Why Instability In The Middle East Could Be A Test For Biden Administration
On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a listening session with representatives of Palestinian and Arab-American groups, during which they discussed rising fury with President Joe Biden over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war, according to an anonymous source.
Biden has stood staunchly beside prominent US-ally Israel in its response to the October 7 Hamas attack that killed about 1,400 people. Daily Israeli air strikes on the impoverished Gaza Strip have so far claimed lives of more than 5,000 Palestinians, according to local tallies.
Islamophobia And Anti-Arab Sentiment
Arab-American groups have raised concerns over the administration’s position triggering a rise in Islamophobia and anti-Arab sentiment. In a distressing incident in Oct, a Palestinian-American in Chicago was stabbed to death by his landlord, who allegedly attacked him over the war.
Moreover, there have been several reports of attacks on Jewish people in the US. The loss of support of Arab Americans could be critical for Biden, who is running for re-election next year. Arab Americans came out in unprecedented numbers to support the Democrat in 2020.
The National Columnist Hussein Ibish’s Take On War
Hamas sought to provoke an emotional overreaction from Israel, and there is every indication that they have succeeded. Moreover, Israel is talking about a long-term conflict, which must be music to the ears of everyone involved in the Hamas leadership and their Iranian sponsors.
Already there is significant unrest in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. If that spreads to holy places, above all the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, then it will be much more difficult for Lebanon’s Hezbollah and other Iranian clients to sit by and do nothing.
Both Hezbollah and Iran want the militant group to stay out of the fray and instead remain a deterrent against Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear facilities. But if smaller Lebanese groups keep attacking Israel, a vicious cycle could spiral out of control.
What’s The Good News? What’s The Better News?
If Israel finds itself in a multi-front conflict, there is every reason to suspect it will not be satisfied leaving Iran unscathed. If that happens, the international community can expect direct Israeli strikes on Iran, potentially unleashing a disaster for the Middle East.
The good news is that Iran appears strongly inclined to prevent Hezbollah from being dragged into this conflict. Tehran is not going to want to waste its deterrent against Israel on Gaza. And the even better news is Biden will not stand by and let a regional disaster unfold.