White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby reported that there are currently no "active efforts" to evacuate American civilians from the region beyond the new charter flights the government started operating earlier this month out of Israel. (Related: Defense officials warn: Iran could use Israel-Palestine chaos as an "opportunity" to attack American forces all over the Middle East.)
"It would be imprudent and irresponsible if we didn't have folks thinking through a broad range of contingencies and possibilities," Kirby added. "And certainly evacuations are one of those things."
The White House is particularly concerned about Americans living in Israel and neighboring Lebanon. Current State Department estimates suggest that, before the conflict began in early October, there were about 600,000 U.S. citizens in Israel and another 86,000 in Lebanon and several hundred thousand more Americans spread out over the rest of the Middle East.
U.S. officials have been particularly cagey about discussing contingency plans in public, claiming that doing so could set off a panic among Americans in the region. But heightened concerns about a possible escalation in the conflict – such as the threat of Hezbollah attacking Israel from the north and creating a two-front conflict – has changed the White House's stance, conveying the government's anxiety about a broadened conflict.
The State Department recently issued an advisory to all U.S. citizens worldwide "to exercise increased caution" due to "increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks [and] demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests."
Experts have warned that, depending on the scale of the potential American evacuation, it could be the most difficult operation conducted by the Pentagon in recent memory, potentially even involving the use of Air Force and Navy aircraft and warships.
Rick Wiles of TruNews commented that he does not trust the current government of President Joe Biden to be able to carry out the successful evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Americans, noting how the evacuation of several thousand Americans from Afghanistan two years ago was already mismanaged.
"There are 600,000 Americans living just in Israel," said Wiles. "When you add up all of the Americans in the Middle East, that's over a million people – and you're gonna trust the Biden administration to get you out?"
"They didn't save Americans when they evacuated – when they fled Afghanistan. They left Americans behind," added Wiles, who noted how the mishandled evacuation of Kabul was comparable to the chaotic American retreat from Saigon during the Vietnam War.
"With 600,000 Americans in Israel and threats to other Americans across the region, it's hard to think of an evacuation that might compare to this in scale, scope and complexity," warned Suzanne Maloney, director of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution. "The sort of advisories the State Department has put out lately have been fairly blunt."
Visit WhiteHouse.news for more similar stories.
Watch this clip from "TruNews" as host Rick Wiles discusses how the Department of Defense is preparing contingency plans to evacuate over a million Americans in the Middle East.