Biden’s War Funding Plan. He’s Getting Nervous”… “U.S. Responsible for Escalation of the Conflict”. Philip Giraldi
Mayorkas evades accountability while Netanyahu ignores Biden
Washington is a place where a clueless politician like former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi can, with a straight face and providing no evidence, claim that pro-Palestinian protesters in the United States are working for Russia and/or China. She has asked the FBI to investigate. But in spite of that and for a change there was also some good news coming out of the Federal Capital though it was far outweighed by the bad things that the US government does almost reflexively, clearly with little regard for possible consequences.
The good news is that Ukraine and Israel, incorrectly described by the New York Times as America’s “allies,” might not soon be getting their expected fat checks and planeloads of military equipment from Washington, which will no doubt hamper their plans to weaken Russia while also killing Palestinians.
The GOP controlled House presented a unilateral standalone bill giving $17.6 billion to Israel but ignoring other alleged national security obligations being advanced by the White House. The bill was submitted “under suspension,” which is a procedural tactic that fast-tracks an item for a vote but requires a two-thirds majority to pass. It failed 250-180 in the voting last Tuesday. The House bill went down when the Democrats were able to muster enough votes to block its passage in support of White House objections, even though a formidable percentage of the House normally votes to support anything and everything related to Israel. The “no” voters argued that the GOP bill was an attempt to “undermine the possibility of a comprehensive bipartisan funding package that addresses America’s national security challenges in the Middle East, Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific region and throughout the world.”
If the bill had passed and eventually reached Biden’s desk for signature, a possibility that the White House had dismissed as a “cynical political maneuver,” he would have refused to sign it in spite of his often expressed great love for Israel. Over last weekend, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued a statement declaring that
“The security of Israel should be sacred, not a political game. We strongly oppose this ploy which does nothing to secure the border, does nothing to help the people of Ukraine defend themselves against Putin’s aggression, and denies humanitarian assistance to Palestinian civilians, the majority of them women and children, which the Israelis supported by opening the access route.”
It should be noted that Jean-Pierre is lying. It is the White House, not the GOP bill, which “denies humanitarian assistance” to the Gazans by supporting Israeli total control over the importation of relief supplies and food. According to the UN, 95% of emergency supplies are being blocked or interfered with by Israel, which continues to bomb civilians throughout the strip. In response to that reality, the White House has issued a national security memorandum that will require that countries receiving US military aid not impede the delivery of humanitarian assistance even during wartime, though the Thursday memorandum does not specifically mention it as applying to Israel, only to “allies and partners.” The aid recipients must also confirm in writing that they “will use any such defense articles in accordance with international humanitarian law.”
In a bid to counter the Republican efforts and advance his own agenda, President Joe Biden and whoever pulls his strings came up with their own war funding plan, which came apart and “crumbled” in a close 49 to 50 vote due to lack of sufficient support in the Senate on Wednesday night. The Democrats had the brilliant idea of tying in their offering of $14.1 billion in aid to Israel to the $60 billion to be given to Ukraine to get them through the next year plus $4 billion for Taiwan.
Also included was $10 billion in humanitarian aid, but as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency program for Palestine (UNRWA) was predictably blocked from receiving any of it, the $1.4 billion allocated to Gaza would likely not actually have been delivered in any case in spite of Biden’s promotion of the “humanitarian” aspect of the legislation. If the bill had passed, one would not have been surprised to see the bulk of the humanitarian aid winding up in Israel to compensate it for its perpetual victimhood, this time allegedly meted out by Hamas!
The White House’s reasoning behind the initiative was that by wrapping all the commitments together in an omnibus Senate bill, Congress wouldn’t dare withhold money from Israel and the other aid packages could slide through the process without any serious opposition. But the Republicans were able to muster enough “no” votes from congressmen concerned about where the money was coming from to pay for the aid to block the Senate bill. A third “national security” spending bill is nevertheless now in the works, having passed through the Senate on Thursday night by a filibuster proof 67 to 32 vote. It includes the money for Ukraine and Israel as well as for Taiwan and for “humanitarian” programs, but it still has to pass through further tweaking in the Senate to satisfy Republican concerns about immigration and the border, followed by a second vote in the Senate before it then goes on to the House of Representatives for final approval before landing on the presidential desk. So at this point nobody gets anything, which is a perfect solution when one is fighting three or four technically illegal wars, one involving genocide, in which money provided to Israel plausibly involves the United States in supporting a crime against humanity.
On the same previous day as the vote in the House on the Israel aid, the GOP, unfortunately, also failed in its bid to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas by a vote of 216-214. Four Republicans voted against together with all the Democrats on grounds that impeaching a cabinet secretary over policy disagreements sets a bad precedent. Mayorkas’ record regarding relatively free entry of waves of literally millions of illegal immigrants from Mexico is well known, but the presumption is that he is carrying out policies under instructions from the president. The border has become known as such an easy way to enter the US that charter flights to Mexico from places like India and Africa are regularly being run to bring in the new illegals. Interestingly the failed Senate bill relating to Israel and Ukraine funding also included as a sweetener some guidelines regarding changes regarding border and migrant “security” issues, though Republicans observed that the language was such that Mayorkas would continue to have a free hand in setting policy and enforcement, meaning that there would likely be no change from the current laissez faire. Mayorkas defended himself against attacks in a Senate hearing by Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who was, ironically, challenging the secretary over a pro-Palestinian employee at Homeland Security, by characteristically citing his Jewish ancestry-bestowed victimhood and the so-called holocaust. He said angrily
“Perhaps he does not know that I am the child of a Holocaust survivor. Perhaps he does not know that my mother lost almost all her family at the hands of the Nazis. And so I find his adversarial tone to be entirely misplaced. I find it to be disrespectful of me and my heritage. And I do not expect an apology.”
So the utterly incompetent Mayorkas survived, But the worst news of the week has to relate to the continuing warfare going on and also escalating in the Middle East. The region has been simmering ever since Israel launched its devastating attack on the mostly civilian population of Gaza in early October. The bombing and shooting of civilians has continued in spite of a judgment by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel was engaging in actions that could be characterized as genocide. The United States, which is continuing to arm and fund Israel, could be seen, in legal terms, as an accessory to genocide given the terms of the court ruling. Israel, for its part, was warned that it must cease and desist from targeting and killing civilians, blocking food and other relief supplies to encourage both famine and disease, and destroying critical infrastructure like water treatment plants and hospitals.
The United States is responsible for escalating the conflict through its total support of Israel and its attack on the Houthis as well as the current strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq. Hypocritically the White House is at the same time boasting that it is not expanding the war because it has not yet struck Iran, as the Israelis are stridently seeking. To retaliate against a drone attack that killed three US soldiers at a base straddling the Jordan-Syria border, the United States attacked more than 85 targets in Syria, Iraq and Yemen simultaneously, killing at least forty civilians in Syria as well as a high level Iraqi militia commander in Baghdad. The multi-million-dollar cruise missiles and smart bombs being used by the Navy and Air Force are reportedly expensive and already hard to replace. And why is the White House bombing so many targets in Iraq and Syria when only one US base which may have actually been in completely illegally in Syria was hit? The one site that launched the device that struck the base was reportedly among the targets, but the effectiveness of the retaliation is unknown, meaning that the US is engaged in collective punishment and killing innocent tribesman living in the deserts in western Iraq and eastern Syria as well as in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. This is itself an escalation and more will surely follow, inevitably creating new enemies who will be motivated to seek revenge against Americans at the remaining bases. The smart policy would be to shut down the illegal bases in both Syria and Iraq, as has been demanded by the local governments and people, but that would mean not being able to steal more Syrian oil. This escalation was not the right response, but no one expects Biden and his crew to be smart.
In fact, the local militia fighters wasted no time and struck back immediately, killing six US-supported Kurdish fighters by way of a drone strike on a US base in eastern Syria. The men were killed in an attack on the US facility located at al-Omar oilfield in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor province. A further 18 militiamen were wounded. Additional attacks on US bases in Syria and Iraq are likely to increase, not decrease in the coming weeks, with no end in sight. If anyone can explain why the United States continues to shoot itself in the foot both worldwide and at home it would certainly be interesting to hear a whole new series of lies to justify bad policies and performance. In 2015 distinguished journalist Robert Fisk asked what is “The difference between America and Israel?” He answered “There isn’t one. Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America – with the same confidence that he can support his army when they slaughter hundreds of children in Gaza.” He has now observed that the 2016 election was between a “Liberal American Zionist fascist,” and a “Conservative American Zionist fascist,” with the latter winning in 2016, and the former in 2020. And now we’re likely back to the latter in 2024.
Joe Biden is clearly getting nervous. In an impromptu speech on Thursday responding to disparaging comments made by the special counsel investigating his mishandling of classified documents, he denied suffering from memory problems. Unfortunately, in his comments he described Egypt’s President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi as the leader of Mexico. But he also delivered a scathing comment on Netanyahu that has resonated, saying “I’m of the view, as you know, that the conduct of the response in Gaza, in the Gaza Strip, has been over the top. I’ve been pushing really hard, really hard, to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza. There are a lot of innocent people who are starving. There are a lot of innocent people who are in trouble and dying. And it’s got to stop.” Israel is currently bombing the Rafah area in Gaza, which is packed with refugees as Israel had previously declared it to be a “safe” zone. During Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s recent visit to Israel, he reportedly told Netanyahu that that Washington wouldn’t support any “unplanned” ground operation in Rafah. The Israeli Prime Minister angrily rejected the advice and Israel escalated attacks anyway.
One has to wonder if Joe Biden is up to improving his re-electoral prospects in the nine months remaining until the election by abandoning his hitherto sordid defense of Israel’s crimes. And, if he does so, what will he do when Bibi and the Israel Lobby begin pushing back real hard on him, as they inevitably will?
This article was originally published on The Unz Review.
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is firstname.lastname@example.org.