Israel Cut Biden Out of Loop on Anti-Iran Actions
Israel's involvement in previous actions was immediately leaked to the media. And by the media, I mean the New York Times and other publications in the United States associated with the Biden administration.
Israel notified the US that it is responsible for the Tuesday attack on an Iranian cargo ship affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, an American official told The New York Times.
And the usual anonymous officials quickly condemned them as disruptive.
U.S. and Iranian officials said the incident, on the first day of the talks, could advance the agenda of those opposed to a rapprochement. “It’s clear what the timing intends to achieve,” one U.S. official said.
If Israel was still doing any coordinating on these operations, they likely pulled back significantly on information sharing before this latest event.
The attack at Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility, which destroyed a number of centrifuges and caused an electricity blackout, occurred as U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was visiting Israel and was preparing to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Top Biden administration officials apparently were given no advance notice of the attack against the Iranian uranium-enrichment facility, according to people familiar with the situation. Mr. Austin, asked about the attack before meeting Mr. Netanyahu, declined to address it and said only that U.S. diplomatic efforts, aimed at assuring Iranian compliance with terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement in exchange for easing U.S. sanctions, would continue.
Which is already a statement.
Attacks have their own operational timetable, but the timing of Austin's visit and the attack appears to be sending a fairly clear message.
There are the usual anonymous administration quotes.
And it came at an awkward time for President Joe Biden's primary foreign policy objectives as the U.S. seeks to bring Iran back into compliance with the 2015 deal governing its nuclear capabilities.
"The United States had no involvement," a senior administration official speaking on the condition of anonymity told U.S. News almost immediately after receiving an email query, adding, "we have nothing to add to speculation about the causes."
A Defense Department spokesman declined to comment, referring questions to the State Department.
Unlike the Obama administration, Biden has yet to begin a full-court press attack on Netanyahu. It's unclear why, but perhaps there is some sense that the attack backfired last time. And that hostility from D.C. might be more likely to give Netanyahu the coalition he needs. If Netanyahu gets that coalition, the real ugliness will commence.
For now, intelligence sharing is likely in bad shape. And would have been anyway considering a roster of Biden appointees who are deeply hostile to Israel and aligned with the terrorists. The Biden administration is likely beginning to do what the Obama administration did, which is spy on Israel, and as the political conflict over Iran's nuclear program deepens, will likely go back to spying on pro-Israel activists and members of Congress.
The conflict between Israel and the Biden administration is still cold and covert. It hasn't spilled over in public yet, but that's likely only a matter of time.