The Iranian proxy organization Hamas that runs Gaza attacked Israel this morning, overwhelming its vaunted Iron Dome missile-defense system by the sheer number of rockets launched. Hamas troops infiltrated Israel to kill and kidnap civilians.
Ultimate fault for the crisis lies with the Islamist tyrants in Gaza who launched this sneak attack on a Jewish holiday—as well as the Iranian government of which they are but an instrument. But it is impossible not also to fault the Biden administration for its policy of funding Hamas and enabling Iran.
Whereas the previous Republican administration had put Iran and its proxies on the back foot and achieved historic peace and diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arab governments of the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco, President Joe Biden and his top aides entered office determined to return to policies of the past. Foremost among these were trying to establish copacetic relations with Iran and restore payola to the worst elements that rule Palestinians under a brutal tyranny in Gaza.
In Biden’s first year in office the administration began showering Palestinian authorities with $360 million in aid despite its own internal assessment that the funds it provided would likely make their way to Hamas. The administration ignored a demand from Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and eighteen other senators that the aid be halted unless it could be safeguarded from the terrorist group.
The White House also bragged about all that it was doing beyond mere payola to elevate the Palestinian people, including “bolstering economic growth” and “fostering people-to-people dialogue to support peace.”
Today, that people-to-people dialogue became open combat.
Biden resumed the pretense that normal relations with Iran’s Islamist government were possible and desirable. Endless pathetic talks and sanctions relief, including unleashing a massive amount of sanctioned Iran oil, were supposed to convince Iran to ease off its nuclear program. Instead, the soft approach has allowed Iran’s nuclear program and other misdeeds to progress. Iran can now launch satellites and has a uranium stockpile enriched to 60 percent—each component just one step short of a crude nuclear arsenal that can be delivered globally.
The Biden administration’s approach requires make-believe that Iran’s government isn’t fundamentally and irrevocably committed to exporting terrorism and Islamist tyranny. It also pretends that Hamas, which Arab governments correctly see as an armed extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, is somehow not an instrumentality of Iran and its ambitions. Biden has returned U.S. policy to the misguided view that solving the Palestinian issue is the key to solving problems across the Middle East. On the contrary, while there are plenty of bad actors in the Middle East, including many who hate each other, the Iranian government is at the heart of the problem, and embraces diversity among the terrorists and Islamists it supports. Iran even hosts al Qaeda’s leadership.
Today’s surprise attack is not just a lapse of Israeli intelligence, but of our own $80 billion-per-year intelligence bureaucracy, which is distracted by the proxy war we are fighting against Russia in Ukraine and a war no one can explain in Syria. The U.S. government has never had the leadership necessary to focus on tracking and undermining political Islam (as opposed to the meaningless construct of “violent extremism”). The chief animating force behind these elements is the Iranian government, which Biden just paid $6 billion for five hostages.
Progressives have already begun blaming the victim of today’s war. Establishment icon Ian Bremmer this morning referenced the “utter desperation of [G]aza [P]alestinians, with many seeing no options for their future but the launch of a suicidal war.” In fact, Palestinians in Gaza have virtually no say in their future, governed as they are by the tyranny of Hamas. The White House and progressives want to blame the war on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a way to undermine his own conservative government while distracting the public from the Biden administration’s own part in this new conflict.
What America and the Middle East need is clear leadership from a new president who will put Iran’s government on the defensive–militarily, politically, and economically. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis didn’t mince words this morning, declaring: “Iran has helped fund this war against Israel, and Joe Biden’s policies that have gone easy on Iran has helped to fill their coffers. Israel is now paying the price for those policies.” He added: “We’re going to stand with the State of Israel, they need to root out Hamas and we need to stand up to Iran.”
Our chief adversary in the world is China, but there should be no mistake that Iran remains a crucial threat. It threatens not only Israel but all of our allies in the Middle East and an oil and gas supply from the region that will be critical for the U.S. economy for decades to come. The importance of this region also now extends beyond oil to being a key source of capital, especially as Europe declines, and economies like the UAE diversify.
We need a new policy to pressure Iran and a new president to execute that policy.
Christian Whiton was a senior adviser in the Donald Trump and George W. Bush administrations. He is a senior fellow at the Center for the National Interest.
This piece was republished with permission from Christian Whiton’s Substack, Super Marco.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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