Middle East/North Africa Regional Tensions – Forecast Document

Summary – The Middle East trended toward military escalation: Cease-fire negotiations stalled; Israel prepared a Rafah ground offensive; and Hezbollah and Israel appeared to ramp up combat. A reported peace deal being hammered out by U.S. and regional actors would include a pathway for a Palestinian state.

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FORECAST INDICATORS

Military escalation

  • Israel/Hamas cease-fire talks stalled. Risk level – MEDIUM
  • Israel began preparing a Rafah offensive. Risk level – MEDIUM/HIGH
  • Egypt prepared for possible refugee spillover with construction of a security zone on Gaza border. Risk level – MEDIUM

Hybrid escalation

  • U.S. hit three individuals and four entities connected with smuggling U.S. technology to the Central Bank of Iran with sanctions. Risk level – LOW

Diplomatic de-escalation

  • The U.S. and regional actors shaped an Israel/Hamas peace deal with a timeline for a two-state solution. Details are expected in the coming weeks. Opportunity level – UNKNOWN (Item to watch)
  • France proposed resolution of Lebanon/Israel dispute. Opportunity level – LOW