Biden warns Israel that US will not assist with Iran conflict

According to US government officials, President Joe Biden told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 14th that the US would not assist Israel in a counter-offensive against Iran following April 13th’s attack, Middle East Online and agencies reported.

Iran launched hundreds of drones and missiles at Israel as a retaliatory attack following the destruction of the Iranian embassy in Damascus on April 1st, suspected to have been headed by Israel.

Israel had been anticipating such an attack from Iran, seeking support from many other countries — including the US. 

READ: Cameron urges against Iranian revenge attack on Israel

Following the attacks, Biden released a statement on the same day, claiming to have commended Netanyahu for Israel’s “remarkable capacity to defend against and defeat even unprecedented attacks.” Though Biden did not clarify if he and Netanyahu discussed an Israeli response or US involvement.

“We believe Israel has freedom of action to protect itself and defend itself, in Syria or elsewhere,” said a senior Biden administration official. “That’s a long-standing policy and that remains, but no, we would not envision ourselves participating in such a thing.” 

Similarly, John Kirby, White House National Security Communications Advisor, clarified that while US commitment to aiding Israeli defense is “ironclad,” the country does not want war with Iran, he told ABC on April 14th.

READ: “Death to Israel!”: Jubilant Iranians applaud retaliation strikes

“We don’t seek escalated tensions in the region,” he said. “We don’t seek a wider conflict.” 

On April 11th, Central Command Chief General Micheal Erik Kurilla arrived in Israel “to meet with key IDF leadership and discuss the current security threats in the region,” said Pentagon spokesperson Major General Pat Ryder. 

Though, comparatively, in an April 4th phone call, Biden explicitly told Netanyahu that continued US support in the Israel-Hamas war hinged on improved conditions in the Gaza Strip, further straining the alliance between the two nations. 

“As the president has said many times, we don’t seek a wider war in the region,” Kirby added. “We don’t seek a war with Iran, and I think I will leave it at that.”

Middle East Online and agencies

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