Iran’s network of proxy militias uniformly rallied around Hamas in its multi-prong attack on Israel, including murderous atrocities against hundreds of civilians, on Oct. 7, 2023. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that the war “sends a message to the Arab and Islamic world, and the international community as a whole, especially those seeking normalization with this enemy, that the Palestinian cause is an everlasting one, alive until victory and liberation.” Hezbollah is Iran’s largest proxy and the most heavily armed non-state actor in the world. The Lebanese militia has fought repeated wars with Israel, between 1982 and 2000, and again in 2006. It has the largest arsenal of any militia along the Israeli border.
In Iraq, Hadi al Amiri, leader of the Iranian-backed Badr Organization, warned that it would retaliate if the United States intervened in the war. “We will consider all American targets legitimate,” he said on October 9. President Biden ordered the deployment of the USS Gerald R. Ford, a carrier strike group of several warships that carry at least 70 warplanes. The Pentagon also announced that it would “augment” its advanced F-15, F-16s, and F-35s in or near the Middle East. Washington issued multiple warnings to militias or governments in the Middle East to avoid intervening in the war. “To any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of the situation, I have one word: Don't,” President Biden warned on October 10.
Even U.S. allies in the region expressed support for the Palestinian cause. After a joint telephone call with, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi stressed the importance of Arab and Muslim unity for “what our Palestinian people are exposed to, and defending their sanctities, security, and legitimate rights, which were violated by the Zionist occupation forces,” according to a statement from the Iraqi leader’s office. Sudani, a Shiite, has good relations with neighboring Iran, a predominantly Shiite country.
The Iraqi and Egyptian leaders called for urgent action “to avoid further violence, the consequences of which will have serious impacts on the region. They appealed to the international community to play a role “in stopping racist policies and working to preserve the right of the Palestinian people to live in dignity on their land.” Washington has long provided aid to both countries--$449 million to Baghdad and $1.4 billion to Cairo in fiscal year 2023. The following is a rundown of statements by Iran’s allies and other regional players.
Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah’s statement on Oct. 7, 2023
“Hezbollah congratulates the resisting Palestinian people and the heroic fighters of the Palestinian factions, especially our dear brothers in the al Qassam Brigades and the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, for the wide-ranging and divinely supported heroic operation, promising complete victory.
“This triumphant operation is a decisive response to the ongoing crimes of the occupation and continuous violations against sanctities, honors, and dignities.
“It is a renewed confirmation that the will of the Palestinian people and the rifle of the resistance is the only choice in confronting aggression and occupation.
“It sends a message to the Arab and Islamic world, and the international community as a whole, especially those seeking normalization with this enemy, that the Palestinian cause is an everlasting one, alive until victory and liberation.
“We call on the peoples of our Arab and Islamic nation, and the free people around the world, to declare their support and backing for the Palestinian people and the Resistance movements, affirming their unity in blood, word, and action.
“The leadership of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon is closely following the significant developments on the Palestinian scene, monitoring the field conditions with utmost interest. They are in direct contact with the leadership of the Palestinian Resistance both domestically and abroad, constantly evaluating the events and the progress of operations.
“Thus, we call on the government of the Zionist enemy to comprehend the important lessons established by the Palestinian Resistance in the battlefield and arenas of confrontation.”
“We are following up on the enemy's step, we are maintaining full readiness and when the time comes for any action we will do it.”
"We will contribute to the confrontation within our plan... when the time comes for any action, we will carry it out."
“The behind-the-scenes calls with us by great powers, Arab countries, envoys of the United Nations, directly and indirectly telling us not to interfere will have no effect.”
“Your battleships do not interest us, nor do your statements frighten us.”
Hezbollah statement on Oct. 11, 2023
“We consider the United States a full partner in the Zionist aggression and hold it fully responsible for the killing, criminality, siege, destruction of homes, and horrific massacres against defenseless civilians, including children, women, and the elderly.”
“We call on the masses of our Arab and Islamic nation, which knows the ugly truth of America and its aggression against the peoples of our nation in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, to condemn the American intervention and its international and regional partners and to expose this intervention at all political, popular, media, and legal levels and in various regional and international forums and gatherings.”
Badr Organization (Iraq)
Leader Hadi al Amiri's statement on Oct. 9, 2023
“If they intervene, we would intervene ... we will consider all American targets legitimate.”
Asaib Ahl al Haq (Iraq)
Leader Sheikh Qais al Khazali in a statement on Oct. 7, 2023
“The results of Operation (Al-Aqsa Flood) have warmed our hearts and the hearts of all believers and free resistance fighters in all parts of the earth since the morning... Our tongues are eager to pray for you for victory and retaliation, and our hearts beat in support of the resistance with all their might.”
“We will continue to watch the events closely, prepared and not just spectators.”
Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba (Iraq)
Leader Akram al Kaabi in a Telegram post on Oct. 9, 2023
“We call on all our brothers and loved ones to participate in Friday’s million-man demonstrations and to adhere to the instructions of those organizing the demonstration to raise Iraqi and Palestinian flags only. Thank you.
“We affirm once again that if the Zionist entity expands the battlefield, the resistance drones and missiles will have a direct effect, and that any intervention by evil America or any country against the Palestinian people will meet a decisive military response, and God is the best supporter and the best helper.”
Kataib Sayyid al Shuhada (Iraq)
Secretary General Abu Ala al Walai in a statement on Oct. 8, 2023
“Palestine is not Ukraine. If America intervenes directly in the events taking place there, to stabilize the collapsing entity, all American presence in the region will turn into legitimate targets for the axis of resistance, and the strike will then be met with strikes, and on that day there will be no red lines left.”
Ashab al Kahf (Iraq)
In a statement on Oct. 11, 2023
“We in the Islamic Resistance, Ashab al Kahf (Companions of the Cave), condemn the humiliating silence of the international community, most of whom are those who claim humanity. We also denounce the Bedouins’ indecency to calm down and the condemnation of some of them for the heroism of the resistance brothers in Palestine and the attempt to export their victory as an act of terrorism, and in confirmation of our firm belief in the necessity of insulting and curbing those who are arrogant in our belief in the Zionists. We affirm our full readiness in equipment and gear to support our people in Palestine. Our goals exceed the enemy’s imaginations, and we do not forget to remind the greatest enemy, America, that its forces and bases are within range of our missiles and marches, and we are only waiting for the leadership’s order to level it to the ground so that we can march with our brothers to achieve the conquest and clear victory for Palestine.”
Houthi movement/Ansar Allah (Yemen)
Leader Abdul Malik al Houthi in a statement on Oct. 10, 2023
“We are in complete coordination with the axis of jihad and resistance to do everything we can. Coordination has certain levels of events and red lines, including if the Americans intervene directly, we are prepared to participate in missile bombardment, marches, and military options. There are red lines in the situation related to Gaza, and we are coordinating with our brothers in the jihad axis and are ready to intervene with all we can. We are keen to have options that help us do what will have a significant impact within the framework of coordination with the axis of jihad and resistance We wished that we were next to Palestine, and if that were possible for us, our people would have initiated hundreds of thousands of fighters to defend Palestine, but before us is the geographical area, and no matter what the obstacles, we will not hesitate to do everything we can.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Oct. 7, 2023
“The resistance factions in occupied Palestine recorded a new line on the path to achieving inalienable Palestinian rights in Operation al Aqsa Flood, which began this morning against the racist Zionist entity. The operation comes one day after the anniversary of the great Arab victory on Oct. 6, 1973. This honorable achievement achieved by the Palestinian people proves once again that the only way to achieve the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people is resistance in all its forms and to challenge the arrogant Zionist occupation authorities whose extreme right-wing government has increased its repressive measures against the brotherly Palestinian people... The Palestinian resistance and its heroes deserve all support from all Arab countries and from those fighting for freedom, progress and independence all over the world.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al Sudani
In a statement on Oct. 9, 2023
“The government expressed its position regarding the events taking place in occupied Palestine, and that the government’s position is a confirmation of Iraq’s firm position.” Towards the Palestinian issue and the struggle of the Palestinian people. This intifada is a natural result due to the extent of the great injustice that has been inflicted on the Palestinian people over the past period, from the continued violations and transgressions against Al-Aqsa Mosque, the settlement policy, and the crimes committed against the Palestinian people over the past period. Unfortunately, these crimes and these violations were before them. The international community remained silent and ignored, and renounced its decisions. The Palestinian people have lost confidence in the international system, and in the so-called charters that govern the United Nations, the Security Council, and international agreements, to put an end to this Zionist recklessness towards the rights of the Palestinian people, and they have found no way but resistance. As a government, we expressed our position, and the political forces also expressed statements and positions, and they are a reflection of the adoptions of our people. The government’s efforts continue to communicate at the level of our contacts with presidents, and there is also communication by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Arab and Islamic countries, and there is research. It could be to hold a summit for the Arab League, or for the Conference of Islamic Cooperation Countries. What concerns us now is stopping this escalation for fear of sliding into a dangerous level of security repercussions that may create tragic situations in the region."
Prime Minister al Sudani’s Media Office statement on Oct. 7, 2023
“Prime Minister Muhammad Shia’ al-Sudani discussed this evening, in a telephone call with the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the developments of events in the Palestinian territories. During the call, the importance of the unity of the Arab and Islamic position regarding what our Palestinian people are exposed to, and defending their sanctities, security, and legitimate rights, which were violated by the Zionist occupation forces, was emphasized. The two presidents stressed the need for urgent action to avoid further violence, the consequences of which will have serious impacts on the region, and for the international community to take its role in stopping racist policies and working to preserve the right of the Palestinian people to live in dignity on their land.”
Other Regional Players
Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan al Saud before meeting with Secretary of State Blinken on Oct. 14, 2023: “It’s a disturbing situation. It’s a very difficult situation. And the primary sufferer of this situation are civilians – civilian populations on both sides are being affected. And here it’s important, I think, that we all condemn the targeting of civilians in any form, at any time, by anyone. And I think that’s something that’s very clear, that’s something that’s clearly adopted by the Arab League.
“But that said, the priority now needs to be to stop further civilian suffering. And here, we need to find a way to quickly de-escalate the situation, to quickly bring back peace, at least stopping the guns, and then working towards addressing also the humanitarian challenges.
“So here I have to emphasize that the humanitarian situation in Gaza is very, very difficult, and we need to work together to make sure that access for humanitarian relief and humanitarian goods is allowed. This is something that is critical and is of course enshrined in international law.
“And we need to work together to find a way out of this cycle of violence. This is something that we really, really need to focus on. Without a concerted effort to end this constant return to violence, it will always be the civilians that suffer first and always be civilians on both sides that end up paying the price.
“So I hope that we can find a way to de-escalate the current situation, and then hopefully move forward to a more permanent solution.”
Saudi Press Agency on Oct. 7, 2023: “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is closely following the developments of the unprecedented situation between a number of Palestinian factions and the Israeli occupation forces, which has resulted in a high level of violence on several fronts there.The Kingdom calls for an immediate halt to the escalation between the two sides, the protection of civilians, and restraint.
“The Kingdom recalls its repeated warnings of the dangers of the explosion of the situation as a result of the continuation of the occupation, the deprivation of the Palestinian people of their legitimate rights, and the repetition of systematic provocations against its sanctities. The Kingdom renews the call of the international community to assume its responsibilities and activate a credible peace process that leads to the two-state solution to achieve security and peace in the region and protect civilians.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al Thani after meeting with Secretary Blinken on Oct. 13, 2023: “During our discussion, I reiterated Qatar’s firm position in condemning all forms of targeting civilians. I would like to stress that the killing of innocent civilians, especially children and women, and the practice of collective punishment policies, are unacceptable under any circumstance. These condemnations should be directed at all parties concerned on an equal basis.
“From the very first day of the outbreak of escalation of the confrontation, Qatar has sought to de-escalate the situation towards, achieve a complete cessation of hostilities, stop the bloodshed, and spare the region from the risk of slipping into an expansion of violence. The people of this region are exhausted by ongoing wars and conflicts, and suffer the consequences of such events.
“Qatar’s diplomatic priorities are to achieve an immediate ceasefire, protect civilians, ensure the release of prisoners, and work towards limiting the expansion of violence and the cycle of conflict in the region, which will inevitably result in serious consequences.
“We also exchanged views on ways to open humanitarian corridors to ensure access of humanitarian relief and assistance to our Palestinian brothers who are trapped by the constant bombardments, especially in light of the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip. In this regard, we note the tragic situation that we are witnessing in Gaza, including the shortages of basic materials and power outages due to the shelling of the Strip.
“I am certain that we are all aware we are facing a difficult reality and a stage that requires concerted efforts and endeavors. Therefore, we stress the need to strengthen our efforts with fellow allies and partners, especially the United States of America, in order to calm the situation and spare civilians the consequences of such confrontations.
“We are convinced that the only way to reach a peaceful and immediate solution to this crisis is to keep all channels of communication open with all concerned parties, and that solving this crisis requires continuous and intensive cooperation. We also appreciate all ongoing regional, international and UN efforts towards de-escalating the crisis.
“The State of Qatar firmly believes in the importance of mediation and dialogue, and considers this an integral part of our foreign policy.
“The State of Qatar has always sought to keep channels of communication open with various parties in various arenas of conflict, which has contributed to consolidating Qatar’s international position as a reliable partner in peacemaking.
“We must stress here that Qatar’s commitment to its role as a partner in peacemaking and as a mediator in resolving disputes should not be exploited with accusations that aim to harm the reputation of my country, which have been proven to be false reflecting the bad faith of their distributors.
“We also stress that the absence of a just solution to the Palestinian issue will always accompany the absence of peace in this region. Accordingly, the international community should strive towards achieving a just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian issue, within the framework of the Arab initiative, which guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and that the Palestinian brothers obtain their legitimate rights once and for all.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Oct. 7, 2023
“The State of Qatar is observing the region's expanding violence with grave concern, particularly the shelling between the Lebanese Hizballah and the Israeli army across the international border.
The State of Qatar renews its call for all parties to halt the escalation to attain calm and entirely stop the armed confrontations on all fronts to protect the region from the danger of descending into a wider cycle of violence.
In a statement on Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the continual communications taking place by Qatari officials with the relevant parties, as part of regional and international efforts to de-escalate the situation. HE Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani is directly communicating with a number of his counterparts and senior officials in the Arab region and worldwide, discussing the developments of this crisis and calling for immediate and essential measures to stop the fighting.
The State of Qatar reiterated its condemnation of all forms of targeting civilians, along with its call to protect them from consequences of the conflict, and reaffirmed that the only guarantee to achieve a sustainable peace in the region is to attain a just and comprehensive solution for the Palestinian cause within the framework of the Arab initiative that ensures the establishment of an independent Palestinian State on the 1967 borders with Eastern Jerusalem as its capital.”
United Arab Emirates
Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Oct. 8, 2023
“The Ministry stressed that attacks by Hamas against Israeli towns and villages near the Gaza strip, including the firing of thousands of rockets at population centers, are a serious and grave escalation. The Ministry is appalled by reports that Israeli civilians have been abducted as hostages from their homes. Civilians on both sides must always have full protection under international humanitarian law and must never be a target of conflict.
“The UAE expressed its condolences to the families of the victims and urges all diplomatic efforts to prevent a wider regional confrontation.
“Furthermore, the Ministry deeply mourns the loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives as a result of the outbreak of violence, and calls on both parties to de-escalate and avoid an expansion of the heinous violence with tragic consequences affecting civilian lives and facilities. The UAE underscored that the international community needs to work together to prevent the violence risking wider instability and spillover, including the involvement by other groups.
“The UAE reaffirmed that the international community must remain resolute in the face of these violent attempts to derail ongoing regional efforts aimed at dialogue, cooperation, and co-existence, and must not allow nihilistic destruction to overtake a region whose people have already suffered enough war and trauma.
“The Ministry stressed that the UAE remains in close contact with all regional and international partners to swiftly de-escalate the situation and restore calm in Israel and the OPT and a return to negotiations for a final settlement within the parameters of the two state solution for Palestinians and Israelis, who deserve to live in peace and dignity.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Oct. 7, 2023
“The United Arab Emirates has expressed great concern regarding the escalation of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and stressed the importance of halting escalation and preserving the lives of civilians. The UAE has expressed its sincere condolences to all the victims of the recent crisis.
In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) stressed that the UAE has called for exercising the utmost restraint and an immediate ceasefire in order to avoid serious repercussions.
The Ministry expressed that the UAE, as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, urges the international community to immediately reactivate the international Quartet to revive the path process of Arab-Israeli peace, and increase all efforts to achieve a just and comprehensive peace, and prevent the region from experiencing further violence, tension, and instability.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Oct. 9, 2023
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stressed the need to immediately stop the ongoing fighting between the Palestinian Hamas movement and the Israeli forces, warning that the attacks launched by Hamas constitute a dangerous escalation that threatens the lives of civilians, expressing its deep regret for the great loss of life and property, its condolences to the families of the victims, and its wishes for a speedy recovery for the injured.
“The Ministry also expressed the Kingdom of Bahrain's denunciation of what was reported in some reports of the kidnapping of civilians from their homes as hostages, calling for an end to the escalation and the avoidance of violence that threatens regional security and stability and portends dire consequences for the region.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for the international community to intervene and fulfill its responsibilities to stop the fighting and provide full protection for civilians who should not be the target of conflict under international humanitarian law, and to advance efforts to achieve peace, stability and security for all the peoples of the region.
“The Ministry affirmed that the Kingdom of Bahrain supports efforts aimed at stopping the fighting and escalation, and reaching a political solution through dialogue and negotiations and a final peaceful settlement of the conflict in accordance with the two-state solution and international legitimacy resolutions.”
Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement on Oct. 7, 2023
“The Kingdom of Bahrain is closely following the developments taking place between Palestinian groups and Israeli forces, leading to an increase in violence and armed attacks that claimed the lives of a number of people and injured others. It stresses the need for de-escalation among all parties to preserve the lives of people.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs warns that the continuation of violence will impede the efforts aiming at achieving a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, calling upon the international community to take its role in ending the armed conflict and protecting civilians in line with the international humanitarian law, in addition to supporting the peace process and establishing the Palestinian state according to the two-state solution and other international legitimacy resolutions.”