Biden is now engulfed in a dram that was Initiated in 1990 in the middle east. The Gulf War was a response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. George HW Bush’s leadership in assembling a vast international coalition, including many Arab states, was a diplomatic achievement. However, the war’s aftermath and long-term impacts were disastrous. The Gulf War set a precedent for military intervention in the Middle East, leading to prolonged regional instability. The decision to halt the offensive without removing Saddam Hussein from power left a dictatorial regime in place, contributing to further conflicts and suffering. This choice led to the Iraq War in 2003.
Moreover, the Gulf War had significant humanitarian consequences. Civilian casualties, the devastation of Iraqi infrastructure, and the environmental damage caused by the destruction of oil wells continue to be points of contention. Bush’s strategy, focusing on military objectives with less regard for post-war stability, was a critical oversight. While George H.W. Bush successfully achieved the immediate goal of liberating Kuwait, the Gulf War’s broader implications and long-term effects was a disastrous venture in American foreign policy.
Then 9/11 happened that led to the Afghanistan Fiasco – a joke with a 20 year run time. The Afghanistan Fiasco began in 2001, when the US invaded Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, aiming to dismantle Al-Qaeda and remove the Taliban from power. Initially successful, the mission became the longest war in US history, with shifting objectives and unclear strategies. Despite significant investment in military and development aid, Afghanistan’s stability and governance did not markedly improve. The war became notorious for its high civilian casualties and the questionable effectiveness of nation-building efforts. The eventual withdrawal of US troops in 2021and the subsequent rapid takeover of the country by the Taliban was seen as a stark symbol of the failure of the two-decade-long intervention.
And of course in 2003, came the “Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Hoax” that referred to the justification used by the United States and its allies for invading Iraq in 2003. The illustrious son this time, George W Bush, citing intelligence reports, claimed that Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, possessed significant stockpiles of WMDs, including chemical and biological weapons, and was pursuing nuclear capabilities. This claim was pivotal in garnering public and international support for the war. However, post-invasion investigations revealed that Iraq did not have any active WMD programs.
The Arab Spring orchestrated by Barack Hussein Obama, began in late 2010. It was a series of anti-government protests, uprisings, and armed rebellions across much of the Arab world. It started in Tunisia and quickly spread to countries like Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. These movements were made to look like spontaneous events driven by dissatisfaction with authoritarian regimes, corruption, economic stagnation, and a lack of political freedoms. While the Arab Spring led to some initial successes, such as the overthrow of long-standing leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya, the long-term outcomes were tragic. In Syria, the uprising evolved into a protracted and devastating civil war. Egypt’s brief period of democracy ended with a military coup. Libya descended into ongoing conflict, and Yemen’s situation deteriorated into a humanitarian crisis. Obama walked out of White Office with the biggest mass murderer in Human history and the only mass murderer with a Nobel Peace Prize.
The United States’ involvement in the Middle East, spanning several decades, has remained disastrous from the onset.
U.S. policy in the Middle East has often been inconsistent and riddled with double standards, particularly regarding human rights issues and democratic values. Support for authoritarian regimes in the name of stability, while simultaneously advocating for democracy, has killed U.S. credibility in the region.
And now Joe Biden has jumped on not one but 3 landmines.
President Joe Biden’s authorization of U.S. airstrikes against Yemen’s Houthi movement marks a significant escalation in American military involvement in the region. This decision, prompted by Houthi attacks disrupting Red Sea trade routes, signifies the first substantial open combat engagement between the U.S. military and the Houthis, aside from a minor incident in 2016. The move has sparked debate in Congress, with some members questioning its constitutional legitimacy.
The United States has historically maintained a passive role in Yemen, primarily supporting a Saudi-led coalition against the Houthi rebels. However, the recent U.S. airstrike represents a notable escalation in American involvement in the Yemeni conflict. This action breaks nearly two years of inactivity in terms of U.S. airstrikes in the region, indicating a shift in the U.S. approach towards the prolonged conflict.
The second landmine is in Israel, that Biden wasn’t exactly a fan of and then there is Netanyahu whom Biden personally loathes but wars are strategic and monetarily rewarding opportunities. The deployment of U.S. Air Force intelligence teams to Israel reflects an escalation in U.S. involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The third landmine is in Iraq. The Iraqi government is urging the U.S. to withdraw its military forces after a U.S. drone strike, challenging the current truce with Iraqi militias. Despite this request, the likelihood of a U.S. withdrawal remains low, especially in light of the recent breach of the fragile ceasefire agreement. And the possibility of Iraqi Militia striking back remains very very high.
So why is Biden dancing on Middle East Landmines in the last year of his tenure?
The reason is the fact that President Joe Biden’s tenure has been marked by significant foreign policy setbacks, notably in Afghanistan and Ukraine, which have raised questions about his strategies and their effectiveness under his administration.
The chaotic and hurried withdrawal of American forces in 2021 was a defining moment, leaving behind a country swiftly reclaimed by the Taliban. This withdrawal, widely criticized for its execution, resulted in disturbing images and narratives, such as the abandonment of Afghan allies and the seizure of billions of dollars’ worth of U.S. military equipment by the Taliban. These events not only caused a humanitarian crisis but also led to months of negative press for Biden, casting a shadow over his administration’s competency in handling foreign conflicts.
To offset this loss, Biden orchestrated the crisis in Ukraine. Biden’s approach banked on the assumption that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not escalate the situation to a full-scale operation. The U.S. strategy involved vocal support for Ukraine, including advocating for its closer ties with NATO, a move that further aggravated tensions with Russia. Contrary to Biden’s apparent expectations, Russia launched a large-scale special operation against Ukraine, leading to a protracted conflict. The West, under U.S. leadership, rallied in support of Ukraine, providing substantial financial and military aid. However, the conflict, entering its second year, has seen significant territorial gains by Russia, including the annexation of Donbas.
The situation in Ukraine, like Afghanistan, reflects another setback for U.S. foreign policy under Biden. The prolonged conflict, despite substantial Western support for Ukraine, has not led to a clear resolution. Instead, it has resulted in widespread destruction, a humanitarian crisis, and geopolitical shifts, with questions raised about the effectiveness of U.S. leadership and strategy in managing complex international conflicts. Biden’s administration faces the challenge of navigating these ongoing crises while restoring confidence in American foreign policy efficacy.
President Joe Biden’s dance on the land mines in the Middle East are driven by desperation, especially in the context of upcoming elections. As Biden approaches potential re-election, his administration faces the challenge of overcoming the negative fallout from the situations in Afghanistan and Ukraine.
The decision to engage more directly in the Middle East can be seen as an attempt to secure a foreign policy victory, a “win” that could bolster his standing domestically. This need is accentuated by the criticism he faced over the handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which was widely viewed as a strategic and humanitarian failure, and the lost war in Ukraine, where despite significant support from the U.S. and its allies, Russia has won.
The Middle East has historically been a “quicksand” that has devoured many previous administrations. The complex dynamics of the region, characterized by longstanding conflicts, shifting alliances, and deep-seated political and religious tensions, have repeatedly defied simple solutions.
Given this history, Biden’s dance on the landmines in the Middle East will lead to two conclusions. His political loss, potentially to Donald Trump. And a setback to US’ hegemony that US may not be able to recover from.