CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – A professor at Coastal Carolina University with decades of defense intelligence experience is providing some context on the current situation in Israel.

Mark Chandler is a retired senior defense intelligence official with 37 years of experience. He has spent time during his career in Israel, with their army, and is well-versed in the current conflict.

By now, we have all seen the destruction and the horrifying videos and images following a surprise attack by Hamas on Israel over the weekend. And while this is happening many thousands of miles away from the Palmetto State, Chandler said there are many ways the war could impact us.

Chandler said while Iran has denied involvement in this past weekend’s terror attacks on the country, they are the primary financial backer of Hamas, and Iran’s objective is to get rid of the United States. He also discussed the U.S.’s fairly open southern border, which he believes could make us weaker.

He also noted that a former Hamas leader has called for a jihad on a global scale, and because of that, Chandler says there is a cause for worry over terrorist sympathizers who live illegally in the United States acting out against synagogues, Jewish people, or even the general population.

And while Hamas terrorists cloak this fight under the guise of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it’s important to note that all Palestinians are not Hamas. It’s a fraction of the population that has used a misinterpretation of religion and a decades-long conflict to justify unspeakable violence against both Israelis and Palestinians.

Chandler says he does not see a peaceful resolution to co-existence between Palestinians and Israelis as a likely outcome, especially given the most recent escalations.

While Israel has a very strong military and financial support, they are divided at this time, because of the challenges presented by urban warfare.

And here at home, Chandler says there are many reasons why we as a country will continue to support Israel.

“Israel is one of our staunchest allies, and as we look forward, Israel is the only democratic-elected government in the Middle East. So as an ally, and as we go forward in the Middle East, the United States is already being challenged when you start to look at China’s encroachment in the Middle East, Russia’s partnership with Iran, the U.S. could start to be second, third, fourth, fifth in influence in the middle east. When I start to look at energy prices and concerns there, and China’s encroachment there, the longer term strategic negative impact on the United States and its economy, could be one of those things,” said Chandler.

Chandler reminds everyone that as we see protests and rallies take place over the coming weekend, for all sides of this conflict, stay aware – and if you see something suspicious to call authorities.