Report: Biden administration braces for possible wider conflict in the Middle East

Report: Biden administration braces for possible wider conflict in the Middle East

Shafaq News/ Recent developments in the Middle East have raised concerns within the Biden administration, prompting preparations for potential escalation from the ongoing conflict in Gaza to a broader, protracted regional war.

Sources within the administration, speaking on the condition of anonymity to Politico, have revealed internal discussions on various scenarios that could draw the U.S. into another military engagement in the region.

The Red Sea Threat

According to Politico, the U.S. military is reportedly devising plans to respond to attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militants on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. Options include striking Houthi targets in Yemen, an approach previously presented by the military. Meanwhile, intelligence officials are working to anticipate and prevent potential attacks by Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria, as well as predicting the next moves of the Houthi militants.

Diplomatic Efforts and Escalating Concerns

The Politico pointed out that despite months of behind-the-scenes diplomacy urging Tehran to curb proxy attacks, officials have seen no signs of de-escalation.

"The potential for wider conflict is growing, officials said, following a series of confrontations in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran over the past several days. Those have convinced some in the administration that the war in Gaza has officially escalated far beyond the strip's borders — a scenario the U.S. has tried to avoid for months."

Impact on Biden's Reelection

As tensions rise, there is a growing concern about the impact on President Joe Biden's reelection prospects.

"He entered office with vows to end wars, realized with the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan that removed the U.S. from 20 years of fighting. Biden now ends his first term as the West's champion for the defense of Ukraine and key enabler of Israel's retaliation against Hamas."

Potential Electoral Consequences

According to Politico, the Biden administration's response to the escalating situation could play a significant role in the upcoming 2024 elections. Former President Donald Trump, a likely Republican contender, has advocated for a hands-off approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict and suggested he could swiftly end Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

This dynamic creates a potential electoral challenge for Biden, who may need to defend his foreign policy decisions amid growing concerns about U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

Public Concerns and Diplomatic Maneuvers

Public sentiment is a crucial factor, "a Quinnipiac poll in November showed that 84 percent of Americans were either very or somewhat concerned that the U.S. would be drawn into the Middle East conflict. And with each passing month, more and more Americans fear the Biden administration is offering too much material support to Ukraine."

Recent Developments

The recent events in the region, including Houthi attacks on a commercial freighter, accusations of Israel killing a top commander in Beirut, and a series of explosions in Iran and a drone strike in Baghdad targeting an Iran-backed leader, further heightened tensions.

The risk of a broader conflict looms as the Biden administration grapples with the evolving situation in the Middle East. The diplomatic, military, and intelligence efforts to navigate these challenges will shape U.S. foreign policy and impact the political landscape, potentially influencing the upcoming 2024 elections.

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