As the war in Ukraine approaches its second anniversary and the Biden administration continues to push for more U.S. aid for that nation, a growing number of Americans on both sides of the aisle are shifting their focus to the unrest in Israel.
On top of the 2,000 non-combat troops prepare to be deployed to the region, U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) recently indicated that America should be prepared to authorize military force “in the event it’s necessary.”
Pentagon Puts 2,000 Troops on 'Prepare to Deploy Order' in Middle East
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin gave the order.https://t.co/6QzXPRpnSx
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) October 17, 2023
The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee confirmed that the panel has already begun working on legislation to allow such intervention.
“I hope I never have to mark this bill up,” McCaul said. “But we have a situation in the Middle East that’s growing day by day with intensity and if Hezbollah gets involved, Iran has already threatened if Gaza is, you know, if Israel goes, you know, if [Israeli Defense Forces] goes into Gaza, they’re going to come out.”
Although the Texas Republican confirmed he had “been in contact” with the White House, he declined to say whether the Biden administration had requested the committee begin working on the military authorization bill.
As for the scope of the permissions his bill might provide U.S. troops, McCaul noted: “They do not have authorities to hit Hezbollah or Hamas or any of Iran’s proxies, even the Iran-backed militias in Iraq, for instance. So this is something we are looking at.”
At this point, however, he is playing his cards close to the chest and has not offered much insight into the nations — such as Iran, which has been a pivotal source of funding for Hamas — might be listed in such a bill.
“I’d prefer not to put Iran as a nation-state in there,” McCaul said. “It would be more Iran proxies, you know, like Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran-backed Shia militias. But if Iran gets directly involved, then we would have to put them on the list.”
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), who is also campaigning in the 2024 GOP presidential primary, introduced a bill in the upper chamber that would re-freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets that were released by the U.S. as part of a prisoner exchange earlier this year.
He called the deal “a grave mistake that created a market for American hostages, emboldened our adversaries, and put a credit on the balance sheets of one of Hamas’ biggest backers.”