Friday, May 24, 2024

Breaking: Biden’s Vow for ‘Ironclad’ US Support after Iran Attacks

HomeWARBreaking: Biden's Vow for 'Ironclad' US Support after Iran Attacks

In an audacious and unprecedented provocation, Iran launched a blistering attack on Israeli military facilities late Saturday, marking the first time it has directly struck the Jewish state. The barrage of explosive drones and missiles triggered an emergency crisis response by President Joe Biden, who raced back to the White House, condemning the “brazen” assault while rallying allies for a unified diplomatic rebuke of Tehran.

The strikes by Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps across several locations in Israel came in retaliation for the Jewish state’s deadly missile attack just days earlier on Iran’s embassy compound in Damascus. That strike killed a senior operative masterminding Iranian military operations across the Middle East.

As Iranian munitions rained down, the Biden administration scrambled fighter jets, aircraft carriers, and ballistic missile defense ships into the region over fears the tit-for-tat violence could escalate into a catastrophic broader conflict. Israel claimed its vaunted air defenses knocked most of the Iranian projectiles from the sky, but the barrage still managed to puncture a milestone in the longstanding shadow war between the bitter regional rivals.

Cutting short a trip to Wilmington, Delaware, Biden gathered his top national security brass, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, and CIA Director William Burns, in the storied White House Situation Room. The president sought to project resolve by vowing America’s “ironclad” backing for Israel, while also trying to de-escalate the crisis through diplomacy and stern private warnings to both sides.

“I told [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] that Israel demonstrated a remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks – sending a clear message to its foes that they cannot effectively threaten the security of Israel,” Biden declared in public remarks.

Yet multiple U.S. media outlets reported that the president delivered a starkly different private message to Netanyahu—don’t escalate further by launching a counterattack. Biden purportedly told the Israeli leader to claim the successful downing of Iranian munitions as a “win” and stand down from any potential offensive strikes against the Islamic Republic.

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Citing the “catastrophic” oil price shocks and severe economic fallout that could jeopardize his re-election prospects in November 2024, Biden made clear the U.S. would oppose and refuse to participate in any new Israeli operation targeting Iran, the outlets reported.

The delicate balance Biden attempted to strike—deterring further Iranian aggression while tamping down the spiral of retaliatory strikes between the rivals—underscored the treacherous geopolitical minefield facing the U.S. in the perpetually volatile Middle East.

With his administration already struggling to revive the tattered 2015 nuclear deal as Tehran enriches uranium toward weapons-grade levels, Biden aimed to rally greater diplomatic pressure from allies as a counterweight.

“Tomorrow, I will convene my fellow G7 leaders to coordinate a united diplomatic response to Iran’s brazen attack,” Biden vowed, referring to the Group of Seven leading economic powers of the U.S., U.K, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan.

The drone and missile volley marked a provocative new escalation by Iran against its archfoe Israel—one that could scramble the delicate regional power dynamics. While Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps proxies have long harried Israeli interests from Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories, the Islamic Republic had never launched such a direct, frontal assault on the Jewish state.

Israel’s military claimed the barrage consisted of 29 drones and cruise missiles, 25 fired from neighboring Iraq and 4 from deep within Iran’s borders, highlighting Tehran’s expanding precision strike capabilities. It boasted that air defense systems intercepted 16 and struck several others before reaching their targets, while 13 landed in open areas.

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If accurate, the mitigation of the strikes represented a potent display by Israel’s multilayered air defense shields like the Iron Dome, david’s Sling and Arrow systems in deflecting Iran’s latest salvo. But the attacks punctuated how the Iran-backed militia presence in nations like Iraq has given Tehran a potentially menacing new staging ground to threaten Israel.

For Biden, the eruption of hostilities posed a nightmare scenario—a perilous regional flare-up with an adversary that risked dragging in U.S. forces ahead of his expected re-election campaign. With soaring oil prices and inflation already battering Americans’ wallets, the president knew the economic shockwaves of another Mideast war could imperil his political fortunes.

Which perhaps explained his administration’s apparent urgency in seeking to put a lid on the crisis, even as it proclaimed America’s “ironclad” allegiance to the Israeli ally it was pressuring to show restraint.

Multiple reports depicted tense private calls between Biden and Netanyahu, with the U.S. leader warning him not to pursue further retaliation lest the cycle of violence spiral out of control. The Israeli prime minister has faced domestic pressure to strike back forcefully after the Iranian attack.

Yet Biden seemed to calculate that de-escalating the crisis offered the best chance to preserve America’s military option against Iran’s nuclear program through diplomacy. As the U.S. still aims to revive the moribund 2015 nuclear pact, launching new strikes could shatter that fragile process and put Tehran’s atomic ambitions on an even faster track.

The high-stakes brinkmanship unfolded at a pivotal moment for Biden’s national security agenda. Administration officials had appeared optimistic in recent weeks that a roadmap to restore the Iran nuclear deal could be achieved, despite fierce Republican opposition.

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But Iran’s targeting of Israeli soil marked a provocative new line that may scramble those diplomatic calculations.

Even as he rallied America’s closest allies, the president knew any further escalation risked igniting a regional conflagration with unforeseen consequences for U.S. forces stationed across the Middle East. With thousands of American troops still deployed in hotspots like Iraq and Syria where Iranian proxies held sway, the stakes could hardly be higher.

In his public remarks to the nation, Biden made clear the U.S. military remained “vigilant to all threats” and ready to unleash overwhelming force if American assets came under attack. Mobilizing bombers and missile defense systems to the region offered a preview of potential U.S. reprisals.

“We will not hesitate to take all necessary action to protect our people,” Biden warned in a primetime address from the Cross Hall.

For now, the president seemed focused on exhausting all diplomatic avenues and economic sanctions to compel Iran to stand down, rather than pursuing another ruinous Mideast military engagement.

But that could become untenable if Iran escalates further or if domestic political forces demand Biden project strength against a bitter adversary that has long taunted the U.S. as the “Great Satan.”

How the president navigated the explosive new crisis could foretell whether his approach of relentless diplomacy and deterrent force could contain Iran’s regional aggression and nuclear program without igniting an inferno.

Biden’s ability to prevent a disastrous wider war could also prove an unexpected early test of his political standing heading into an expected re-election campaign. For a president already grappling with economic headwinds, the specter of Middle East conflict threatened to open yet another ominous front.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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