Biden’s bogus ‘red line’ on Rafah operation

Biden’s bogus ‘red line’ on Rafah operation

Jacobin reports:

A little more than a month ago, President Joe Biden very publicly and explicitly identified the point that he would not allow Israel’s war on Gaza to reach: an offensive on the city of Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians had been corralled after months of war.

“It is a red line,” he told MSNBC when asked about a potential Israeli invasion of Rafah.

Though he instantly tried to wriggle out of the commitment he had just made, the headlines the statement produced ensured that the public’s main takeaway was that this was where the president was finally putting his foot down.

That impression was solidified by further public comments from White House officials in the following weeks, with both National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling the invasion a “mistake.” They continued to warn right into this month that an invasion of Rafah “risks doing terrible harm to civilians” and causing “really significant civilian casualties,” not to mention possibly scuttling the prospects of freeing Israeli hostages and signing the Israel-Saudi deal that’s the centerpiece of the administration’s Middle East policy. Biden himself went on CNN this month and said, “I made it clear that if they go into Rafah . . . I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically.”

Despite all this, in keeping with the pattern throughout this war, Israel has simply ignored Biden’s threats and gone into Rafah anyway. What has the president done, in the face of yet another show of defiance from an Israeli government that is more or less openly rooting for him to lose this November, to enforce a red line he had publicly roped himself into? His administration has simply manufactured a series of unbelievable excuses to avoid acting on his threat. [Continue reading…]

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