The Next War?

It is very likely the case that the next major war has started. No—I don’t mean the Russia-Ukraine War, which could yet spread to the rest of Europe if we’re unlucky. I mean the Israel-Iran War.

It has been said that Israel and Iran have been at open war for some time now. (Actually, Iran and the U.S. have likewise been at war since 1979, though don’t tell John Kerry.) As is well known, Israel has carried out audacious raids on Iran over the last few years. It has assassinated key figures in Iran’s nuclear weapons program in the streets of Tehran, successfully extracted an intelligence cache on the nuclear program, and in recent months assassinated senior Iranian military figures beyond the nuclear arms circle. For their part, we know Iran is supplying Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere with enormous amounts of munitions to use against Israel.

There’s a telling detail in the report we linked to in our “Picks” section today about the latest drone attack on an Iranian missile site: “According to a report by Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Qabas, the alleged attack overnight Friday was carried out by drones that took off from an area a mere 6.2 miles from the targeted base.” If this report is true, it means the Israelis (or someone) have been able once again to penetrate deep inside Iranian territory, or it means U.S. and other nations are perhaps backing an insurgency inside Iran. I rate this latter possibility extremely unlikely. In either case, any effective actions inside Iranian territory can only be happening with the blessing, and likely active cooperation and support, of the Saudis.

The low-intensity Israel-Iran War may be about to break wide open. Which makes me wonder about President Biden’s upcoming Middle East trip.

The main reason for Biden’s forthcoming trip to Saudi Arabia, we are told, is to suck up to the Saudis to pump more oil to relieve pump prices here in the U.S. This is simply not credible if you think about for a while. The Saudis conduct their oil policy strictly in accord with their own self-interest. Even if they think it is in their own self-interest to pump more oil now (or not—the Saudis are savvy on oil price theory), they don’t need a presidential visit to reach that decision. In fact the opposite may be the case—they may prefer, given Biden’s moral preening about the the awfulness of the Saudis on human rights (quite correct) that they’d rather not be seen knuckling under to public pressure from our doddering president. Most likely they’d prefer Trump or another Republican back in the White House, so why help this fool? If the Saudis were amenable to an American plea to reduce oil prices by increasing output, they’d prefer a quiet message about this—as Reagan did in the 1980s with very quiet missions from key confidantes—rather than a high profile visit from a clown president like Biden.

In other words, I think Biden visiting the Saudis to talk about energy is a cover story for something else. Remember that Biden is stopping in Israel first. I suspect the Israelis may be ready to go big on Iran, since we aren’t serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Or maybe we are too, but won’t admit it. Has anyone heard anything from Antony Blinken lately? It’s like he’s suddenly in the witness protection program or something. Is he working hard to deter the Israelis from defending themselves, or, hope against hope, collaborating with the Israelis and Saudis on a plan to attack Iran in a serious way? Is Biden hoping to make some kind of dramatic breakthrough on “Middle East peace” with some kind deal with the Israelis and Palestinians? It’s the kind of thing he and his circle of knuckleheads might think could work, in which case they’ll make Neville Chamberlain look pretty realistic and hard-headed in retrospect. There is no chance this can succeed, but Biden and his clown posse might be committed to it, and be desperate enough to think it can rescue the Democrats from their forthcoming midterm wipeout.

It is amazing to contemplate that Saudi Arabia may have better relations with Israel than the United States. You thought the Russia-Ukraine War was a “black swan” event? Stay tuned. . .

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