Casting doubt on the potential success of Israel’s war with Hamas, President Joe Biden’s administration’s support was couched with fear over lacking an “achievable plan of action.”
After committing tens of billions to Ukraine for the better part of two years despite no clearly defined outline on victory, the White House is hedging on even standing aside as Israel aimed to eliminate Hamas. Having dispatched U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. James Glynn to Israel to advise on Israel Defense Forces (IDF) planned ground operation in Gaza, a New York Times report featured the concerns of officials as many called for a continued delay.
Though a Pentagon spokesperson had told Axios Monday that, “The IDF will, as always, make its own decisions,” details about conversations between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant spoke heavily to the challenges of urban combat and the importance of abiding by the law of war.
“In his conversations with Mr. Gallant,” the Times reported, “Mr. Austin has described the hard-fought campaign to clear the Iraqi city of Mosul of Islamic State fighters in 2016 and 2017. At the time, Mr. Austin was the head of the United States Central Command, and American troops were backing their Kurdish and Iraqi counterparts in the fight.”
An emailed statement from Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick S. Ryder spoke to discussions of American security assistance to the Middle Eastern nation, and the newspaper continued, “But the administration is also concerned, the officials said, that the Israel Defense Forces do not yet have a clear military pathway to achieve Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s goal of eradicating Hamas.”
“In conversations with Israeli officials since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7, American officials said they have not yet seen an achievable plan of action,” stated the Times.
Calling in from Cairo, Egypt while traveling with a delegation that also visited Israel and Saudi Arabia, Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed (D) said, “From an operational standpoint, this is very complicated, and the more intelligence you gather and your troops can take into urban combat, the better.”
On social media, he expressed, “We reinforced Israel’s right to defend itself and the obligation to protect innocent lives in Gaza & across the globe.”
Traveled w/ bipartisan group of colleagues to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt to show U.S. support for Israel & discuss security matters throughout the region. We reinforced Israel’s right to defend itself and the obligation to protect innocent lives in Gaza & across the globe. pic.twitter.com/ygo46zfwVM
— Senator Jack Reed (@SenJackReed) October 23, 2023
However, in his call with the Times he added, “A little extra time might be helpful. There are so many factors. Rushing into this probably is not the best approach.”
As it happened, Biden had also addressed a clearly defined mission while in Tel Aviv, Israel and spoke to the need of “clarity about the objectives and an honest assessment about whether the path you’re on will achieve those objectives.”
Meanwhile, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) joined CBS’ “Face The Nation” Sunday to throw his weight behind the president’s plan to focus continued military aid on Ukraine with a smaller portion going to Israel.
“I view it as all interconnected,” he told host Margaret Brennan before boasting about what he considered wins from the ongoing war with Russia. “We’re rebuilding our industrial base. The Ukrainians are destroying the army of one of our biggest rivals. I have a hard time finding anything wrong with that.”
By contrast, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) knocked Biden’s proposal as a “slush fund…dead on arrival, just like his budgets” through which “$3.5 billion to address the ‘potential needs of Gazans,’ [was] essentially functioning as a resupply line for Hamas terrorists,” and money to Ukraine was going toward “funding retirement pensions for Ukrainian government employees.”
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