Home Top Stories Jake Sullivan defends saying Middle East region was ‘quieter’ days before Hamas attack

Jake Sullivan defends saying Middle East region was ‘quieter’ days before Hamas attack

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Jake Sullivan defends saying Middle East region was ‘quieter’ days before Hamas attack

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Eight days before Hamas launched its deadly attack on Israel, national security adviser Jake Sullivan had described the Middle East region as “quieter” than it had been in two decades. He defended those remarks on “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

“Jake, why was your assessment there so far off the mark?” NBC News’ Kristen Welker asked.

Sullivan said that he made those comments “in the context of developments in the wider Middle East region over the last few years.”

“After two decades that involved a civil war in Yemen and a massive humanitarian catastrophe, a civil war in Syria and a massive refugee crisis and invasion and insurgency in Iraq, a NATO military operation in Libya, Iranian backed attacks on both Saudi and the UAE, as well as many other steps including the rise of a terrorist caliphate that actually occupied a huge amount of territory,” he said.

Speaking at The Atlantic Festival eight days before Hamas’ attack, Sullivan said: “The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades now. Now challenges remain — Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, but the amount of time that I have to spend on crisis and conflict in the Middle East today compared to any of my predecessors, going back to 9/11 is significantly reduced.”

Sullivan noted that, in the sentence before the clip of his remarks aired on “Meet the Press,” he said that the situation in the Middle East “could all change” and that the two threats that he had identified at the time were: tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the threat from Iran — which has historically backed Hezbollah.

“And so, yes, it is true that those two threats remained a real challenge to the long-term stability of the Middle East region, and we’ve just seen this absolutely tragic attack,” he said. “But at no point did the Biden administration take its eye off the ball of the threats to Israel.”

“In fact, President Biden saw Prime Minister Netanyahu just weeks before this attack to discuss the security challenges facing the state of Israel and we’ve continued to support them to as significant or greater an extent than any previous administration,” he added.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Washington on September 15, 2023.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington on Sept. 15.Brendan Smialowski / AFP – Getty Images

Hamas launched the terror attack on Israel with plans to target elementary schools and a youth center, NBC News reported.

Hamas’ brutal attack has prompted an all-out war with Israel, which has continued to hit the Gaza Strip with airstrikes. Gaza is experiencing a humanitarian crisis as hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians flee to the south amid the Israeli military’s airstrikes.

More than 2,300 people have been killed in Gaza and 9,000 injured. In Israel, 1,400 people have been killed and 3,500 wounded. Twenty-nine Americans were also killed and 15 remain missing, according to the State Department.

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