Friday, September 01, 2023

From Ian:

There is no US aid to Israel, it's an investment and a debt
Israel’s contributions extend far beyond financial assistance; they are incalculable in terms of lives saved, disruption of terrorist activities, and overall stability and security. It is crucial to acknowledge the immense value that Israel’s assistance brings to the US – and not belittle or misunderstand this relationship.

The United States owes a debt of gratitude to Israel for its unwavering commitment to preserving America’s security, democracy, and the well-being of its citizens. To describe the $3b as aid is a distortion of reality. It is an investment, a service fee, and a mere fraction of the value that Israel provides in return. It is time to recognize and appreciate the immeasurable contributions of Israel to the United States and the world.

As mentioned before, the investment made by America in Afghanistan, for example, has yielded little success. Billions of dollars worth of ammunition were left behind and fell into the hands of the Taliban, effectively aiding America’s enemies. This represents a tremendous loss of resources, unlike the allocation provided to Israel, which serves as a great return on investment.

Let’s not forget that Israel is the leading creator of state-of-the-art ammunition and artillery, which enhances the safety of American soldiers at home and abroad. Additionally, Israel’s technological advancements, have been shared with the US and prove crucial in safeguarding civilians and military personnel.

If the US were to handle its own troops and intelligence in the Middle East, the costs would skyrocket to tens of billions of dollars annually, and efficiency would be diminished. Israel provides a more cost-effective and efficient solution, fighting battles on America’s behalf and protecting it from the threat of terrorism.

Moreover, Israel has shown its tremendous value by foiling planned attacks by terrorists in Europe, preventing potential economic and human losses. The value of this contribution far exceeds the $3 billion dollars provided annually by the United States.

Israel’s actions have also had long-lasting effects on global security. For instance, the destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor brought 20 years of security to the West. Had Iraq possessed nuclear weapons during America’s intervention, the loss of life and destruction would have been catastrophic.

Therefore, it is time to acknowledge Israel’s vital role as America’s outsourced army and its contribution to keeping America, democracy, and the entire Western world safe.

Those who criticize Israel for receiving American aid need to recognize that it is a mutually beneficial relationship, with Israel providing essential services and tremendous value in return. It is not a gift, but rather an expense and service vital to American interests.

Let us unite to support and express gratitude to Israel for its unwavering commitment to our collective security.
Caroline Glick: Will Israeli democracy survive the court?
On Sept. 28, Israel’s Supreme Court is expected to rule in favor of a petition from the far-left Movement for Quality Government to overturn the Nov. 1, 2022 elections.

In January, MQG petitioned the Supreme Court asking the justices to ban newly sworn in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from serving in office. MQG argued that, with all due respect to the 2.4 million Israelis who voted for Netanyahu, as a criminal defendant, Netanyahu is legally “incapacitated” from performing his duties in office and, therefore, the Supreme Court should order Attorney General Gali Baharav Miara to declare Netanyahu “incapacitated” and oust him from power.

MQG’s petition was ridiculous on its face. The Supreme Court ruled in an 11-0 judgment in March 2020 that Netanyahu may serve as prime minister while standing trial.

Israel’s Basic Law: The Government stipulates that a prime minister can only be compelled to leave office if he has been convicted of criminal charges, and even then, only after he has exhausted all appeals.

Until the MQG submitted its petition, the incapacitation clause of the law was understood to refer only to physical or mental incapacitation. Moreover, no law empowers the attorney general to deem the prime minister incapacitated. That power was vested in Israel’s elected leaders in the government and Knesset. All the same, the justices agreed to adjudicate the petition.

Baharav Miara also didn’t reject the notion that she has the power to oust the prime minister. Instead, the attorney general installed by the previous government and still acting on its behalf to paralyze the Netanyahu government claimed that Netanyahu cannot be deemed incapacitated so long as he upholds the conflict-of-interest agreement he signed upon entering office. Baharav Miara insisted the agreement bars Netanyahu from dealing with judicial reform. By implication, Baharav Miara intimated that the converse was also true.
Security Council extends UNIFIL peacekeepers’ mandate, rejects Hezbollah demands
The United Nations Security Council voted on Thursday to extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in southern Lebanon, hours before it was due to expire.

The vote was 13-0, with permanent members China and Russia both abstaining.

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, or UNIFIL, has sought to maintain calm in southern Lebanon since its creation in 1978, and is currently tasked with enforcing a UN resolution barring armed operations by Lebanese terror group Hezbollah near the ceasefire line that forms the de facto border.

The resolution approved by the Security Council demands that the Lebanese military and Hezbollah stop blocking the movement of the UN peacekeeping force and guarantee its freedom to operate, “including by allowing announced and unannounced patrols.”

Lebanese officials had pushed to remove a provision in the resolution, first introduced last year, that allows the peacekeepers to patrol without giving prior notice to the Lebanese army.

Hassan Nasrallah, head of Hezbollah, said in a speech Monday that the provision is a violation of Lebanese sovereignty, and that the United States wants the UN peacekeeping force “to be spies for the Israelis.”

But the council ignored the request, instead voting to strengthen last year’s text and reaffirming that under the agreement between the United Nations and the Lebanese government, the peacekeeping force known as UNIFIL “does not require prior authorization or permission to undertake its mandated tasks.”

Israel’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the mandate renewal, saying that the UNIFIL force “aids in maintaining stability in southern Lebanon.” The ministry called on the international community “to take a firm stand against the attempts of the terrorist organization Hezbollah to create provocations and cause an escalation.”

Netanyahu prepared to quit in return for Israel-Saudi peace deal - report
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday denied ultra-Orthodox reports he was preparing for the collapse of his government in return for a US-backed normalization deal with Saudi Arabia.

According to a report published in the Agudat Yisrael-affiliated haredi paper HaModia on Friday morning, Netanyahu had resigned to the fact that "his political career is nearing an end."

Netanyahu, in accordance with White House officials, will receive the long-awaited Saudi normalization deal and plea bargain for his criminal trials for his resignation, with the understanding being that he "does not have the capacity to manage the country in Israel's current political state," as per the report.

The prime minister is reportedly committed to "making any deal with the Saudis possible, even at the price of toppling his own government," HaModia added. Netanyahu's Likud: Ultra-Orthodox report is a farfetched fabrication

The prime minister's Likud faction hit back against the report on Friday, stating unequivocally that that report in the ultra-Orthodox newspaper is nothing but a "farfetched fabrication."

"There was never any commitment or request made to change the current make-up of the government [in relation to the normalization deal with Saudi Arabia].

"This government will fulfill its tenure regardless of the prime minister's attempts to widen Israel's circle of peace," the Likud statement read.
How Israel and Bahrain Can Build on the Foundations of Peace
Less than a month after the United Arab Emirates announced its plans to normalize its relationship with Israel, the island kingdom of Bahrain declared its intention to follow suit. As the third anniversary of the Abraham Accords approaches, Ilan Zalayat and Yoel Guzansky take stock of relations between Jerusalem and Manama:

[When the Accords] were signed in 2020, about 40 percent of Bahrainis held a favorable view, but in subsequent polls this rate fell by 50 percent. The fluctuation shows that opposition to normalization is not inevitable, and is possibly the result of the gap between expectations and reality that arose in the three years that have passed.

The political-security aspect [of normalization] recorded immediate and impressive progress. Within eighteen months of establishing relations, Bahrain was visited by then-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi, who all met with senior members of the royal house and the Bahraini army to discuss security collaboration between the countries. Public visits by Israeli officials to the tiny kingdom, about 150 kilometers from the Iranian coast, and the sharing of intelligence and drone technology, sent a clear message that Israel and Bahrain were standing together against Iran.

However, the economic aspect of relations lagged behind. Figures from the Central Bureau of Statistics show that while trade between the UAE and Israel in 2021-2022 (excluding diamonds and services) amounted to about $2.5 billion, trade with Bahrain was worth only $20 million. . . . Economic ties are important to the Bahraini people and more palpable than security contacts with Israel. Forty percent of Bahrainis are ready for some business contacts with Israel that would be beneficial to the local economy, compared to only a tenth who are interested in cooperating with Israel against Iran.

The potential economic reward could reach sectors in Bahrain that are outside the ruling classes, for whom normalization not only means violating solidarity with the Palestinians, but also fails to bring the expected financial gain, and persuade them that there are advantages to relations.
Faith, trade behind Papua New Guinea’s Jerusalem embassy
Papua New Guinea will join a handful of countries to open an embassy in Jerusalem, a decision long sought by pro-Israel church groups in the deeply Christian Pacific nation, and as Prime Minister James Marape seeks to boost foreign investment.

Marape has pledged to voters to make Papua New Guinea (PNG), a resource-rich but largely undeveloped nation north of Australia, the "richest black Christian nation."

He previously told parliament Israel was important because of its agriculture technology, however church groups have long lobbied for a Jerusalem embassy.

Marape announced he would travel to Israel for the embassy opening on Sept. 5 in a speech on PNG's national holiday for prayer, Aug. 26, when he also said a law would be introduced to officially declare PNG a Christian country.

A delegation of pastors is traveling to Israel for the opening, PNG government and church officials said.

"We have to have the relationship with Israel. This is what the people have been dreaming of," Pastor Peter Harut, PNG delegate for International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, a Christian Zionist group, said in a telephone interview.

The majority of countries with an official diplomatic presence in Israel have their embassies in Tel Aviv, with only the United States, Kosovo, Guatemala and Honduras basing theirs in Jerusalem.

Citing Jewish biblical roots, Israel deems Jerusalem its indivisible capital. That status has not won wide recognition abroad, and Palestinians want the east of the city - which Israel captured in the Six-Day War, and is the site of major Jewish, Christian and Muslim shrines - as capital of their hoped-for future state.

A Florida-based Zionist group with pastors in PNG, United Nations for Israel, wrote to Marape to congratulate him.
Voices from the Arab press: Has Israel arrived at its most precarious point?
Has Israel arrived at its most precarious point?
An-Nahar, Lebanon, August 24

Israel is now facing one of the most dangerous moments in its history. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has destroyed all hope of a two-state solution by burying the Arab Peace Initiative, burying the peace process, and allowing a single state to exist on land stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. This has resulted in a perpetual crisis for the Palestinians, entrapping them in an oppressive state in which Israeli law reigns arbitrarily.

It is crucial to recognize this reality in order to find a way to resolve the conflict. The far-right government in Israel is not only undermining democracy within the country, and disregarding the Arab Peace Initiative, but its leaders are also suggesting a “final solution” that would culminate in forcing Palestinians to flee to Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

But the true crisis lies in the hypocrisy of the Israeli military, which misleads the public into thinking that it is “in charge” of the situation. However, while it “toys” with the idea of bombing Syria to “mow the Iranian grass,” it is, in fact, only able to take out half of the inbound threats. While it tries to impede the Iranian nuclear program, Israel is pushing Iran toward the finished project and a bomb virtually ready for detonation, with nations in the region setting out to create parallel deterrents.

Moreover, Israel is selling illusions to the public, claiming tactical successes but neglecting to initiate peace negotiations, even with its Arab and American allies. Over the years, Israel’s diplomatic elites have effectively prevented major attempts to resolve the conflict. They are well aware that, even with the Camp David Accords, the Wadi Araba Treaty, and the Abraham Accords, conflicts with Egypt and Jordan remain unresolved. Similarly, nothing has been done to address the situation with Syria, Palestine, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Rather than embracing a historical opportunity proposed by King Abdullah, the arrogance of power and mere convenience got in Israel’s way. The public was mistakenly convinced that Israel could survive a prolonged state of ongoing war, with the threat of a third or fourth intifada looming, or more military operations in Gaza.

Recent strategic shifts in the Middle East have seen Iran and Turkey enter the scene as two of Israel’s direct competitors. When America turns its back to the Middle East, lethal conflict may break out in the region without warning. How can we arrive at a point of equilibrium?

Seth Frantzman: Iranian intifada: How Iran orchestrates waves of terror in Israel
A large explosive device that targeted IDF soldiers near Nablus on Wednesday night has the hallmarks of the Iran-backed terror campaign that has continued to percolate and grow this year. Over the past year, Iran has increasingly sought to expand the number of fronts against Israel. This means inflaming the West Bank as well as encouraging Hezbollah to increase tensions.

This week, there has been focus on Lebanon and Hezbollah’s increasing provocations, as well as an Iranian focus on Syria where it wants US forces to leave the country. All this comes during a rising wave of terror attacks against Israel this week.

The explosion in Nablus appears similar to other attempts by Palestinian Islamic Jihad to use explosives against the IDF and Israel. For instance during the operations in Jenin earlier this summer PIJ attempted to festoon the city with IEDs and other weapons. The goal is to ambush the IDF and destroy vehicles and get soldiers bogged down. In this regard, Iran’s backing of terror groups in the region by providing technical know-how on IEDs and other weapons has been a key factor in backing groups like PIJ, Hezbollah and also threats to US forces in Syria and US forces in Iraq in the past.

The context of Iran’s threats also extends into other areas of Israel. Hezbollah enabled an infiltration that targeted a junction near Megiddo earlier this year, while Palestinian groups worked on simple designs for missiles in the West Bank.

Constant threats to Israel
In recent weeks, Hezbollah head Hassan Nasrallah threatened Israel several times. There is a significant change that is taking place on the ground in the West Bank, Jerusalem has said recently. It is related to Iranian funding, and to the proliferation of weapons under the Iranian directive. “Iran seeks every means to harm the citizens of Israel,” said Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.
Israeli murdered in terror ramming was lone IDF soldier from Ukraine
Sergeant Maxim Mulchanov, a lone soldier from Ukraine was the soldier murdered in Thursday’s terror attack at the Maccabim checkpoint, according to the family and an IDF confirmation.

His parents released a statement to The Jerusalem Post via Chabad Rebbetzin Miriam Moskovitz of their local Chabad house in Kharkiv, Ukraine, saying “he was a very honest and very open person, always out to help.

"Just a year ago, he helped a child who needed a bone marrow transplant in Germany. They did a whole procedure. He was very proud not only that he was in the army, but in a combat role and fighting on the front lines.”

The funeral is expected to be in Israel, which in itself will be a brutal journey for the family. Kharkiv is close to the Russian border and in a no-fly zone. As a result, the family must travel 14 hours by car to the nearest airport in order to reach Israel, according to the Rebbetzin.

MEMRI: Fatah Security Chief In Southern Lebanon Abu Iyad Shaalan: Islamic Terrorists Took Over UNRWA Schools, Turned Them Into Military Barracks; UNRWA Must Hand The Schools Back To The Lebanese Government
Abu Iyad Shaalan, the commander of Fatah's Palestinian National Security in Lebanon's Sidon area, said in an August 18, 2023 show on Falastinona TV (Fatah-Lebanon) that the recent statement of the director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon condemning the presence of armed groups in UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) schools is insufficient. He asserted that the director must specify the groups in question, enforce their removal from the schools, and return them to the Lebanese government. Shaalan elaborated that UNRWA schools are currently being used as military barracks by terrorist takfiri groups, from where they plan to confront Fatah forces. Shaalan’s interview comes on the backdrop of last month’s clashes in the Ain Al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in southern Lebanon, during which his predecessor, Abu Ashraf al-Armoushi was assassinated by Islamic militants.

UNRWA Schools Serve As Military Barracks For Terrorist Groups
Interviewer: "The UNRWA schools in the area [are] controlled by the takfiri groups. In a statement today, the director of UNRWA Affairs in Lebanon today denounced the military presence in those schools. What's your reaction?"

Abu Iyad Shaalan: "The statement of the director of UNRWA has come late."

Interviewer: "Yes."

Shaalan: "Although we welcome this decision, the director of UNRWA must specify who took over these schools, beginning with the assassination of Abu Ashraf Al-Armoushi – whose killers emerged from an UNRWA school – and to this day. Today these UNRWA schools constitute military barracks for the terrorist groups.

UNRWA Should Have Intervened From Day One... The UN Is Responsible And Must Evacuate These Schools

"UNRWA should have intervened from day one. It should have filed a complaint with the United Nations. The UN is responsible and must evacuate these schools, and [hand them] over to the host state. After all, we are refugees on the land of a host country, which is Lebanon.

"The director did not clarify who exactly took over these schools. Two of these [UNRWA] schools have been turned into military barracks, where the terrorists are concentrated in order to confront our forces. Therefore, if there is a decision to remove the militants from these schools, the UNRWA director must specify who these militants are, and we are ready to do whatever is required of us immediately, on condition that the other side – the terrorists – abide by the decision and pull out of these schools."

US exploring land border delineation between Lebanon, Israel - Hochstein
The United States is exploring the possibility of resolving the long-standing border dispute between Lebanon and Israel, senior White House adviser Amos Hochstein said on Thursday at the end of a two-day visit to Lebanon.

Hochstein said it was "natural" to look into the issue following the delineation in 2022 of the maritime border between the two countries, which paved the way for offshore exploration activities to begin on behalf of Lebanon last week.

The senior White House adviser said he visited southern Lebanon during his trip "to understand and learn more about what is needed to be able to potentially achieve an outcome."

"It is time for me to hear from the other side, and to make an assessment if this is a right time," he said.

The current demarcation line between the two countries is known as the Blue Line, a frontier mapped by the United Nations that marks the line to which Israeli forces withdrew when they left south Lebanon in 2000.

Blue Line border tensions
Tensions have flared along it this summer, with rockets being fired at Israel during flare-ups of Israeli-Palestinian violence, and members of the heavily armed Lebanese group Hezbollah or its supporters facing off with Israeli forces.

Lebanon's caretaker foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib said last week that determining the land border could put an end to those tensions.

For Israel, the land dispute is part of the larger conflict with Lebanon and the Iranian proxy group Hezbollah. It operates within Lebanon and has a strong military presence along Israel’s border.

Israel has blamed the growing border friction on Iran, which it said is attempting to create a ring of violence along the country’s borders, in Gaza, Lebanon and the West Bank.

Why is Israel silent on the looming Iran deal?
All indications are that the United States under President Joe Biden is close to reaching an interim deal – or at the very least some sort of unwritten understanding – with Iran that would see Tehran scale back its uranium enrichment in exchange for billions of dollars.

US prisoners held in Iran have been released, Iran has reportedly slowed down enrichment and even diluted some of its stockpiles, and still Netanyahu is quiet. Yes, his office put out a statement a couple of weeks ago after the prisoner release was announced, but it was a written statement and was nothing compared to the way the prime minister used to speak about Iran in the past.

Just go back to 2015. Then, Netanyahu flew to Washington and spoke before Congress against the sitting president to try and convince members to torpedo the JCPOA. And while the White House then protested and Democratic members warned Netanyahu that speaking before Congress would undermine ties, he plowed ahead, explaining that when it comes to existential matters for the State of Israel, he has an obligation to speak out, no matter the price.

WHICH IS why the silence now is so strange. On the one hand, there is an argument to make that Netanyahu needs to speak out even more today than he did eight years ago. Then, Iran had uranium enriched to just 20%; today it has enriched to 60%, just a jump from military grade. After the 2015 deal went into effect, Iran was left with just 300 kg. of enriched uranium; today it is said to have around 4,000 kg.

And if in 2015, it was believed that it would take Iran several months to produce what is referred to as an SQ – significant quantity – of high-enriched uranium needed for a bomb, today it is believed to be a matter of just a couple of weeks.

With that being the case, why is Netanyahu silent? Why is he not fighting the deal?

There are three answers. The first is that Netanyahu might not be as opposed to an interim deal or a new understanding between Iran and the US as he was once in the past. There is no doubt that he does not want Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and if he learns they are building a bomb, he will likely take immediate action, but he also understands that Israel’s options here are not great. Getting Iran to stop its enrichment even in a flimsy deal might not be the worst option right now on the table.

The second reason is because of Netanyahu’s political situation. It is no secret that his standing in Washington is not what is used to be and as of Thursday, he was still waiting to hear if he would be meeting Biden on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York later this month. Netanyahu’s ability to influence what the Americans are doing is more limited today than it was in 2015 and as a result, he has to choose his battles very carefully.

The third reason is because of Saudi Arabia. Netanyahu needs Biden to close a normalization deal with the Kingdom and if he starts fighting with the president over Iran, that could turn the president off from wanting to help advance Israel’s ties in the Middle East.

What is interesting is that also on the Saudi deal, Netanyahu is mostly quiet. He has yet to say much about the Saudi request that it be allowed domestic uranium enrichment, and when asked, his closest diplomatic advisers default to the Americans and say that if the US provides guarantees, Israel could potentially live with Saudi enrichment.
Lawmakers Press for Classified Briefing on Iran's Assassination Plots
Congressional Republicans are pressing the Biden administration to hold a classified briefing on Iran’s efforts to assassinate American officials, citing ongoing and "credible threats" against former secretary of state Mike Pompeo and other U.S. leaders.

The lawmakers—led by Reps. Mark Green (R., Tenn.), the House Homeland Security chair, and August Pfluger (R., Texas)—are concerned the Biden administration is not doing enough to counter Iran’s assassination plots amid efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal. Already, the administration has completed a hostage deal with Iran that freed up billions of dollars in resources for the hardline regime and its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a designated terror group known for its efforts to kill Americans abroad.

"It is curious that while these egregious activities continue, the Biden administration is not taking actions to impose consequences on the Iranian regime and instead has renewed its push for a nuclear deal with Iran," the lawmakers write in a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and National Counterterrorism Center.

The lawmakers are asking for detailed information "about the number of active plots by Iran or its proxies against U.S. persons living in the United States, as well as information about your respective agencies’ coordination efforts for threat intelligence to counter Iran’s activities."

There is particular concern that the Iran-funded terror group Hezbollah has the capacity to carry out operations inside America. FBI director Christopher Wray outlined these threats during a public hearing last year when he disclosed that the "arrests of individuals in the United States allegedly linked to Hezbollah’s main overseas terrorist arm, and their intelligence collection and procurement efforts, demonstrate Hezbollah’s interest in long-term contingency planning activities here in the homeland."

Amid the Biden administration’s diplomacy with Iran, that country’s leaders have made clear that they are trying to assassinate former Trump administration officials for their role in a 2020 drone strike that killed Iranian terror leader Qassem Soleimani. These include active threats against Pompeo, his envoy Brian Hook, and former White House national security adviser John Bolton, who was the target of a foiled 2022 IRGC assassination plot.

Rushdie probe expands overseas
The investigation into last year’s near fatal attack on the Indian-British writer Salman Rushdie has expanded to examine potential international involvement in the crime, the district attorney overseeing the case in rural New York told Semafor.

Jason Schmidt said his office in Chautauqua County is in the final stages of preparing its case against Hadi Matar, a 25-year-old New Jersey man accused of stabbing Rushdie multiple times during the writer’s appearance at a summer cultural festival last August. The trial could start early next year, the DA said.

But Schmidt said the U.S. federal government, through the U.S. Attorney’s Office, is now overseeing a separate investigation that’s looking into Matar’s potential ties to foreign governments or terrorist organizations. Iran’s late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa, or religious edict, in 1989 calling for Rushdie’s death due to what he claimed were blasphemous passages against Islam in the writer’s book, The Satanic Verses. Iranian religious organizations have issued bounties on Rushdie as recently as last year.

Matar’s alleged attack on Rushdie has largely been framed as the actions of a disgruntled, immigrant son acting alone. But Schmidt is a rare U.S. law enforcement official to shed light on the Department of Justice’s continued concern that the attempted assassination may have had foreign backing.

Matar spent time in Lebanon where U.S. government officials are trying to ascertain if he was trained or radicalized by the Iranian-backed militia Hezbollah. Matar was carrying a fake driver’s license at the time of the attack that had the name of a senior Hezbollah military commander.

“There are some areas that we have to sort of confine ourselves to the four corners of the charges that we've asserted, which is essentially an attempted murder in the second-degree charge. That's our top count,” Schmidt said in an interview. “That gets us away from some of the underlying motivations that went into the intent. Some of that have been sort of removed from us in our jurisdiction, and that's something that the U.S. Attorney's Office has been looking at and they are dealing with.”

Schmidt, a Republican, said that the widening of the investigation to include potential foreign governments and actors involve serious national security and political considerations that shouldn’t be handled by his local office.

Sean Durns: Review: Kabul: The Untold Story of Biden’s Fiasco and the American Warriors Who Fought to the End
Two years ago, the world watched in disbelief as the United States and allied countries conducted a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan .

The operation ended with the deaths of 13 American servicemembers and hundreds, if not thousands, of Afghan civilians and allies. Thousands remain trapped in the country, abandoned to live under Taliban rule. As Jerry Dunleavy and James Hasson highlight in their new book, Kabul: The Untold Story of Biden’s Fiasco and the American Warriors Who Fought to the End , none of it was inevitable.

The disaster that unfolded was the result of policy decisions made by the Biden administration . Dunleavy and Hasson ably document these failures in crisp prose and with righteous anger. What emerges is a portrait of an impending tragedy that was both predictable and, indeed, predicted by many analysts and intelligence estimates.

Both authors are well-equipped to write the story. Dunleavy, an investigative reporter who worked for the Washington Examiner, spent years covering courts, the intelligence community, and the national security arena. Hasson, a military affairs analyst, is a former U.S. Army captain who deployed in Afghanistan. Their look at one of the darkest moments in modern American history offers jaw-dropping details about what went wrong and who is responsible.

As Dunleavy and Hasson make clear, the buck stops with President Joe Biden. Although he would later seek to variously blame the Trump administration, the Afghan military, and others, Biden was dead set on a withdrawal from Afghanistan as soon as possible. As the authors highlight, Biden wanted as much long before he was president. And he was willing to do whatever it took, details be damned, to get it.

The lack of planning for the withdrawal was truly astonishing.

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