Jordanian Queen Rania Abdullah once quoted, “To achieve lasting peace in the Middle-East takes guts, not guns”.
If we analyse this remark, we’ll uncover that remark’s implication is profound. She emphasizes the need for encouragement & persistence from the Middle-Easterners to overcome the current predicament in the Middle-East.
However, the reality is wholly contrary. Yes, the Middle-Easterners try to ensure their lasting peace. But not by showing reckless, but by intimidation through weapons. Political analysts just understand the Middle-East through one thing & that’s ‘battleground’. Arms trade festivals can be seen everywhere from Saudi Arabia to the Maghreb, no matter it’s legal or not. And these weapons are used against innocent people in Yemen, Syria, Libya, Palestine, Iraq, who are being used as ‘scapegoats’ in the wars.
So the word ‘Peace’ isn’t available in their dictionary. Only war is their daily companion.
And the country that has been playing as a ‘key’ player in the whole Middle-East is the USA. They’ve been pursuing a policy in the Middle-East since 1945, “Start a battle & deal arms”. This policy hasn’t changed from Harry S. Truman to the Trump administration.
I’m not saying that Biden’s new regime can modify this policy overnight. But from the beginning of the US presidential election 2020, he promised to rewrite Middle-East policy. Now it’s Biden’s turn to keep his pledge as the POTUS. And some of his decisions on the Middle-East are noticeable. Biden has much more to do to bring the Middle-East back from the ‘battleground’ to the ‘land of heaven’.
We can start the analysis with Saudi Arabia, the country that’s always at the centre of Middle-East politics.
Saudi Arabia is considered America’s best ally in the Middle-East. Whenever a battle breaks out in the Middle-East, Saudi Arabia joins the USA in the war. It’s said Saudi-America relations are mainly based on ‘oil & arms’ deals. The USA has been following this ‘oil & arms’ policy with Saudi Arabia.
But recently Trump administration released a report on the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, proving that a new twist is about to materialize in US-Saudi relations. The report cites Saudi Crown Prince Salman as the main culprit in Khashoggi’s murder case (In 2018, Khashoggi was assassinated at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul & his body was disappeared). Although Biden hasn’t taken any action against Salman, the report shows that Salman doesn’t hesitate to eliminate his hardliners, whether in Saudi Arabia or Istanbul or elsewhere. Recently, Salman has been often accused of trying to assassinate former Saudi intelligence official Saad Jabri in Canada. In this way, Prince Salman is in an image crisis for his actions.
Meanwhile, several members of the US Congress have launched an anti-Salman campaign. Two lawsuits have been charged against him in America & Germany. Also, the USA & the EU are considering banning arms exports to Saudi Arabia. And it’s crucial to implement because Salman has killed & displaced thousands of civilians in the name of suppressing Houthi rebels in Yemen. Biden has already withdrawn the USA from Yemen campaign.
He also hinted the USA won’t advocate Saudi’s anti-Iran rhetoric like Trump. He’s ready to call Iran for negotiating on the nuclear deal.
So it proves that Biden is going to make a big alter in his predecessor Trump’s Saudi Arabia policy. One thing is certain, whatever Biden decides on Saudi will have an impact on US-Saudi relations.
However, doubts remain over whether the USA will be able to deal with Iran or not. Because Trump’s treatment towards Iran is a loss for America itself. Biden administration now wants to renegotiate the nuclear deal with Iran. He expects to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment program by any means. Otherwise, it could be a threat to America’s allies in the Middle-East.
That’s why the USA must do so with Iran’s opponents Saudi Arabia, Israel & the UAE in mind. Most importantly, it’ll be obstructing for the Biden regime to compensate for the role that the previous regime played in the assassination of Iran’s senior military official Qassem Suleimani & top nuclear scientist Fakhrizadeh & Trump was, directly and indirectly, here. Besides, Biden also needs to think about how to prevent Iran from aiding the Houthis in Yemen. This means America will have to take several steps to deal with Iran. Biden could follow the ‘old wine in a new bottle’ strategy by following Obama’s policy on Iran.
Biden’s third challenge is to alter Trump’s Israel-Palestine policy. The issue has remained unresolved since the beginning of the Middle East conflict. Regardless, Biden has been denouncing Trump-Kushner’s so-called ‘Peace Plan’. Though he has supports for Israel, he always disagrees with Israel’s settlement activity in the West Bank. Because it’s a huge obstacle in resolving the ‘two states’ solution. Biden must present a policy that could balance the interest of his closet allies, Israel & Israel’s opponent Palestine.
Nonetheless, Biden has implemented a crucial decision by refusing $23 billion transfer of F-35 to the UAE & Bahrain.
We know Trump brokered an agreement, which is known as the Abraham Accord’, between Bahrain & the UAE to normalise diplomatic relations with Israel. UAE & Bahrain’s main goal was to purchase modern US weapons, missiles & fighter planes like F-35. They wanted to assist Saudi Arabia in Yemen campaign. But USA’s new regime shattered the enthusiasms of Bahrain & the USA by suspending the arms deal. The USA should attribute more blockades on these belligerent Arab countries to halt them from participating in battles.
However, the rise of Turkey isn’t well-received by the USA. However, It’ll be very problematic for America to curb Erdogan from carrying out the horrific plan to outrage the Kurds in Syria & Iraq. As one of the key players in the Middle-East, it’ll be very troublesome for the USA to handle Turkey. That’s why Biden should be ‘friendly’ rather than ‘conservative’ with Turkey.
Nonetheless, it’s still dubious what the US position will be on the Syria issue. In particular, Biden hasn’t taken any action to crack down on ISIS & other terrorist groups in the Middle-East. The USA recently bombed Syria, saying that the US bombing of Syria won’t stop. So it would be difficult to follow a specific policy on the Syria Issue & counter-terrorism in Middle-East.
However, the USA will continue to pursue relations with its Middle-East allies. And it’s very significant to do so because the USA must rely on its Middle-East allies to determine global fuel prices, restrain Iran, curb terrorism, end the war in Yemen & Syria & establish peace between Israel & Palestine. It remains to be seen whether Biden’s Middle-East policy can transform the Middle-East from a ‘battleground’ to a ‘land of paradise’.