Middle East: Biden’s Middle East trip riskiest of his presidency

WASHINGTON: Joe Biden heads to the Middle East on doubtlessly the riskiest journey of his presidency Tuesday, aiming to string the needle between supporting Israel in opposition to Hamas, averting disaster in Gaza and stopping a regional conflict.
The US president will fly right into a conflict zone for high-stakes talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in key ally Israel on Wednesday, then head to Jordan for a four-way summit with regional leaders.
The 80-year-old Biden’s diplomatic drive can be one of many greatest gambles of his lengthy profession in each political and safety phrases, and a check of US affect in a tinderbox area.
“He is coming right here at a important second for Israel, for the area and for the world,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated as he introduced Biden’s go to throughout his personal marathon diplomatic drive.
The New York Instances referred to as it a “journey fraught with dangers”.
Biden made a top-secret journey to war-torn Ukraine final yr to display US help for the pro-Western nation’s battle in opposition to Russian invasion.
Regardless of frequent air raid warnings, US officers say the safety risk to Biden in Israel is decrease. However the political stakes on this go to are arguably far better.
Blinken stated the president needed to point out “ironclad” help for Israel after the Palestinian militant group Hamas burst via its closely fortified Gaza border on October 7, capturing, stabbing and burning to loss of life greater than 1,400 individuals, most of them civilians.
The present of solidarity is particularly vital in US considering amid fears that Iran or its Lebanese ally Hezbollah might become involved. Washington has despatched two plane carriers to the area to discourage them.
Nevertheless, the Democratic president deliberated rigorously earlier than accepting the invitation to go to from right-winger Netanyahu, who has ordered preparations for what is anticipated to be a bloody floor offensive in opposition to Hamas in Gaza.
The danger is that Biden finds himself too carefully related to an Israeli invasion of Gaza, which is already being subjected to a withering marketing campaign of air strikes which have leveled swaths of the enclave and killed greater than 2,700 individuals.
– ‘Proper time’ –
Requested if Washington anticipated Israel to attend till after Biden’s journey to launch any floor offensive, Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby stated, “we’re not dictating phrases or operational instructions to the Israelis.”
Biden’s show of help for Israel additionally crashes in opposition to a doubtlessly contradictory intention: ongoing US and worldwide efforts to ease the devastating influence of the conflict on Palestinian civilians.
He has in current days elevated strain on Israel to guard civilian lives from the air strikes and a siege that has left Gaza prone to a humanitarian catastrophe.
“The president believes that that is precisely the precise time to go to Israel and to go to Jordan,” Kirby advised CNN on Tuesday.
Biden will “converse to different leaders within the area, in regards to the humanitarian help that we need to ensure that will get into Gaza, about Israeli plans and intentions going ahead,” he added.
In Jordan, Biden will meet King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt — the primary two Arab nations to make peace with Israel — in addition to Palestinian chief Mahmud Abbas, a Hamas foe based mostly within the West Financial institution.
Talks with Sisi are prone to concentrate on his refusal to date to open the Rafah border crossing to Palestinians massed in southern Gaza as they flee the anticipated Israeli invasion.
Jordan’s royal court docket voiced hopes that the four-way summit might assist “revive the peace course of” between Palestinians and Israel, which has been at a standstill for years.
The world, and America’s rivals like China and Russia, can be watching the outcomes of Biden’s journey carefully.
The US president nonetheless has rejected questions on whether or not Washington could be overstretched by supporting allies at conflict in each Israel and Ukraine.
“We’re the US of America for God’s sake. Probably the most highly effective nation within the historical past of the world,” Biden stated in an interview broadcast on the CBS Information program 60 Minutes on the weekend.

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