The current state of the relationship between the USA and its Middle Eastern allies should be a learning experience for countries around the world. Even if one country has long-standing allies, there is a limit till which they can be ordered around. The Biden administration is missing no opportunity to antagonise Saudi Arabia and Israel – long-standing allies of the US in the region and has been completely indifferent to them. And now both Israel and Saudi Arabia seems to have decided to not be bothered by the USA and its interests in the region.
Now, Israel and Saudi Arabia have run out of patience and are not willing to give Biden any more time for course correction. They have understood that for their own interests, they have to go against Biden administration’s policy for the region and thus, have struck a defiant note. The Israeli Ambassador to the USA has even said that PM Benjamin Netanyahu is unconcerned by the lack of a phone call from the US President.
Biden, on one hand, is avoiding Israel and Saudi Arabia, and on the other hand, he is showering gifts on Palestine and Iran like there is no tomorrow.
Biden administration’s policy regarding its Middle Eastern allies saw the worst low when White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki could not give a straight answer, when asked at a briefing, to reporters whether the Biden administration considers Saudi Arabia and Israel to be “important allies.” And the fact that Joe Biden is yet to call Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu only fuels the fire further.
The USA, in another attempt to placate Iran, has lifted the designation of Yemen’s Houthis as terrorists. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said that Washington would, effective February 16, lift the terrorist group designation.
Yet Saudi Arabia will continue to treat them as a terrorist organisation, according to the kingdom’s permanent representative to the United Nations.
Abdullah Al-Muallami told Saudi-owned Asharq News, in remarks retweeted by the kingdom’s U.N. mission, on Saturday, “Despite this, we will still deal with the Houthi militia as a terrorist organisation and address its threats with military action.”
Biden’s soft spot for Iran can be gauged by the fact that he has appointed Robert Malley as the US special envoy to Iran. Malley was the White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf region under former President Barack Obama and had helped negotiate the strategically farce 2015 nuclear deal.
Joe Biden has also sidelined Israel and has restored aid to the pro-Palestine groups which are bound to anger Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Biden is also a big proponent of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which certainly is not a favourable message for Israel. And the fact that Biden is yet to have a telephonic conversation with the Israeli PM is a telltale sign that the USA has abandoned its Middle Eastern Allies.
All these recent developments, coupled with the fact that the USA under Joe Biden has also halted the sale of F-35s to the UAE and sale of weapon systems to Saudi Arabia has made these MENA (the Middle East & North Africa) nations sure that Biden administration is not considerate of their concerns.
The Saudi Arabians and Israelis have thus decided to reciprocate in kind and follow their interests and no longer toe the line of the USA in the region. While the Saudis have not followed suit and continue to term Houthis as terrorists, on the other hand, Israeli Ambassador to the USA, Gilad Erdan said that PM Benjamin Netanyahu is unperturbed by the lack of phone call.
Both these countries are now playing down the importance of the United States in their foreign policy consideration. This means an end to US dominance in the Middle East. In the future, it will be Joe Biden, who will be held responsible for singlehandedly destroying the alliance structure in the region.