United States: Biden launches wider Middle East war for Israel

January 22, 2024
Cargo ship with Palestine flag overlay
The Houthis are attacking shipping to and from Israel through the Red Sea, in support of the people of Gaza. Graphic: Green Left

For weeks, Yemen's Houthi-led government has been hitting commercial shipping to and from Israel in the Red Sea, in solidarity with the people of Gaza. Israels Eilat Port has seen an 85% drop-in activity since the attacks began.

As commentator Caitline Johnstone recenly wrote: "This entirely bloodless inconvenience was all it took for Washington to attack Yemen, a war-ravaged nation."

For the past eight years, Saudi Arabia has been waging a war against the Houthis with United States weapons support. Its embargo against Yemen has resulted in a humanitarian crisis.

The US and its loyal imperialist ally, Britain, began bombing targets in Yemen — one of the poorest nations in the world — on January 11. They claimed to be protecting the Red Sea shipping routes from militants supported by Iran, but the Houthis are not attacking most shipping, only ships to and from Israel.

The Houthis are an Islamic Shia sect named after founder and political leader Hussein Al-Houthi. Labelled “terrorists” by the West and Israel, they enjoy popular support.

Mass demonstrations of Houthis and other Yemeni Arabs have backed the government’s statements that they will retaliate.

Why now?

Historys most destructive world power, the US murdered many millions in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan (which were also defeats for Washington). Israels military says it is following US military policy in its war in Gaza, and welcomes a wider war. It has threatened to turn Lebanon’s capital Beirut “back to the stone age” if Hezbollah militants there don’t stop their own strikes against Israel in solidarity with Gaza.

Israel regularly attacks Iran-aligned militias in Iraq and Syria. Israel conducted a drone strike in the capital Damascus on January 20, killing members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. A wider war by Israel and the US could potentially mean with Iran itself.

A vast majority of the worlds countries and people oppose Israels war on Gaza. Washington’s and Jerusalem’s arrogant answer is to widen the war in defiance of the world’s peoples.

As the US escalated the war into Yemen, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) began meeting on January 8 in The Hague, the Netherlands.

South Africa, a country familiar with racist supremacist domination and apartheid, is charging Israel with committing genocide in Gaza.

Israel’s lawyers responded by saying the charge is a lie. They claimed that Hamas caused the slaughter of civilians, including hospital patients, women and 10,000 children, because they are using them as “human shields” against Israel’s 2000-pound bombs, tanks and other weaponry — a cynical and absurd argument.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, No one will stop us — not The Hague, Not the Axis of Evil, and no one else.”

South Africas prosecutors explained that Israel’s claim of “self-defense” after the Hamas attack on October 7 does not justify collective punishment and genocide.

Biden and his government also dismiss South Africa’s charge and agree with Israel’s claim that South Africa is acting for Hamas. By implication, they also mean Iran, which supports Hamas.

Biden and his subordinate imperialist allies in Britain, Canada and Australia are isolated. They are war mongers ready to kill for Israel. That's why the Zionist state is so confident it can continue massacring Palestinians.

Hamas is still intact. The Palestinian people in Gaza and the occupied West Bank are continuing their resistance. Displaced Palestinians say they will return home to rebuild in Gaza.

Israel has maintained an air, land and sea blockade of Gaza for a decade and a half and has now shut off water, food and fuel to Gazans.

The Palestinians have opposed Israel’s domination for 55 years, including 16 years of Hamas’ political rule.

Peace, a permanent ceasefire, in Gaza would take these completely unnecessary gambles off the table, but Biden presses ahead even as most Americans oppose a full-scale Middle East War that could lead to World War III. Nuclear-armed Russia and China also oppose Bidens war mongering in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Why Biden is so dangerous

Biden is delusional, more so than previous US presidents, regarding Israel. Unlike Biden, some Republican and Democratic presidents in the past have pushed back when Israeli leaders have gone too far.

Today no Israeli leader says they support a two-state solution. While Biden cynically claims he supports it, knowing it will not happen.

Biden flew to Israel on October 19 and met with Israel’s “war cabinet”. He publically told Netanyahu — whom he affectionately calls “Bibi”: “I don’t believe you have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, and I am a Zionist."

The moment illustrates how Biden's decades as one of the leading "Friends of Israel" in US politics seem to be guiding him during a defining crisis of his presidency.

"It is absolutely within Washingtons power to force a ceasefire in Gaza. Biden could end all this with one phone call, as US presidents have done in the past," wrote Johnstone.

During his 36 years in the Senate, Biden was the chamber's biggest recipient in history of donations from pro-Israeli groups, taking in US$4.2 million, according to the Open Secrets database.

Biden — who is facing low approval ratings — and a few ther Democrats are wary of running afoul of the main pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — a powerful force in US politics.

Liberal Zionists lobby groups have even joined right-wing pro-Israel groups in backing Israel’s “right to defend itself” and in opposing a ceasefire in Gaza.

Zionists are flexing their political muscle in plain sight. AIPAC is planning a multi-million-dollar offensive to pick off members in Congress who have been critical of Israel, such as Palestinian-American Congress representative Rashida Tlaib.

As Politico reported on November 11, a liberal senatorial candidate in Michigan has been offered $20 million in campaign contributions from a former AIPAC donor to drop his senate bid to take on Tlaib.

Pro Zionist media

The mainstream media, as The Intercept reports, is under similar top down pressure from Israel supporters. Comcast/MSNBC chair Brian Roberts said: “We are horrified and deeply saddened by the brutal attack on Israel.” Meanwhile, Israel pounded the Gaza Strip, murdering tens of journalists.

Warner/CNN CEO David Zaslav issued a statement of support for Israel after it experienced “one of the deadliest [days] in Jewish history since the Holocaust”. Later Zaslav was reported to be considering taking part in a $50 million publicity campaign to “define Hamas to the American people as a terrorist organization”.

CNN reporters based in Jerusalem have their reports vetted by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) before going to air.

You can no longer tell the difference between liberal MSNBC and conservative Fox News. While both networks have aired some reports that portray the Palestinian nightmare of the past weeks, their coverage has been from the Israeli point of view. Israeli government spokespeople are frequent guests, and Zionist ideology is ensconced throughout big business-owned media.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer once worked for AIPAC; the Atlantic’s editor, Jeffry Goldberg, was a former Israeli prison guard; and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman told a Jewish audience in 2021 that “Israel had me at hello”, and “Don’t worry. In times of crisis, I know where I will be. When the Jewish state is under threat.” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough regularly equates anti-Zionism with anti-semitism.

The Democratic party’s political culture is pro-Zionist. Last June, House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries took 22 first-year Democratic congresspeople on a tour of Israel and stood at Netanyahu’s side, alongside the head of AIPAC.

Biden and Jeffries are surely concerned about Democratic fundraising. Israel supporters use campaign contributions to make sure that the policy debate in the US “remains extremely narrow”.

US policy during the Cold War had to take into account the Soviet Union’s pro-Arab policy. No president then could bomb a country like Yemen, to protect the Zionist state, without worrying about a blowback from the Soviets.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Washington has felt more freedom to strike against its enemies. It may even directly attack Iran — which has the capability to build nuclear weapons — unless stopped.

Supporters of an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian aid need to back Palestine and call for a complete US military withdrawal from the Middle East. All US military bases must be closed, and its special armed forces removed from the region.

Washington must end its military and financial support to Israel.

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