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How escalating tensions in Middle East threaten Asia's security

Risk of multifront conflict grows as 'axis of war' nations deepen military ties

Demonstrators wave an Iranian flag in Tehran on April 15, two days after Iran unleashed a drone-and-missile attack against Israel in retaliation for a presumed Israeli airstrike on the Iranian embassy compound in Syria on April 1.   © AP

TOKYO -- The ominous shadow of war is covering the entire Middle East, with Iran and Israel hitting each other directly. How much these tensions will escalate is anybody's guess.

The situation has deteriorated much faster than many experts in the region had imagined. When I visited the Middle East in early November, local officials and experts said the worst near-future scenario would be the conflict spreading beyond the Gaza Strip, igniting a full-scale conflict between Lebanon's pro-Iranian armed group Hezbollah and Israel.

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