It is busy in and around the Eastern Mediterranean. American officials are almost in a fight there, be it President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, or CIA Director William Burns. They visit not only Israel, but also Egypt, Iraq, Jordan or Turkey, the Saudis, Qataris and others are spoken of. We probably don’t even know about some contacts.
From the beginning, Joe Biden has tried to balance his role as an ally of the State of Israel with other interests and goals. The Americans provided diplomatic and political support to Jerusalem, but also began supplying ammunition and weapons. But it is also true that the one who takes also undertakes to listen to the giver.
Apparently, the Israelis were postponing the ground part of the operation in Gaza under pressure from Washington and perhaps losing valuable days. The Americans needed time to secure their civilians and military personnel in a large area.
It was rumored that they also appealed to the Israelis to think carefully about both the Gaza operation itself and what they would do with it after their victory. This is the recent American experience in both Afghanistan and Iraq. It is one thing to win a war, and another to win peace afterward. Undoubtedly, he is also talking about the fact that Jerusalem should tame the radical settlers in the West Bank.
One Israeli commentator pointed out that instead of rejecting the guilty Netanyahu, the old fox Biden “embraced” him. But in such a way that the Israeli prime minister has little chance to make decisions regardless of America. Others put it in such a way that part of Israel’s politics is now being done right in the Oval Office of the White House.
The Americans also communicate intensively with their Arab partners, who also have their own interests and dilemmas. Although it is not said much, a substantial part of Arab governments wish the destruction of Hamas no less than they wish the destruction of Hezbollah.
But they don’t talk about it out loud, because a significant part of the Arab public chooses Hamas between Israel and Hamas, or at least they judge that any Israeli military action against Hamas is actually a war against the Palestinians.
The Americans loudly called for a short truce, possibly the creation of humanitarian corridors, also in order to maintain their credibility in the Arab world. And everyone, Americans, Arabs, and Israelis, are afraid that other fronts will not open, because the conflict could completely spiral out of control in such a domino way.
Arab governments also see that conflict suits Iran, to the benefit of Arab states. In addition, somewhere in the background, a problem that preoccupies Israelis, Arabs and Americans is still brewing, and that is Iran’s nuclear program. October 7, among other things, means the collapse of Biden’s policy towards Tehran, based on the belief that it will be possible to come to an agreement.
The United States first sent two aircraft carriers with an escort to the area, and later also a submarine, to give advance warning to anyone who would threaten American interests or its allies. It’s actually quite symbolic, the US has returned to the neglected Mediterranean with full steam, so to speak.
This is no less impressive than the fact that the supposedly eternally sleepy President Biden personally visited two countries at war, Ukraine and Israel, in a single year.
The author is a commentator on Czech Radio