun-toting Houthi’s have been provoking Saudi Arabia by shooting Iranian-supplied missiles into its territory.
This fact, mixed with the general chaos that could envelop the Middle East, Lord West said could enrage the Kingdom enough to “become involved” in the carnage.
Fears of the Gaza crisis opening multiple new fronts are mounting – and exploding tensions risk drawing in a large number of countries.