North Korea is part of a coalition of countries allied with Hamas and could attack the United States over the war in Gaza, a senior Hamas official said, praising Kim Jong Un as the “only one” capable of carrying out such a strike.
“The leader of North Korea is, perhaps, the only one in the world capable of striking the United States. He is the only one,” Ali Baraka said during an interview posted Nov. 2 with a Lebanese YouTube channel Spot Shot, the Washington-based Middle East Research Institute reported.
“The day may come when North Korea intervenes because it is, after all, part of [our] alliance,” he said.
With the outbreak of war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, Baraka said that states that frequently experience friction with the United States or who consider Washington to be an enemy are coming together as allies.
“All of America’s enemies in the region are consulting and getting closer, and the day may come when they join the war together, and turn America into a thing of the past,” he said, suggesting that the United States would go the way of the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991.
Baraka said that Russia is in daily contact with Hamas, and that a Hamas delegation traveled to Moscow and will soon travel to Beijing.
He also said that Iran – an ally of Hamas – does not have the capability to strike America, although if it decides to intervene, it could strike Israel or American bases in the region.
“Iran does not have weapons that can reach America, but it can strike Israel and the American bases and ships in the region, if the U.S. clearly expands its intervention,” he said.
While Pyongyang has publicly declared its support for Hamas, attacking the United States over the war in Gaza – or any future conflict in the Mideast – is very unlikely, several U.S.-based experts told RFA Korean.
“I don’t take these comments very seriously because Kim Jong-Un is not going to risk his own neck to help Hamas,” said Michael O’Hanlon, senior fellow of the foreign policy program at The Brookings Institution.
David Maxwell, the vice president at the Center for Asia Pacific Strategy told RFA that a combined Hamas and North Korean attack was unlikely and Pyongyang was using the conflict in Gaza to condemn the United States. From North Korea’s perspective this “is part of its normal blackmail diplomacy.”
Still, North Korea working with Hamas poses a threat, said Patrick M. Cronin, the Asia-Pacific security chair at the Hudson Institute.
“While [Pyongyang] has little interest in the Hamas agenda of eradicating Israel, it also has few inhibitions about helping enemies of its adversaries should there be something in it for the Kim regime,” he said.
“America and our allies need to be vigilant about possible technology transfer, about opportunistic provocations in multiple regions, and about ensuring our allies know they have our full support, but we also need to find diplomatic opportunities to weaken the natural seams between the members of an axis of evil before it coalesces further.”
North Korea expressed its support for Palestine last month through the official state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper, saying that the war between Israel and Hamas was caused by Israel. On Nov. 5, it criticized the United States for its military support for Israel.
Kim Jong Un, the country’s supreme leader, also recently ordered to find a way to support Palestinians, including by selling weapons to Middle East militant groups, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Translated by Claire Shinyoung Oh Lee. Edited by Eugene Whong and Malcolm Foster.