Iran vs Israel Geopolitical Tensions Escalate: The World Goes Jittery

By: Prof. Dr. Drs. Ermaya Suradinata, S.H., M.H., M.Si.

Editor: Dhania Puspa Purbasari

Global uncertainty is increasing as geopolitical tensions between Iran and Israel escalate after a series of incidents between the two countries.

Tensions were escalated by the attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, on 1 April, which was then triggered by Iran’s counter-attack on Israel on 13 April.

Then, on Friday (19/4) morning, Israel reportedly launched a missile allegedly aimed at an air base near the Iranian city of Isfahan.

The tensions between Iran and Israel have inevitably drawn the world’s attention, creating concern and unease in the international community.

The geopolitical rivalry between the two countries is no new phenomenon. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, relations between Iran and Israel have steadily deteriorated.

Israel, as the United States’ main ally in the region, blames Iran for supporting militant groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Iran accuses Israel of aggression against the Palestinians and openly challenges its existence.

Tensions have increased since Iran began developing its nuclear programme. Although Iran claims its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes, Israel and many Western countries consider it a serious security threat.

The tension reached its peak when the United States withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2018. It then reimposed strict economic sanctions on Iran.

This move provoked a strong reaction from Iran, which naturally increased tensions in the region.

Strengthening Middle East proxy-conflicts

In addition to the direct conflict between the two countries, their tensions have also strengthened proxy-conflicts across the Middle East.

Iran’s role in the Syrian conflict, its support for the Houthi rebellion in Yemen, and its influence in Iraq are increasingly threatening Israel and its allies.

Conversely, Israel is also accused of carrying out airstrikes against Iranian military outposts in Syria and supporting Iranian opposition groups.

These tensions have serious consequences for both regional and even global stability. The already volatile Middle East is thus increasingly vulnerable to a greater escalation of conflict, potentially involving major powers such as the United States, Russia and China.

Fundamentally, the conflict has its deep roots in the Middle East’s complex history and regional dynamics. Tensions between Iran and Israel have long existed, mainly due to ideological differences and conflicting geopolitical interests.

Iran, led by Islamists, often adopts anti-Israel rhetoric and supports militant groups in the region, such as Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Meanwhile, Israel, as the world’s only Jewish state, feels threatened by Iranian rhetoric and actions that threaten its existence.

Thus the attack on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Syria, represents an escalation in the regional conflict in Syria, in which Iran and Israel have been indirectly involved through their support of the warring parties within the country.

Global uncertainty is thus increasing as the conflict between Iran and Israel not only has local repercussions, but could also lead to wider tensions in the region, including involving other major powers such as the United States and Russia, each of which has strategic interests in the Middle East.

Indonesia’s Geopolitical Perspective

Indonesia’s geopolitical perspective on tensions between Iran and Israel continues to reflect the principles of foreign policy based on independence, peace and impartiality.

Indonesia has consistently affirmed its commitment to peace and stability in the international region, including in the Middle East, and endeavours to be a neutral mediator in regional conflicts.

As one of the countries with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia has a special interest in maintaining stability in the Middle East region, where the majority of the population is Muslim.

Indonesia’s stance on the Iran-Israel conflict will not be influenced by religious factors, but rather based on the principles of diplomacy, dialogue and peaceful conflict resolution.

As a country that adheres to the principle of neutrality and supports international peace, Indonesia has a strong interest in maintaining regional stability.

Conflicts in the Middle East have the potential to affect world oil prices, which is a vital commodity for the Indonesian economy. As an oil-importing country, fluctuations in global oil prices can directly affect Indonesia’s economic conditions.

Tensions between Iran and Israel could create uncertainty in the world oil market, potentially destabilising the domestic economy. Simultaneously, tensions in the Middle East could also potentially trigger an increase in overall energy prices.

This will not only impact the oil sector, but also other energy sectors, such as natural gas and coal.

An increase in energy prices will increase production and transport costs in Indonesia, which in turn could disrupt economic growth and regional stability.

In the face of this situation, Indonesia will likely increase its diplomacy and mediation role to prevent further escalation in the conflict between Iran and Israel.

With its strong reputation in international diplomacy, Indonesia can serve as an effective mediator to facilitate peaceful dialogue between the two sides.

Indonesia as mediator

The escalating tensions between Iran and Israel have a broad and significant impact on Indonesia’s geopolitics. As a country with an important role in regional and global foreign policy, Indonesia has a responsibility to contribute to addressing the conflict.

With a prudent diplomacy policy, Indonesia can play an effective mediator role in mediating the conflict between Iran and Israel.

As a respected and neutral country, Indonesia has the potential to facilitate the necessary amicable dialogue between the parties and create a platform to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Effective mediation efforts from Indonesia can help prevent further escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

By promoting dialogue and cooperation between Iran and Israel, Indonesia can play a key role in deescalating tensions and creating a conducive environment for peace and stability in the region.

Not only that, Indonesia’s role in addressing tensions between Iran and Israel also has a significant impact on global and regional economic stability.

As a country with a growing economy and dependence on international trade, Indonesia has a direct interest in ensuring that conflicts in the Middle East do not disrupt global economic balance and regional stability.

As a country with a respected reputation in international diplomacy, Indonesia has proven capable of facilitating dialogue between the various parties involved in the conflict.

By adopting a neutral approach and grounded in the principles of peace, Indonesia can be an effective mediator in helping to resolve the conflict between Iran and Israel.

Indonesia’s effective mediation efforts can also prevent further escalation in the conflict.

By promoting dialogue and cooperation between the two sides, Indonesia can help ease tensions and create an environment conducive to reaching a peace agreement.

Indonesia has long supported Palestine’s right to independence and condemned actions that threaten peace in the region.

However, Indonesia also recognises the importance of dialogue and diplomacy to resolve protracted conflicts.

Within the ASEAN framework, Indonesia seeks to promote regional dialogue and cooperation in Southeast Asia, including efforts to address conflicts in the Middle East region.

Although ASEAN is not directly involved in the Iran-Israel conflict, the multilateral approach adopted by Indonesia and other ASEAN countries can make a positive contribution in reducing tensions and finding a sustainable solution.

As such, Indonesia regards the conflict between Iran and Israel as a serious challenge to regional stability and world peace.

As a country that values the principles of peace, diplomacy, and independence, Indonesia is committed to playing an active role in mediating these conflicts and promoting dialogue between the two sides to reach a just and sustainable settlement.

The escalating tensions between Iran and Israel is not only a localised geopolitical dynamic in the Middle East, but also has the potential to have a significant impact on Indonesia’s geopolitics.

(Prof. DR. Drs. Ermaya Suradinata, SH, MH, MSI, is the former Director General of Sospol of the Ministry of Home Affairs RI, Rector of IPDN, Governor of Lemhannas RI, and currently the Board of Experts for Geopolitics and Geostrategy of BPIP RI.)