Professor JUSTIN BRONK said that if Iran attacks Israel in retaliation for invading Gaza, Moscow and Beijing will be compelled to step in and the war could escalate.
He pointed out that Iran and its Hezbollah proxies in Lebanon provide a potential second front, with the US warning Hezbollah and Iran to stay out of the war.
Professor Bronk, a senior research fellow at London’s Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), added that Russia and China have been relatively restrained so far.
But if Iran gets involved, then Russia might support it – and the war could include the US if Iran or its proxies attack Israel over the coming weeks.
Israel has now bombed areas of southern Gaza where it told Palestinians to flee ahead of an expected invasion, killing dozens of people.
Violence along Israel’s border with Lebanon has also led to concerns over a widening regional conflict that diplomats have been working to prevent.
It comes after historian Niall Ferguson wrote in the Sunday Times that the situation had a ‘unpleasant 1930s feeling’, asking: ‘Will there be a World War Three?’
The appalling mass violence unleashed upon Israeli communities by Hamas has produced the predictable heavy bombing campaign against Hamas targets throughout Gaza, and preparations for a large-scale ground offensive by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).
Alongside at least 1,400 Israelis killed in the initial assault, more than 2,700 Palestinians in Gaza have now been killed in retaliatory strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza.
The death toll on both sides, but especially among Palestinians, will increase rapidly when the IDF launches its ground operation to root out Hamas fighters, leaders, and infrastructure.