Focus of Biden’s Mideast Trip May be Iran; The Jan. 6 Fallout
Author: Greg Valliere
July 13, 2022
main focus of President Biden’s trip will be to send a strong signal of U.S. resolve
in the deepening conflict between Israel and Iran.
ISRAELI OPERATIVES, fearful that Tehran could assemble a crude nuclear bomb within weeks or months, have stepped up their attacks on high-ranking Iranians; several have been killed in bold Israeli attacks, many inside of Iran. And a leader of the Islamic State was killed in a counterterrorism operation conducted by the U.S. earlier this week.
WITH A NEW IRANIAN NUCLEAR TREATY looking unlikely, Tehran has stepped up its support of terrorism in the region — and may be close to forming an alliance with Russia.
VLADIMIR PUTIN WILL VISIT IRAN just days after Biden’s meetings, amid reports that Iran will deliver hundreds of drones to Russian troops in Ukraine. This has the
potential to widen the ongoing Israeli-Iranian conflict to a larger stage; any overt
involvement by Tehran in the Ukrainian war could prolong the conflict — with its energy and food inflation — well into the fall or longer.
OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON have been disappointed by Israel’s tepid reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, so Biden will begin his trip by seeking a more robust Israeli stance. He should be able to accomplish that, which would be coupled with the standard U.S. assurance of unwavering support for Israel.
THE MEDIA FOCUS OF THIS TRIP will be the photo op between Biden and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has enraged human rights advocates. But the real diplomatic focus of this trip will be on isolating the Iranians — who directly threaten Israel, Saudi Arabia and other U.S. interests in the region.
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THE JAN. 6 HEARINGS AND THE DAMAGE DONE: With only one hearing left, two conclusions stand out. First, there’s ample evidence for the Justice Department to indict Donald Trump on a wide range of charges — witness intimidation, inciting a riot, election tampering, etc. Whether Attorney General Merrick Garland seeks indictments is different issue; he surely knows that whatever he decides will ignite another spasm of bitter partisanship.
THE SECOND TAKE-AWAY is that Trump’s chances of winning the 2024 GOP nomination have been grievously wounded. Close to a majority of Republican voters now want someone else, probably Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Here’s how weak Trump is: Joe Biden has some of the worst polling numbers in history — but Biden still beats Trump in one-on-one matchups.
WE HAVE ARGUED FOR MANY MONTHS that neither Biden nor Trump will be their party’s nominee in 2024 — either they will be defeated or will choose not to run. That assessment still looks likely.
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