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Magazine redacts article by Biden aide boasting of Middle East achievements

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan claimed that the US President had “restored diplomacy” between Israel and Palestine

Foreign Affairs Magazine has deleted large sections of an essay by US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, in which he boasted that President Joe Biden had successfully defused tensions between Israel and Palestine and protected American troops from attacks in Iraq and Syria. 

Written days before Hamas fighters stormed Israeli settlements and set off the most serious escalation in the region in decades, Sullivan’s article proclaimed that “the Israeli-Palestinian situation is tense, particularly in the West Bank, but in the face of serious frictions, we have de-escalated crises in Gaza and restored direct diplomacy between the parties after years of its absence.”

“US troops were under regular attack in Iraq and Syria,” Sullivan continued, adding that “such attacks, at least for now, have largely stopped.”

Jake Sullivan wrote an essay for Foreign Affairs that went to print before Oct 7. For the online version that came out yesterday, they let him not just add new material but scrub the sections embarrassed by events. Some deleted gems from the original, not available online (1/6): pic.twitter.com/53e7E2Di9g

— Jeremy Stern (@JeremySternLA) October 25, 2023

“Indeed, although the Middle East remains beset with perennial challenges, the region is quieter than it has been for decades,” he declared.

Sullivan’s claims were proven wrong with the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. Aside from the breakdown in diplomacy between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, American troops have faced repeated drone and rocket attacks at bases in Iraq and Syria this month. At the same time, Israel’s Arab neighbors have all warned of the possibility of a wider regional war that could draw in the US and Iran.

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Published on Tuesday, the online version of Sullivan’s article has had these paragraphs removed. In a note at the end of the piece, Foreign Affairs noted that “a passage…about the Middle East was updated to address Hamas’s attack on Israel, which occurred after the print version of the article went to press.” 

In the newly updated version, Sullivan states, “The October 7 attacks have cast a shadow over the entire regional picture, the repercussions of which are still playing out, including the risk of significant regional escalation. But the disciplined approach in the Middle East that we have pursued remains core to our posture and planning as we deal with this crisis.”

Also absent from the online version is a paragraph describing how the Biden administration’s efforts to sow “new partnerships” between Israel and the Arab states are “bearing fruit.” While Riyadh and West Jerusalem were reportedly on the cusp of a historic US-brokered peace deal before the war, negotiations have since been shelved, according to sources close to the Saudi monarchy.


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