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As Israel presses conflict, US frustration grows
Biden frustrated by Israel's insistence on conflict | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

As Israel presses conflict, US frustration grows

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. Of course it is the Middle East that we are first and foremost exercised about. Not the biggest topic in Europe for the Munich Security Conference. That was Navalny and Russia and Ukraine. But back in the United States and for most of the rest of the world, it is still the Middle East.

And that is in part because there is less optimism about an imminent deal on the remaining hostages, which has led the Israeli government to step up the pressure, saying if you don't give all of the hostages back, in short order, that they're going to engage in ground warfare against Rafah, where over a million Palestinians are sheltering, if we can call it that, having already been resettled from other parts in the rest of Gaza, and they have nowhere to go.

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Biden and Israeli war cabinet go public over disagreement in Gaza war
Biden and Israeli war cabinet go public over disagreement in Gaza war | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Biden and Israeli war cabinet go public over disagreement in Gaza war

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody, and a happy Monday to you. A Quick Take to kick off your week, and it is still the war in the Middle East that is capturing my and so many of our attention. It's an increasingly public fight between the Biden administration and the Israeli war cabinet, particularly Biden and Netanyahu, becoming more public. It's not new, it just had been very private, the fact that there are large disagreements about how this war should be fought.

The Biden administration, the President himself saying the Palestinian Authority needs to have a direct role in any security of Gaza going forward. Netanyahu saying that he absolutely opposes such a role, not suggesting who else might play one. I suspect he wants it to be Egypt, though the Egyptians are saying, "Absolutely not." The Americans saying that Israel needs to move to a new, less intense phase of fighting, especially as the Israelis are now saying it's not just another month, but months more of fighting. The Israelis not directly opposing that publicly, but certainly not admitting to it. And in fact, the focus has continued to be, "Whatever it takes," to ensure that Hamas is completely destroyed. They will make that determination, I'm sure there will be a lot of judgment and gray zone in terms of when that might happen, but we don't yet see the Israeli government talking about a new phase.

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U.S. President Joe Biden, left, pauses during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Miriam Alster/Pool via REUTERS

US aid for Israel: How much and since when?

US President Joe Biden raised some eyebrows earlier this week when he warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the IDF’s “indiscriminate” bombing of the Gaza Strip risked isolating Israel internationally. This kind of direct US criticism of Israel’s military approach was notable mainly for how rare it is.

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Why the Israel-Hamas war is so dangerous long-term, according to Rahm Emanuel
Why the Israel-Hamas war is so dangerous long-term, according to Rahm Emanuel | GZERO World

Why the Israel-Hamas war is so dangerous long-term, according to Rahm Emanuel

US Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emanuel, is keen to stay in his lane. In an exclusive and wide-ranging interview in Tokyo, Japan, on GZERO World, he tells Ian Bremmer this more than once. But that doesn't mean he can't weigh in, at least a bit, on two raging conflicts outside of Asia: the Israel-Hamas war and the conflict in Ukraine.

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Can the US-Israel relationship still rely on shared values?
US-Israel relations: Gaza war pulling allies apart | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

Can the US-Israel relationship still rely on shared values?

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here. A Quick Take to kick off your week. We are still very much focused on the war in the Middle East. Now, Israel attacking on the ground and in the air, all of Gaza, including troops in the major city, in the South Khan Younis. Obviously, the numbers of Hamas militants that are getting round-up, that are getting arrested, that are getting killed, going way up. Number of civilians that are getting killed, also going way up. And in the context of all of that, greater tensions on the border with Lebanon, though I still think it's unlikely that Hezbollah is going to enter into the fight. Greater attacks by the Houthis in Yemen on Israeli shipping, as well as on American military vessels in the Red Sea. And that makes it more likely that the Israelis expand their focus on that part of the fight and maybe even strike Iran down the road.

But the big question I suppose is, what does this mean for the long-term relationship with the United States, Israel's relationship with the United States, which has been on display as incredibly strong and unflagging even in the context of major domestic backlash against Biden in his own party for supporting it as well as around the world? And with the United Nations Security Council resolution that the Americans vetoed, 13 countries, including strong American allies, supported, and only the United Kingdom abstained.

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US-Israel relations strained as Gaza war continues
TITLE PLACEHOLDER | Ian Bremmer | Quick Take

US-Israel relations strained as Gaza war continues

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi everybody. Ian Bremmer here from Tokyo, Japan. And a Quick Take to kick off your week. And, of course, we are still talking about the ongoing war in the Middle East, which is very much on again, as there is inability to get further deals on hostages for prisoners and aid. And that means the Gaza War is not only in the north, but now across the south as well. And this is a significant problem for the United States which, increasingly, is finding itself isolated on this issue. In fact, I would say in terms of global support for the US on Israel, it's about as opposed as we saw in the initial weeks of the world against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It's a shocking place to be, given, first of all, how important and how deep the US Military alliance is and has been with Israel. And, also, given that it is in response to horrific, unprecedented terrorist attacks and unspeakable atrocities on October 7th.

But the reality is that, as the war has pressed on, the information war is being won by Hamas internationally. And the level of atrocities that are being committed on the ground, and impossible to remove Hamas, short of that, is hurting Israel's position. We are seeing the Americans start to move publicly towards a position of pressuring Israel more. And I specifically note, with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who came out in recent hours saying that the Palestinian civilian population would be the center of the future of whether or not there's resolution and peace and stability following this war. And that Israel was in danger of winning the tactical battle, but losing the strategic battle, as Palestinians continue to be devastated in large, large numbers. That's the first time I've ever seen a US Secretary of Defense talk about the potential strategic loss in a war of a principal US ally, certainly in my lifetime. And it was said pointedly and certainly with preparation. In other words, this was a message, even like a brushback against Bibi Netanyahu and the war cabinet.

Two other things I would mention quickly. One is that the cases against Bibi Netanyahu at home in Israel, you'd think these aren't relevant to the war, but they have been reopened. And those investigations are restarting now in the Jerusalem District Court. And certainly Bibi understands that unless he's able... Very unpopular right now, not likely to last very much beyond the war. Unless he's able to get his political allies to find a way to make those crimes not crimes, legislatively, then he's facing jail time. So he has an incentive to keep the war going domestically, in addition to removing Hamas.

There's also the question of what it means to destroy Hamas. Is it you have to kill the leadership, but you can still have a lot of people running around with weapons? Is that you have to get rid of all of the tunnel infrastructure and all of their military infrastructure? At some point, someone's going to make that decision inside the Israeli war cabinet, and it's not going to be 100 or zero. It's going to be 50% or 60% or 70% or 80%. And that decision is going to be not just about what the Israeli generals think, but also the level of international pressure on the country. So it's a tough one.

Finally, when we look at the Middle East more broadly, as the Israelis have restarted the war in Gaza against Hamas, you also have a significant escalation of Houthis, the Shia militant forces in Yemen, attacking the United States. And an unprecedented level of military strikes against the US warship, as well as lots of commercial traffic and the Americans responding in kind. That is very different. For the first time, not a nuisance attack against an American ship or a base that would be easy to shoot down, but rather a more significant and extended amount of violence. The potential for this war to expand across the region is very real indeed. And in that regard, we don't see guardrails in the Middle East. That's also something that a Biden administration, facing a very tough reelection campaign, is super, super concerned about. So anyway, that's it from me for now, and I'll talk to you all real soon.

Israel-Hamas war: Hostage release doesn't mean the end is near
Israel-Hamas war: Hostage release doesn't mean the end is near | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Israel-Hamas war: Hostage release doesn't mean the end is near

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hi, everybody. Ian Bremmer here and a Quick Take to kick off your week. And yes, we are back to the Israel-Gaza war and it is at least a little bit of good news with some hostages finally being released over a month and a half from when they were originally taken. That has gotten us some Palestinian prisoners released, some humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza and a ceasefire for a few days. And indeed, looks like it will now plausibly be extended for another day or two as more hostages are being let go.

Got to give Qatar a lot of credit here for playing a role in negotiating between Israel and Hamas. Not an easy thing to do. Qatar, an ally of the United States, the biggest military base on the ground, but also a government that has allowed the political leadership of Hamas to live inside their territory in peace and security as they have Taliban leadership for years. And that proves to be useful for both the Americans and the Israelis, more on that later. But is this potentially the beginning of the end of the war? And on that front, I think we have to say absolutely not for a few reasons.

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Israel’s geopolitical missteps in Gaza
Israel’s geopolitical missteps in Gaza | Quick Take | GZERO Media

Israel’s geopolitical missteps in Gaza

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Back to the Middle East. We are now over a month of war between Israel and Hamas following the October 7th terror attacks. And frankly, it is not going all that well. What I mean by that is, it's an awful lot of carnage. It's an awful lot of political division around the world. And Israel, with the exception of a strong relationship with the United States, feels increasingly isolated. That's certainly in the message I was hearing from the Europeans over the last week, getting more and more uncomfortable as this war goes on. The Americans privately saying that to the Israelis, though publicly, certainly standing very, very strongly with them. And members of the Israeli cabinet increasingly believing that the pressure on them is going to grow significantly over the next few weeks as the war continues.

So is there anything else they could have done, right? Because I mean, if you're saying, well, this is really challenging, the fight and it's leading to enormous backlash and, you know, from the region and from the Global South and even from countries that are quite friendly and well-disposed to Israel, then what might you have suggested they do instead?

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