Entities known to have friendly ties to the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, from Iran’s Islamist regime to Venezuelan socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro, have enjoyed financial benefits for years from the easing of sanctions under left-wing President Joe Biden – benefits that merit closer examination in light of this unprecedented surge. of terrorism hitting Israel on Saturday.
Israeli authorities estimate that more than 300 people have died and identified nearly 1,600 injured in the past 24 hours following thousands of rocket attacks and waves of street attacks against civilians. Reports indicate that Hamas terrorists have taken an unknown number of Israeli civilians hostage – estimated at several dozen, including women, children and elderly people suffering from dementia. Terrorists flooded social media with graphic videos appearing to show the torture of hostages.
Hamas called this wave of terrorism the “Al-Aqsa flood” and promised that the attacks would continue indefinitely.
The Palestinian terrorist attack occurred on the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret, the last day of the annual High Holiday cycle.
These attacks follow years of Biden administration policies aimed at helping supporters of Palestinian terrorism. Most recently, in September, a report revealed that the State Department had awarded more than $90,000 in funding to the Phoenix Center for Research and Field Studies in Gaza, a “non-governmental” group that describes itself as supporting the “resistance army” against Israel.
Less directly, but perhaps more influentially, the Biden administration has aided some of Hamas’s most high-profile international supporters.
Although a Sunni Arab organization, Hamas has long had close ties to the Shiite regime in Iran. After a brief cooling of relations during the early years of the Syrian civil war, the Islamic regime and the terrorist organization reestablished their association to the point that the Hamas leader identified Tehran as his “greatest financial and military supporter.” Military experts studying the drones used in Saturday’s attack have suggested they were at least inspired by Iranian designs, if not purely Iranian-made weapons.
Iran’s “supreme leader”, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, celebrated the carnage on his Twitter account on Saturday, writing: “God willing, the cancer of the usurping Zionist regime will be eradicated by the Palestinian people.”
God willing, the cancer of the usurping Zionist regime will be eradicated through the hands of the Palestinian people and the Resistance forces throughout the region. #AlAqsaStorm pic.twitter.com/XDyxoTT4gw
– Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) October 7, 2023
Appeasement policies toward Iran have been a cornerstone of the Biden administration’s approach to the Middle East. Tehran recently learned that the White House would allow it access to $6 billion in frozen assets as part of sanctions against the country for its financing of terrorist activities. Biden reportedly exchanged the $6 billion for the release of five Americans held hostage in Iranian prisons. The United States reportedly facilitated the unfreezing of $6 billion held in South Korea and the transfer of that money to Iranian ally Qatar before the Americans were released.
“This is not a ransom,” John Kirby, White House National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, insisted in August before reports citing Biden administration officials confirmed the deal on September 11th.
Khamenei marked the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 jihadist attacks with a speech celebrating the demise of the United States.
“The main lines of this transformation are several things: first of all, the weakening of the arrogant powers of the world,” Khamenei said. “They themselves say that indicators of American power in the world, such as the economy, are in decline. One of the most important indicators of American power was the strength of the American economy; They say it’s in decline.
“Hamas is financed and equipped by Tehran… something the United States has appeased and enabled in recent months, as billions of dollars flowed into the regime’s coffers,” said Jake Wallis Simons, the daily’s editor-in-chief. Jewish Chronicle observed this weekend.
The $6 billion donation caps a policy that began at the start of the Biden administration. In June 2021, Biden lifted sanctions on three former Iranian officials and two companies sanctioned for involvement in Iran’s oil industry, on the grounds that the targeted entities allegedly made a “verified change in behavior or status.”
One of Biden’s first acts in office – in February 2021 – was the removal of one of Iran’s closest terrorist allies in the region, the Yemeni Houthi movement, from the US government’s list of terrorist organizations designated foreigners. The Houthis, also known as Ansarallah, have engaged in a bloody civil war in Yemen for nearly a decade under their slogan “Allah is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse the Jews, victory of Islam.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken clearly stated that the revocation of the terrorist designation was not the result of the Houthis stopping terrorist activities. Rather, the goal of lifting sanctions was to allow money to flow to areas of Yemen controlled by the Houthis.
“By focusing on improving the humanitarian situation in Yemen, we hope that the Yemeni parties can also focus on engaging in dialogue,” Blinken said at the time.
Rather than “focusing on engaging in dialogue,” the Houthis have expanded their terrorist activities into Saudi Arabia.
Despite being a Shiite terrorist group, the Houthis and Hamas leaders have publicly expressed solidarity with each other’s causes, even in the face of criticism from their supporters.
Across the world, in Venezuela, the Biden administration has also worked to ease sanctions against the socialist regime’s oil industry, despite a documented and long-term relationship between dictator Nicolás Maduro and terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The biggest boon for Venezuela was the Biden administration’s authorization to allow US company Chevron to begin “limited” oil production in the country, requiring cooperation with Maduro’s state oil company , Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).
Oil production, which collapsed after decades of socialist mismanagement of PDVSA facilities and sanctions against the oil industry, has skyrocketed since November in the country. Venezuela announced last week jointly with the Iranian and Syrian dictatorships that the three would soon collaborate on building an oil refinery in Homs, a former opposition stronghold emptied during the Syrian civil war. All three will benefit from the operation carried out.
The three countries initially announced interest in building such a refinery in Homs in 2017, but did not follow through on the plan after President Donald Trump imposed heavy sanctions on Iran and Venezuela.
Iran and Venezuela have been close allies since the tenure of the late dictator Hugo Chávez. Maduro, then foreign minister, reportedly first met with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in 2007 to strike a deal on allegedly helping jihadists acquire weapons, profit from drug trafficking and obtaining passports. In 2020, the U.S. government accused a close Maduro associate, Adel El Zabayar, of engaging in narcoterrorism activities by attempting to sell cocaine in the United States to finance Hezbollah and Hamas.
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