Is America back for the Middle East too?
It was 20th January of the year when Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. And his recent speech, defining his foreign policy, makes it crystal clear that so far he is a man of his words. He told during his campaign that he will be a pro-democracy leader and so, he has given a fine signal of it. He made it clear for an American ally, Saudi Arabia that the US is ending her support for the ongoing war in Yemen. Though it is widely understood and known that the Houthi rebels of Yemen are backed by Iran, but Biden does not seem interested in it. Also, he appointed a special envoy to Yemen, charged with helping end the conflict. Israel has started complaining of the untraditional behavior of an American president towards Israel, whereas things are looking more pro-democracy and pro-liberalism than any power game. Though there was a little dose for the People’s Republic of China and Russia but there wasn’t any for spoilers present in the Middle East. For instance, the question of the American presence in Iraq and Syria and the question of Libyan people are still not touched like many other burning questions of the region that are victims of the American adventurism to a great account.
Donald J. Trump was a great friend of Benjamin Netanyahu, often crying over anti-Semitism, and getting whatever he wanted, almost every time he insisted on something. Trump’s overlooking the Israeli war crimes in Gaza, declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and bridging Arab Israeli ties are mega blessings of Trump on Netanyahu and Israel. These showering blessings had created massive doubts whether it is America that controls the world and itself or is it Israel that controls America’s policies. But this does not seem the case anymore. Joe Biden seems angry with Israeli authorities for certain reasons. Because, during Obama’s presidency, Biden had visited Israel when he was the vice president of the United States. He was there to make peace talks possible between Israel and Palestine, trying to find a two-state solution. But guess what, Israel announced new settlements in East Jerusalem, a sheer insult of Joe Biden. Though he bluntly spoke against those settlements, but he does not seem to forget those days as he has still not phoned the Israeli premier, unlike other US presidents who often phone the Israeli premier within a week after taking the oath.
Moreover, Biden is on a mission to lift up US’s morale. His vision of ‘America is back, diplomacy is back,’ is a great example in this regard. Though realization matters more than the theory, but still hope is good for health. His announcement of ending US support in the war of Yemen is a shock for Riyadh for sure. He, later on, paused the sale of smart bomb technology to Saudi Arabia too. This is what makes ‘hope’ a possible outcome. ‘Is America back for the Middle East?’ can be answered a ‘mini yes’ for now as Biden’s first speech has cleared many doubts in this regard. Saudi Arabia’s efforts to win Doha again, compel Arab nations to normalize ties with Israel, and Muhammad Bin Salman’s secret meeting with Netanyahu are visible examples that Riyadh is nervous. And if ‘America is truly back’ then it might cause compromises in the US-Saudi alliance. Because, unlike Donald Trump, the predecessor of Joe Biden, Biden has stressed more on re-engaging alliances, and has emphasized on dignity and law.
Besides, It is sure that ‘America first’ was not the mantra or foreign policy preference of Trump alone. Remember the Capitol Hill episode. Those were all in the favor of ‘America First’ in one way or the other. How will Biden ‘unite and rule’ America, is a question in the queue for now.
Talking about Iran, as discussed in one of my previous articles titled ‘Biden’s Middle East Plan’, Biden has given a clear cut signal of rejoining the Iran Nuclear Deal. As he promised and so rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement. But Iran’s recent insistence to rejoin Iran Nuclear Deal soon can cost her. As no American president has ever nullified the value of her watchdog Israel for the sake of getting closer to Tehran. And this is what the Iranian policymakers must understand here. The recent psychological attacks of Tel Aviv against Tehran show some nervousness of Israel, but the insistence of Tehran seems sheer arrogance in political terms.
To conclude, Biden’s first hundred days in office are of vital importance. His speech has made these first hundred days even more worthy. But there wasn’t anything mentioned in his speech for Syria’s Bashar Al Assad, American adventurism in Iraq, well-known peace talks between Kabul and Taliban, and many such Middle Eastern issues. But still, he has become to be known as a well-wisher president for the Palestinians. Because he has stressed much on a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.