The Four Musketeers are the champions of the game of the apocalypse in Gaza

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Afrasianet - Chris Hedges - Joe Biden's inner circle of Middle East strategists — Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, and Brett McGurk — have little understanding of the Muslim world and a deep hostility to Islamist resistance movements.

They see Europe, the United States and Israel as embroiled in a clash of civilizations between the enlightened West and the barbaric Middle East.

They believe that violence can subordinate Palestinians and other Arabs to their will. They defend the overwhelming firepower of the American and Israeli militaries as key to regional stability, an illusion that fuels the flames of regional war and perpetuates the genocide in Gaza.

In short, these four men are grossly incompetent. They join the club of other ignorant leaders, such as those who led the suicide massacre in World War I, fought in the Vietnam quagmire, or organized the recent series of military disasters in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

They endowed the supposed authority vested in executive power to bypass Congress, provide weapons to Israel and carry out military strikes in Yemen and Iraq. This Biden inner circle rejects the State Department's most meticulous and informed lawyers, and the intelligence community, who view the Biden administration's refusal to pressure Israel to stop the ongoing genocide as unwise and dangerous.

Biden has always been an ardent militari. He was calling for war with Iraq five years before the invasion of the United States. He built his political career by fostering the white middle class's aversion to grassroots movements, including anti-war and civil rights movements, that shook the country in the sixties and seventies. He's a Republican disguised as a Democrat. Join Southern segregation advocates to oppose bringing black students to white schools. He opposed federal funding for abortion, and supported a constitutional amendment that would allow states to restrict Abortion.

President George H. W. Bush attacked in 1989 for being too lenient in  the "war on drugs." He was one of the architects of the 1994 crime bill and a host of other draconian laws that doubled the U.S. prison population, militarized police and tightened drug laws that sentenced drug offenders to life without parole. He endorsed the North American Free Trade Agreement, the biggest betrayal of the working class since the Taft Hartley Act of 1947.

He has always been a staunch advocate for Israel, boasting that he has raised more for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) than any other senator.

Israel's invention

"As many of you have heard me before, if there were no Israel, America would have to invent one."  In 2015, Biden told an audience that included the Israeli ambassador at Israel's sixty-seventh annual Independence Day celebration in Washington, D.C., "We have to invent one because ... It protects our interests as well as ours."  During the speech himself he said: "The truth of the matter is that we need you. The world needs you. Imagine what you would say about humanity and the future of the twenty-first century if Israel were not sustainable, vibrant and free."

The previous year, Biden delivered an eloquent eulogy for Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister and general who was implicated in the massacres of Palestinians, Lebanese and others in Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon — and Egyptian prisoners of war — dating back to the fifties. He described Sharon as "part of one of the most prominent founding generations in the history of not only this nation, but any nation."

At a time when Cal is opposing Donald Trump and his administration, he has not canceled Trump's termination of the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by Barack Obama, or Trump's sanctions against Iran. He has embraced Trump's close ties with Saudi Arabia. He did not intervene to curb Israeli attacks on Palestinians and settlement expansion in the West Bank. Trump's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem was not reversed, even though the embassy includes territories illegally colonized by Israel after the invasion of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967.

As a seven-term senator from Delaware, Biden has received more financial support from pro-Israel donors than any other senator since 1990. Biden maintains this record despite the fact that his Senate career ended in 2009, when he became Vice President Obama. Biden makes clear his commitment to Israel as "personal" and "political."

He has echoed Israeli propaganda — including slander about children beheaded and Israeli women widely raped by Hamas fighters — and asked Congress to provide $14 billion in additional aid to Israel since the Oct. 7 attack. It has gone beyond Congress twice to supply Israel with thousands of bombs and munitions, including at least 100 2,000-pound bombs  , used in the scorched earth campaign in Gaza.

Hunger in Gaza

Israel has killed or seriously injured nearly 90,000 Palestinians in Gaza, nearly one in 20 people. More than 60  percent of homes have been destroyed or damaged. "Safe zones," to which some two million Gazans have been instructed to flee in southern Gaza, have been bombed with thousands of casualties. Palestinians in Gaza now make up 80 percent of all people facing starvation or catastrophic hunger worldwide, according to to the United Nations.

Everyone in Gaza is hungry. A quarter of the population is starving and struggling to find food and drinking water. Famine is imminent. 335,000 children under the age of five are at high risk of malnutrition. Some 50,000 pregnant women lack access to health care and adequate nutrition.

Everything could end if the United States chooses to intervene.

Retired Israeli Major General Yitzhak Brick told the Jewish Broadcasting Corporation: "All our rockets, ammunition, precision-guided bombs, all the planes and bombs, all from the United States." "The moment they turn off the tap, you can't keep fighting."  "You don't have any ability... Everyone understands that we cannot fight this war without the United States. for a while."

Blinken and his role in the invasion of Iraq

Blinken was Biden's main foreign policy adviser when Biden was the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee. He lobbied with Biden for an invasion of Iraq. When Obama's deputy national security adviser, he called for the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in 2011. He opposed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. He worked on Biden's disastrous plan to divide Iraq along ethnic lines.

"Within the Obama White House, Blinken played an influential role in imposing sanctions on Russia over Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014, and then led to ultimately unsuccessful calls for the United States to arm Ukraine," according to the Atlantic Council, NATO's unofficial think tank.

When Blinken landed in Israel after attacks by Hamas and other resistance groups on  October 7, he declared at a press conference with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "I have come before you not only as US secretary of state, but also as a Jew."

On behalf of Israel, he tried to pressure Arab leaders to accept 2.3 million Palestinian refugees whom Israel intends to ethnically cleanse from Gaza, a demand that sparked outrage among Arab leaders.

Brilliant opportunists

Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser, and McGurk are accomplished opportunists, Machiavellian bureaucrats who cater to the ruling power centers, including the Israel lobby.

Sullivan was the chief architect of Hillary Clinton's Asia hub. He supported the TPP for corporate and investor rights, which were sold as helping the United States contain China. Trump eventually killed the trade agreement in the face of mass opposition from the American people. His focus is on thwarting a rising China, including through the expansion of the U.S. military.

Although Sullivan is not focused on the Middle East, he is a foreign policy hawk, with a strong pride in the power to shape the world according to U.S. demands. It embraces the "military sweater," arguing that massive government spending on the arms industry benefits the local economy.

In a 7,000-word article for Foreign Affairs magazine published five days before the October 7 attacks, which killed some 1,200 Israelis, Sullivan revealed his lack of understanding of Middle East dynamics.

"Although the Middle East still suffers from constant challenges," he writes in the original version of the article, "the region is quieter than it has been in decades," adding that in the face of "serious" frictions, "we have escalated the crises in Gaza."

Sullivan ignores Palestinian aspirations and Washington's rhetorical support for a two-state solution in the article, which was hastily rewritten in the online version after the October 7 attacks. In his original article, he writes:

At a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, last year, the president outlined his Middle East policy in a letter to the leaders of members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan. His approach brings discipline back to U.S. policy. It emphasizes deterring aggression, de-escalating conflicts, and integrating the region through joint infrastructure projects and new partnerships, including between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

McGurk, Biden's deputy assistant and Middle East and North Africa coordinator at the White House National Security Council, was a key architect of Bush's "adventure" in Iraq, accelerating the bloodshed. He served as legal adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority and U.S. ambassador to Baghdad. He then became the anti-ISIS Trump Caesar.

He does not speak Arabic – none of the four men speak Arabic – and came to Iraq without knowledge of its history, peoples or culture. However, he helped draft Iraq's interim constitution and oversaw the legal transition from the Coalition Provisional Authority to an interim Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

McGurk was an early supporter of Nouri al-Maliki, who was Iraq's prime minister between 2006 and 2014. Maliki built a Shia-dominated sectarian state, alienating Sunni Arabs and Kurds. In 2005, McGurk moved to the National Security Council, where he served as Director of Iraq, and later as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Iraq and Afghanistan. Served on the staff of the National Security Council from 2005 to 2009. In 2015, he was appointed Obama's special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS. Trump kept it until his resignation in December 2018.

An April 2021 article titled: "Brett McGurk: The Hero of Our Time," in New Lines magazine by former BBC foreign correspondent Paul Wood, paints a scathing portrait of McGurk. Wood wrote:

"A senior Western diplomat who served in Baghdad told me that McGurk was an absolute disaster for Iraq." He's an accomplished employee in Washington, but I haven't seen any sign that he's interested in Iraqis or Iraq as a place full of real people.  It was simply a bureaucratic and political challenge for him."  One critic who was in Baghdad with McGurk called him Machiavelli incarnate. It's intelligence plus ambition, plus sheer cruelty regardless of cost."

An American diplomat who was at the embassy when McGurk reached his steady progress found his steady progress astonishing, "Brett only meets people who speak English." ...  "There are almost four people in the government who speak English. Somehow he is now the one who must decide the fate of Iraq? How did that happen?"

Even those who didn't like McGurk had to admit that he had a formidable mind — and he was a hard worker. He was also a talented writer, not surprisingly, because he wrote for Chief Justice William Renquist. His rise mirrored the rise of an Iraqi politician named Nouri al-Maliki, one helping the other. This is the tragedy of McGurk – and the tragedy of Iraq.

McGurk's critics say his lack of Arabic meant he didn't understand the hateful sectarian narratives of what Maliki was saying in meetings from the start. Translators censored or failed to keep up. Like many Americans in Iraq, McGurk was deaf to what was happening around him.

Maliki was the result of two mistakes by the United States. The extent of McGurk's relationship with them remains disputed. The first mistake was to "dissolve 80 percent" to govern Iraq. Sunni Arabs were waging a bloody insurgency, but they were only 20% of the population. The theory was that you could run Iraq with Kurds and Shiites. The second mistake was to identify Shiites with hardline religious parties backed by Iran. Maliki, a member of the Dawa Party, was the beneficiary of this.

In a May 2022 HuffPost article by Akbar Shahid Ahmed, titled: "Biden's Senior Middle East Adviser Ignited the House and Showed Up with a Fire Extinguisher," McGurk's colleague, who asked not to be named, described him as "the most talented bureaucrat they've ever seen, with the worst foreign policy judgment they've ever seen."

McGurk, like others in the Biden administration, is bizarrely focused on what comes after Israel's genocidal campaign, rather than trying to stop it. McGurk suggested refusing humanitarian aid, and refusing to implement a truce in the fighting in Gaza until all Israeli hostages were released. Biden and his three closest political advisers have called on the Palestinian Authority — an Israeli puppet regime rejected by most Palestinians — to take control of Gaza once Israel has settled it. Since October 7, they have called on Israel to take steps toward The two-state solution, a plan Netanyahu rejected in a humiliating public rebuke of the White House and Biden.

The White House spends more time talking to Israelis than Palestinians, who at best, are a later idea. The idea of "Alice in Wonderland" — that once the carnage in Gaza is over, a diplomatic agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia will be the key to regional stability — is disturbing. The genocide in Israel, and Washington's complicity, are tearing apart U.S. credibility and influence, especially in the global South and the Muslim world. It guarantees another generation of angry Palestinians — who have been obliterated Their families and the destruction of their homes – seeking revenge.

The policies adopted by the Biden administration ignore not only the realities of the Arab world indifferently, but also the realities of an extremist Israeli state, and with Congress bought and paid for by the Israel lobby, it could care no less about what the White House dreamed of. Israel has no intention of creating a viable Palestinian state. Its goal is the ethnic cleansing of 2.3 million Palestinians from Gaza and the annexation of Gaza to Israel. When Israel finishes Gaza, it will turn into the West Bank, where Israeli raids now occur almost every night, and where thousands have been arrested and detained without charge since October 7.

Those who run the scene in the White House are chasing rainbows. The folly march led by these four blind perpetuates the catastrophic suffering of the Palestinians, fuels a regional war and heralds another tragic and self-destructive chapter in two decades of U.S. military failure in the Middle East.

American military writer and correspondent
Former Middle East bureau director at The New York Times

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