With Israel Facing A Grave New Threat, Biden’s Job Just Got Trickier
While presidential races don’t usually hinge on troubles in distant countries, the ongoing armed conflict involving Israel and the Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas threatens to undercut Joe Biden’s argument that his foreign policy expertise is making the world more secure.
The surprise Hamas attack on Israeli towns early on Saturday expose an “enormous intelligence failure by the Israelis and the Americans,” said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer and Middle East specialist. It is frankly astounding that nobody saw this coming.
War Complicating Israeli-Saudi Normalisation Deal
Israel is known to have arguably the most extensive and well-funded intelligence services in the Middle East. However, the assualt raises fresh questions about what the US is getting in return for the time spent building surveillance capabilities and partnerships in the volatile region.
President Biden is facing accusations from political opponents that global trouble spots are multiplying on his watch. In fact, polls reveal Americans are turning against the administration’s arms deliveries to Ukraine in its brutal war for democracy with Russia.
And the Israel-Hamas conflict is complicating an Israeli-Saudi normalisation agreement on which the Biden administration has spent an enormous amount of effort. Once there are pictures of Palestinian casualties, the Saudis will likely not accept a normalisation deal.
US Releasing $6 Billion In Frozen Iranian Assets In Focus
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidates have also shined the light on Washington’s recent decision to lift the freeze on $6 billion in Iranian assets in exchange for five American prisoners. Iran has historically funded Hamas, with whom Israel is now at war.
Nonetheless, there is no evidence the $6 billion helped finance the assualt. According to US officials, the money can be used only for humanitarian purposes. Yet in an interview with NBC news, Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi said his government would decide how it would spend the amount.
The US President’s Job Has Just Got Trickier
Biden has faced demands to toughen his posture toward Iran as he tries to revive a nuclear agreement reached when he was Barack Obama’s vice president. In 2018, Donald Trump pulled out of the deal, which was meant to stop Tehran from developing nuclear weapons.
Now, with Israel facing a grave new threat, the US president’s job just got trickier. He must manage a delicate relationship with Israel’s Netanyahu, help Ukraine repel Russia’s brutal invasion and win a race against political opponents challenging his foreign policy.