In a shocking attack orchestrated by an Iranian-backed militant group, Israel has become the latest battleground for President Biden’s Middle East policies. As expected, critics wasted no time in holding the president accountable for the assault that left over 200 Israelis dead and numerous civilians and soldiers held hostage by Hamas in Gaza. Former President Donald Trump and several lawmakers have launched a full-frontal attack against President Biden, accusing him of emboldening Hamas and their primary sponsor Iran.
During his remarks from the White House, President Biden did not directly address the criticism coming his way. However, he did reiterate his commitment to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, assuring that the United States would always have Israel’s back. In a firm and unwavering tone, Biden stated, “Israel has the right to defend itself and its people, full stop. There’s never a justification for terrorist attacks. In my administration, the support for Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering.”
The core of the controversy lies in a prisoner swap deal brokered by the Biden administration with Iran back in September. Under the agreement, the United States vowed to unfreeze $6 billion in oil revenues that had been previously sanctioned in exchange for prisoners. The expectation was that the funds would be used for humanitarian aid. However, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s recent statement to NBC News suggesting that the money would be used “wherever we need it” has fueled concern.
Victoria Coates, former deputy national security advisor for the Middle East under the Trump administration, claims that unfreezing funds and lifting sanctions would enable Iran to finance violence in the region, including attacks on Israel. President Trump also condemned the attacks, asserting that American taxpayer dollars may have inadvertently contributed to the assault.
House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana is calling for the Biden administration to be held accountable for its appeasement of Hamas and their Iranian supporters. The administration, on the other hand, dismisses these claims as a disinformation campaign, arguing that none of the $6 billion has been spent and that the funds’ intended purpose is for humanitarian aid, unrelated to the recent attacks.
As the blame game escalates, the world watches closely to see how President Biden will address the ongoing crisis in the Middle East and whether he will take responsibility for the consequences of his policies.