Big Headline today?
Israeli Prime Minister defiantly proclaims he will keep pushing against Hamas with Gaza strike’s….
There are media reports that American President Biden is losing his ‘patience’ with Israel’s treatment of Gaza’s inhabitants which is hurting Biden politically and earning Israel virtually no support around the world….
There ARE still over 100 hostages in captivity….
I also report below on the BIG picture in the Middle East between the US and Iran…..
Here’s what to know
For all the fears of an outbreak of fighting in the Middle East that could draw the United States, Israel and Iran into direct combat, a curious feature of the conflict so far is the care taken — in both Tehran and Washington — to avoid putting their forces into direct contact.
No one knows how long that will last, American and European diplomats and other officials say. But 100 days into the conflict, the assessment of most of the key players is that Iran has pushed its proxies to make trouble for the American military and to pressure Israel and the West in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the shipping lanes of the Red Sea while going to some lengths to avoid provoking a larger eruption.
It is the most delicate of dances, rife with subtle signals, attacks and feints, and deniable action. The evidence of caution is piecemeal, but everywhere….
However happy Iranian leaders may be to stir the pot in the Middle East, all-out war is not in the interests of a country whose supreme leader is in poor health and whose streets have been filled with protesters in recent years. What the Iranian leadership cares about the most is “regime stability,’’ said Ryan C. Crocker, a former U.S. diplomat.
The United States, too, has tried to keep the fighting contained.
But history is replete with failed efforts to keep American troops out of conflicts half a world away that were spinning out control, as was made clear by the U.S. entry into World War I in 1917, World War II in 1945, Korea in 1950 and Vietnam, gradually, in the 1960s. Accidents, assassinations, sinking ships and guidance systems gone awry can all undermine the most carefully planned strategy…..
Yet the strategy carries risk for Iran. Mr. Biden’s options for calibrating the U.S. response would become far more limited if American soldiers or contractors died in a proxy attack — something that very nearly happened in several recent incidents. If Americans are killed, the pressure to direct attacks at Iran will rise sharply, officials acknowledge.
“For the Iranians, it’s been very good for them so far, but it’s getting to a point where it’s becoming very risky,” said Rainam al-Hamdani, a Yemen analyst who has studied the Iran-Houthi relationship. He added, “One misstep from one of these proxies, if it hits in the wrong place at the wrong time, we really risk a regional war.”
On President Biden ‘losing his patience …
President Biden and other senior U.S. officials are becoming increasingly frustrated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rejection of most of the administration’s recent requests related to the war in Gaza, four U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the issue told Axios.
Why it matters: Since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack 100 days ago, Biden has given Israel his full backing, with unprecedented military and diplomatic support, even while taking a political hit from part of his base in an election year. That support has largely continued publicly, but behind the scenes, there are growing signs that Biden is losing his patience, the U.S. officials said.
- “The situation sucks and we are stuck. The president’s patience is running out,” one U.S. official told Axios.
- “At every juncture, Netanyahu has given Biden the finger,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who has been in close contact with U.S. officials about the war, told Axios. “They are pleading with the Netanyahu coalition, but getting slapped in the face over and over again.”
Behind the scenes: Biden hasn’t spoken to Netanyahu in the 20 days since a tense Dec. 23 call, which a frustrated Biden ended with the words: “This conversation is over.” They had spoken almost every other day in the first two months of the war….
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on January 14 that Israel will continue its fight against Hamas until the IDF achieves a “complete victory.” Netanyahu said that he told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the Israel-Hamas War is also the United States’ war because Israel is fighting Iran’s Axis of Resistance. Netanyahu’s stated war aims are destroying Hamas as a governing body and military force, rescuing the Israeli hostages, and “deradicalizing Palestinian society.”
* My count of days would have been 96….But the Israeli’s and US count it as day 100 so I go with the 100 count….
image….President Biden sits with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the Israeli war cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv on Oct. 18, 2023. Photo: Miriam Alster/AFP via Getty