Will Israel Drag the US Into Another Ruinous War?

President Biden refuses to pursue the most obvious way of de-escalating tensions and avoid American deaths: a cease-fire in Gaza. An Israeli drone struck a Hamas office as smoke rises in Beirut, Lebanon, on January 2, 2024. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has declared the Beirut explosion to be a “new Israeli crime” with the alleged intention of pushing Lebanon into a fresh phase of confrontations. America and Israel’s interests have never been fully aligned on Gaza. But as Israel’s bombardment of the narrow strip has continued for almost 100 days, the Netanyahu government is shifting in a direction that directly threatens the stated goals of the Biden administration: Israel wants to expand the war into Lebanon and appears to welcome open warfare against so-called Axis of Resistance—Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthis in Yemen, and the revolutionary government in Iran. The assassination of Hamas deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut yesterday makes that clear. So far, President Joe Biden has refused the one step that can prevent both this escalation and the US from getting dragged into yet another war in the Middle East: a cease-fire in Gaza. Since October 7, the assumption of the White House’s strategy was that in order to have credibility with Israel, Biden must first show unconditional support . Only then, the logic goes, will he have the leverage to rein in Israel. This reasoning allows the possibility that Biden wanted a cease-fire but had to earn credibility before he could press Israel. And that pressure would of course only be applied privately. Before the cameras, there would be no daylight between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Current Issue Cover of December 25, 2023/January 1, 2024, Issue December 25, 2023/January 1, 2024, Issue But as the war has progressed and more than […]

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By Donato