In the aftermath of a shocking wave of Hamas attacks on military and civilian targets in Israel that began over the weekend, Republicans are turning their attentions to the potential causes of the bloodshed, with many placing blame at President Joe Biden's feet, as Fox News reports.
According to a number of GOP lawmakers, the Biden administration's recent decision to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets in exchange for the release of five American citizens fostered the conditions for the militants to launch their deadly incursion.
Republicans blast Biden
At issue for many in the Republican congressional delegation is Biden's September decision to release the aforementioned assets in a prisoner exchange agreement.
According to the deal, the money in question could be transferred from a South Korean bank to designated accounts in Qatar, from which Iran would be able to indirectly apply determined amounts to humanitarian purposes that would supposedly be subject to American oversight.
The arrangements were controversial from the moment they were announced, and the events in Israel this weekend have only intensified criticism of the administration's maneuvering.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) was among those outraged by the move, saying, “Just weeks ago, the Biden administration handed over $6 billion to Iran, and today, innocent Israelis were murdered by Iran-backed terrorists.”
Remarking on the timing of the funds release and the terror campaign in Israel, Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) observed, “This is exactly why so many Americans & Israelis were DISGUSTED to see [President Biden] give the Iranian regime $6 billion last month. Every dollar given to Iran funds terrorism in the Ayatollah's quest to destroy Israel.”
“Iran is behind today's invasion & everyone must say that,” Scott added.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC) concurred, posting on X, “Biden just gave Hamas sponsor Iran $6 billion. Today, innocent Israeli citizens have paid with their lives for his and the Obama holdovers' venal incompetence.”
Administration denials persist
Quick to dispute Republican efforts to connect the two events, State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said, “Let's be clear: the deal to bring U.S. citizens home from Iran has nothing to do with the horrific attack on Israel.”
“Not a penny has been spent, and when it is, it can only go for humanitarian needs like food and medicine. Anything to the contrary is false,” Miller added.
However, those on the other side of the issue continue to maintain that, given the fungibility of money, funds can simply be diverted in whatever manner Iran sees fit, and given its existing status as a supporter of Hamas and amid claims from leaders of the militant group that Tehran was indeed involved in the planning of the sweeping attacks, administration deflection attempts may fall largely on deaf ears.