Monday, April 22, 2024

Media Review: “Anxiety and painful waiting.” What did the White House witness while anticipating the Iranian response?

    Monday, April 22, 2024   No comments

The Wall Street Journal wrote, in a lengthy report, about what the White House witnessed in the United States on the night of the Iranian response to the Israeli attack on Iranian diplomatic mission in Syria, covering what preceded that night and what followed.

Under the title “Inside the White House’s frantic scramble to avoid a comprehensive war in the Middle East,” the newspaper confirmed that what it described as the “painful wait” during the Iranian response was one of the tense moments, in a crisis that lasted 19 days, experienced by the US President, Joe Biden, and his security team. The nationalist.

Biden and his administration officials found themselves “uninformed or unsure of what both Iran and Israel are planning at critical times,” during that waiting period, according to the newspaper.

The matter began with an aggression launched by the occupation against the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital, Damascus, without consulting the United States, and ended with an American-European alliance, with Arab participation, that mobilized to confront the Iranian response, and American calls to “Israel” to avoid launching another attack.

The Wall Street Journal returned in its report to April 1, the day the crisis erupted due to Israel’s targeting of the Iranian consulate in Damascus, and its assassination of the commander of the Quds Force in Lebanon and Syria in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

The newspaper indicated that an Israeli official alerted his American counterpart that the strike was underway, only a few minutes before the raid, while officials in Washington said that the warnings did not include any information about the targeted party, or the site that was struck.

Following the aggression on Damascus, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog, the Israeli “defense attaché” in the White House, the US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, and other senior White House officials held a video meeting with Israeli officials, according to what was reported. The newspaper.

Shortly after learning of the strike on the consulate, the White House also learned of another Israeli attack that targeted a relief team affiliated with the “Global Central Kitchen.”

Following this, and specifically on the 4th of this month, Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “in a tense phone call,” that “international support for Israel is declining,” after the relief team was targeted, according to officials.

Biden told Netanyahu that “Israel needs to allow more humanitarian aid to enter and reduce losses among Palestinian civilians,” adding that his country “will judge Israel based on its actions,” according to what the newspaper quoted officials as saying.

But, at the same time, he assured the Israeli Prime Minister that Washington supports Tel Aviv against Tehran. In this context, Biden ordered the US Department of Defense to “intensify its efforts to protect Israel,” and the US Army activated top-secret plans to assist it in crises.

On the 10th of next month, while Biden was hosting the Japanese Prime Minister at the White House, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin pulled him aside in order to obtain a permit allowing the redirection of the destroyer USS Carney, which was heading at the time towards its main port. In Florida.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the USS Carney joined another American destroyer, the USS Arleigh Burke, in the eastern Mediterranean, near Israel, so that there was sufficient capacity to track missiles coming to the region and shoot them down. , using SM-3 interceptor missiles, which had not been used before to shoot down a ballistic missile in combat.

The USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier, located in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen, was also moved near Israel in a way that would be able to launch combat aircraft.

In addition, a team of American military personnel secretly went to Tel Aviv, with the aim of working in the missile defense operations center, with their Israeli counterparts, according to what the newspaper reported.

With the expectation that Iran would use drones, a large force of F-15E fighter aircraft arrived in the region, where other F-16 aircraft stationed in the region also participated. In addition, plans have been made for Saudi and Jordanian aircraft, as reported by the newspaper.

Meanwhile, Biden's senior aides made phone calls, imploring other governments to ask Iran not to respond. CIA Director William Burns also asked his counterparts in European intelligence services, the capitals of the Middle East and Turkey to urge Iran to refrain from responding, according to the newspaper.

On the 11th of this month, the Supreme Commander of the US Central Command, Michael Corella, arrived in Israel. While Kurella wanted to remain in Israel during the Iranian response, the Defense Minister ordered him to leave, “for fear that Washington would appear complicit in any Israeli attack.”

Instead of participating from within the occupied territories, Kurella continued to participate in the deliberations from Jordan, according to what was reported by the Wall Street Journal.

By the time Biden arrived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on the evening of April 12 for the weekend, the Iranian response was coming into focus, and “Biden suddenly returned to Washington, D.C., that evening,” according to the newspaper.

Anticipation prevailed among Biden and his national security team on the 13th of this month, as anxiety increased among observers in the White House Situations Room, coinciding with the appearance of 30 Iranian ballistic missiles heading towards “Israel”, then 60 missiles, then more than 100 missiles.

Iranian cruise missiles and a squadron of drones were also in the air, and their arrival at their targets was timed to coincide with the arrival of the ballistic missiles.

As the Iranian response began, on the night of Saturday and Sunday, American officials in the Situation Room and the Pentagon tracked the three waves of weapons that left Iranian airspace, crossed Iraq and Jordan, and headed towards “Israel.”

According to what the Wall Street Journal quoted officials in the US administration, the scale of the response was a shock to them, despite the advance warning they received, as a senior official expressed his belief that the level of response was “higher than expected.”

In the face of this massive barrage of Iranian missiles and drones, Biden and his aides feared that the reinforced defenses that they, along with the Israelis, had spent more than a week preparing would be overwhelmed, according to what the Wall Street Journal confirmed.

Later, American officials said that the scale of the Iranian response, which represented Tehran’s most direct attack on “Israel” ever, “matches the worst scenarios of American spy agencies,” according to the newspaper.

Following the Iranian response, the White House “is seeking to restrain its ally,” according to what the Wall Street Journal indicated.

In this context, the newspaper indicated that Biden and Netanyahu had an extensive phone call, in which Biden advised the Israeli Prime Minister, who was with the “war government,” to “think about his next step carefully, and win” (referring to American attempts to mitigate the impact of The Iranian response to “Israel” and preventing the latter from launching an attack that would expand the war).

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