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Commentary: Biden Administration Destabilized Middle East Peace

By Ben Weingarten

Will Donald Trump win the 2024 election?

Commentary by Ben Weingarten originally published by RealClearPolitics and RealClearWire

In the fog of war, it can be easy to lose sight of the most fundamental question any country must ask of itself: What does the national interest demand?

One group has sought to cut through the fog of the Israel-Hamas war by providing an extensive but accessible report on the critical events and crucial questions that have arisen since the conflict began. It sheds light on what Americans should demand of our leaders on Middle East policy in general, and our approach to this war in particular.

The first-of-its-kind report, published on Dec. 1, comes from the nonpartisan Council for a Secure America, an organization “dedicated to promoting United States energy independence” as an imperative for ensuring our national security, and a proponent of U.S.-Israel relations and the Abraham Accords in connection therewith.

The report examines “the geopolitics that led to October 7, what happened on October 7, and a phase-by-phase analysis of Israel’s military response,” in part through the lens of the historic pact between Israel and its Sunni Arab neighbors. It succeeds in synthesizing a wealth of critical information in a reference useful to all, from lawmakers to laymen.

Logically, and in my view correctly, it begins by placing the Hamas massacre in its proper context: that this was an Iran-backed intifada-in-a-day, perpetrated by a genocidal jihadist group supported by three-quarters of Palestinian Arabs from Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinian Authority – and staged from land that Israel had ceded them.

These points have been lost as the Biden administration presses for “peace” after the fighting is over, a goal somehow to be achieved with a Hamas-lite-controlled Palestinian state consisting of a populace overwhelmingly desirous of war against Israel.

The report homes in on how oil revenue is the lifeblood of the Iranian mullahcracy and indicates that unenforced oil sanctions on Iran in recent years have been pivotal to refilling the mullahcracy’s coffers. This, in turn, has helped the regime finance its proxy Hamas’ operations, culminating in the mass murder, mutilation, rape, and hostage-taking of Oct. 7.

This speaks in part to the means for Hamas’ attack. But what of the motive?

The report emphasizes that burgeoning relations between Israel, Egypt, and several Gulf States – lubricated in part by the Jewish state’s growing natural gas industry – and increasing momentum toward Israel-Saudi normalization was a major driver of the Hamas attack.

Another was that Iran was “emboldened” by the September 2023 prisoner swap with the United States, including the unfreezing of $6 billion for Tehran.

Implicit in these points is the Biden administration’s culpability in Hamas’ attack.

The Biden White House has sought to upend the Trump administration’s Middle East policy that had fostered the warming Israeli-Arab relations codified in the Abraham Accords; imperiled Iran’s mullahcracy through a maximum pressure campaign of which the Abraham Accords were one part, and overwhelming force, prudently applied, was another; and stood with the Jewish state against hostile and recalcitrant Palestinian Arab forces. The Trump administration rejected the idea that the conflict between the two sides was the key regional irritant, and that coddling the Palestinians while cudgeling the Israelis would produce peace.

The end result was that Iran and its proxies were deterred. There was regional stability. The benefits redounded to America’s national interest.

The billions in oil sales that Iran has raked in due to the Biden administration’s unwillingness to enforce sanctions, and the reward that it has provided the mullahs for their hostage-taking in still-more unfrozen billions, are but two indicators of a disastrous reversal in policy.

The administration has further empowered and emboldened Iran and its proxies through letting missile and drone sanctions lapse; de-designating the Houthis as a terrorist group; and lavishing hundreds of millions of dollars on Lebanese security forces flowing to Hezbollah, and to the Palestinian Authority and United Nations agencies like UNRWA – a portion of which flow, directly or indirectly, to Hamas in Gaza.

This is to say nothing of the Biden administration’s tapping of Qatar, which harbors Hamas’ leaders in luxury in Doha, as a major non-NATO ally, on par with Israel.

The Biden administration has lavished funds on, or partially supported, virtually all of the key actors whom the report cites as having contributed to Hamas’ attack.

These policies, which flow naturally from the administration’s radical national security and foreign personnel, are linked to its overarching ambition: to reprise the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a.k.a. the Iran nuclear deal, from which the Trump administration had withdrawn. The nuclear deal is seen as essential to making Iran the regional strong horse. Foreign policy analyst Michael Doran persuasively argues that the Israel-Saudi normalization that the Biden administration was pushing was designed to fail – it was a ruse aimed at boxing in Israel. Pursuing it in earnest would directly contradict the administration’s Iran policy. Meanwhile, from its start, the administration has shown itself to be hostile to the Abraham Accords.

This brings us to the White House’s hostility toward the Benjamin Netanyahu-led government in Israel. This can be seen not only in President Biden’s personal snubs of the prime minister, or his funding of and support for the adversarial Palestinian Authority and associated United Nations agencies that had been curtailed under Trump, but also in his efforts to delegitimize the Netanyahu government over its favored judicial reforms and other policies, while supporting the left-wing opposition.

Israel was internally destabilized, and, as the Council for a Secure America report documents, lulled into a false sense of security based on a belief in its technological superiority, intelligence prowess, and belief that Hamas was more focused on lording over Gaza than destroying the Jewish state.

Considering all these factors, plus the potential that Iran and its proxies could be facing down a Trump administration in 2025, this was perhaps the most auspicious time of all for Iran and its proxies to strike. The report proceeds to chronicle how Hamas conducted its attack, the scale and nature of the carnage it inflicted, and how Israel has responded to it. It covers critical points regarding the information warfare that has ensued, Hamas’ sinister tactics, and hostage negotiations.

And it asks critical questions regarding whether jihadist attacks will spill over to the U.S., the durability of the Abraham Accords – which, the report suggests, have held despite the pro-Palestinian rhetorical posture of several Sunni Arab states – how the war will conclude, and what the “day after” will look like.

The most important underlying question the report asks is: What does America’s national interest demand?

To that end, it calls for sanctioning Iran’s oil sales, maintaining American military force posture in the region, and supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, among other policies.

The evidence suggests that the Biden administration has done little if anything to halt Iran’s booming oil business – nor otherwise to significantly punish the regime and its allies for their malevolence. And as it is currently operating, America’s military is clearly not deterring Iranian aggression.

The administration, especially in the early days of the conflict, provided rhetorical support for Israel’s right to do what it must to defend its people. It has continued to supply Israel with the vital munitions that it needs.

But by the same token, it has micromanaged and impeded Israel’s response in material ways, essentially subjecting it to crippling rules of engagement – largely to Hamas’ benefit – while initiating an apparent whisper campaign suggesting that Netanyahu’s days are numbered, and again, seeking to pre-dictate a likely untenable “peace” in Gaza.

Some Democrats, including the president, have indicated an openness in recent days to conditioning U.S. military assistance on progressive-favored terms. The Biden administration apparently remains committed to its policy of prioritizing Iran in the Middle East, while putting the screws to Israel to the maximum extent politically possible in a country that overwhelmingly favors the Jewish state’s right to defend itself.

A final question we might ask: Whose interest is the Biden administration pursuing?

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.
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Ben Weingarten is a fellow of the Claremont Institute, senior contributor at The Federalist, and 2019 recipient of The Fund for American Studies’ Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship, under which he is currently working on a book on U.S.-China policy.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.

Deneen Borelli

Deneen Borelli is the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. Deneen is a contributor with Newsmax Broadcasting. She is a former Fox News contributor and has appeared regularly on “Hannity,” “Fox & Friends,” “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” and “America’s Newsroom.” She has also appeared on Fox Business Network programs “Making Money with Charles Payne,” “The Evening Edit with Liz MacDonald,” and “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.” Previously, Deneen appeared on MSNBC, CNN, the BBC and C-SPAN. In addition to television, Deneen co-hosted radio programs on the SiriusXM Patriot channel with her husband Tom. Recently, Deneen co-hosted the Reigniting Liberty podcast with Tom. Deneen is a frequent speaker at political events, including the FreedomWorks 9.12.2009 March on D.C. which drew a crowd estimated at over 800,000 people. Deneen is also an Ambassador with CloutHub.com, a social media platform that promotes free speech, and with the America First Policy Institute (AFPI) which advances policies that put Americans first. Deneen testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources in May 2011 and before the Ohio House Public Utilities Committee in December 2011. Previously, Deneen was a BlazeTV.com host, Outreach Director with FreedomWorks.org overseeing its Empower.org outreach program, a Project 21 Senior Fellow, and Manager of Media Relations with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Prior to joining CORE, Deneen worked at Philip Morris USA for 20 years. During her corporate career at Philip Morris she worked in various positions, her last as Project Management Coordinator in the Information Management department where she was responsible for the department’s mandated quality processes, communications, sales information and database management. Deneen began her Philip Morris career as a secretary and advanced to positions of increasing responsibilities. Deneen worked full-time and attended classes at night for 11 years to earn her B.A. in Managerial Marketing from Pace University, New York City. Deneen served on the Board of Trustees with The Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York. She appeared in educational videos for children, worked as a runway fashion model, and auditioned for television commercials. Her interests include ancient history, pistol target shooting, photography, and volunteering at her church. Deneen currently resides in Connecticut with her husband Tom.

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