Yes, Biden DID Approve Iran's Attack

Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP

Joe Biden's administration gave Iran the go-ahead to strike at Israel. 

Here's the $64,000 question: was it wise for Biden to do so, or was it a betrayal of Israel?


By Saturday evening, I had begun to suspect that the Iranian attack on Israel wasn't just coordinated with Hezbollah, which launched its rocket attacks on the Jewish state, but also with Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and...the United States. Probably, the other Gulf states were also given a heads-up before Iran officially announced their retaliatory strike against Israel. 

Now, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but there were lots of indications that this was not an Iranian attack designed to blindside Israel and start a full-scale conflict, but rather a face-saving move to demonstrate that Iran will not sit idly by as Israel kills off its senior military officials on what amounts to Iranian territory. 

Striking a consulate is, technically, attacking the sovereign territory of a nation. 

As you recall, Israel bombed the Iranian consulate in Damascus on April 1st, killing Mohammad Reza Zahedi, a top commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), and six others. Iran was not going to let this go without retaliation, and everybody knew that, including Israel. 

As I followed the very slow-moving news Saturday evening, I realized that Iran was essentially putting a searchlight on its drones and cruise missiles and that it would be no surprise at all that they would all be shot down. Further, Iran quickly called the strike a conclusion to the dispute and said they had no interest in further hostilities. 


It was all for show. 

Iran informed Turkey in advance of its planned operation against Israel, a Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters on Sunday, adding that Washington had conveyed to Tehran via Ankara that any action it took had to be "within certain limits."

Turkey, which has denounced Israel for its campaign on Gaza, said earlier on Sunday that it did not want a further escalation of tensions in the region.

The Turkish source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan had spoken to both his US and Iranian counterparts in the past week to discuss the planned Iranian operation, adding Ankara had been made aware of possible developments.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to Fidan to make clear that escalation in the Middle East was not in anyone's interest.

"Iran informed us in advance of what would happen. Possible developments also came up during the meeting with Blinken, and they (the US) conveyed to Iran through us that this reaction must be within certain limits," the source said.

The US signed off on the attacks, not in the specifics, but in the general substance. I find this utterly unsurprising since everybody involved wants to avoid escalation in the war. Israel has its hands full, Iran wants the war to remain a proxy battle, and every Arab state wishes that Iran and the Palestinians just go away. Nobody likes either of them, whatever they say. 


Israel has become a de facto ally of the Arab governments in their cold war with Persian Iran and a growing trade partner with these countries. Trump's Abraham accords and, give him credit, Jared Kushner's diplomacy remade the Middle East map, and only Iran wants to see that changed. That is the meaning of this war in which Hamas was unleashed. As much as Hamas is an evil death cult, they are also Iranian proxies. Iran wanted to destroy the Arab states' rapprochement with Israel, and for the most part, it has failed. 

They have succeeded, however, in splitting Western populations, which may even be better for them. Hamas' propaganda successes have been remarkable, driven almost entirely by the Western media's siding with Hamas. 

Joe Biden's appeasement of Iran has been a horrible policy, undermining Middle East stability and implicitly funding Russia's war with Ukraine. 

Still, I wonder if the Biden administration's strategy in this case wasn't making the best of a bad situation. I am not even certain that Israel itself wasn't in the loop. They almost certainly were. Biden's grand strategy is about as awful as it could be, but the tactical move in negotiating a telegraphed and very limited strike made sense. 


It's Machiavellian, but so is war. 

Ironically, this puts me in a weird place: I think Biden is one of the worst foreign policy presidents since World War II, that his Iran policies are about as stupid as they could be, abhor his vacillation on Israel, and still think that they played this case right. 

I expect that I will take some hits for admitting this; as a strong supporter of Israel and the war in Gaza, I am very sensitive to what appear to be betrayals of our ally. 

But to me, this appeared to be kabuki theater by all the actors, carefully coordinated to help everybody save face. It is a big win for Israel, assuming nothing more happens. 

Expect me to be outraged at Biden in a moment or two, but I give him a pass on this one. 

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