Is Biden's Middle East policy different from others?

 Most Middle Eastern countries do not have democracy. But even then, their fortunes change every four years with the US presidential election. Even after the election of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States, the question is, how much will his victory change the fate of the Middle East?

In his election pledge, Biden said he would try to bring Iran back under the nuclear deal. Democrats consider the nuclear deal (JCPOA) signed by President Obama in 2015 as one of their achievements. But when President Trump came to power, he cancelled the agreement in 2018. His move led to the final deterioration of US relations with Iran.

Following Obama's path, Joe Biden will sincerely try to defuse the ongoing tensions with Iran. But the task will not be easy at all. Once the agreement is broken, the Iranians will not easily forget the sweet words of America. 

They will demand tougher concessions than before, which may not be possible for Biden. Otherwise, if the Conservatives come to power in Iran's next election, the situation could become more complicated, as many of them opposed the nuclear deal for the first time.


Biden's efforts to improve relations with Iran will upset Saudi Arabia the most. To be sure, Saudi Arabia's relationship with his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, during President Trump's presidency, will not be the same as it was during Biden's tenure. 

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Biden must not raise the issue of the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi when he comes to power and demand that Prince Mohammed is brought to justice, but if Saudi Arabia repeats the same thing during his rule, he will be forced to impose a tough blockade.

Biden has promised in his election campaign that if he comes to power, he will stop the Saudi aggression in Yemen and re-evaluate US relations with Saudi Arabia. But a review of Biden's history does not seem credible. Even as relations deteriorated towards the end of the Obama administration, Biden played a key role in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has been used to launch airstrikes on Yemen.

Biden has been a vocal critic of Trump's policy on the Palestinian-Israeli crisis. But in reality, he will not do anything that goes against the interests of Israel. Biden feels comfortable identifying himself as a Christian Zionist. 

To be sure, he will not go against Trump and move the US embassy from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv again. And as in the past, Israel will continue to build illegal installations in violation of international law, but it will not interfere or reduce military aid to Israel.

But Biden will most likely oppose any Trump-backed two-state solution that supports Israel's plan to annex 30 per cent of the Golan Heights, the Jordan Valley and the West Bank. With President Trump cutting off 600 million a year in financial aid to the Palestinians and closing the Palestinian envoy's office in Washington, Biden is likely to resume them.

 Although these initiatives have not resulted in a solution to the long-term Palestinian problem, for now, the Palestinian people will be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Biden's position on Iraq and Afghanistan would be somewhat realistic. Trump promised to bring the entire army back to the country, but in the end, he could not do so for practical reasons. 

Biden, on the other hand, has never been in favour of bringing back the entire army. He is in favour of keeping troops in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan to maintain US dominance. However, he will not agree to send a new army if there is no unforeseen crisis.

Biden will not agree to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. But he has a history of opposing US generals' plans to intensify "counterterrorism" operations in Afghanistan in 2009. Apart from that, during Obama's tenure, he also secretly started peace talks with the Taliban.

The issue of Syria was almost non-existent in this election campaign. From there, the idea is that there will be little difference between the two presidents' policies on Syria. Biden will also maintain a US military presence in northeastern Syria. But the difference will be, he will probably increase support for the Kurds again.


Biden's policy on Turkey will also be to increase support for opposition parties. Biden has made it clear he wants to oust President Erdogan by helping opposition parties. Turkey has long been at odds with the United States over the purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia.

 Also, how Turkey continues to exert its influence in various neighbouring countries is a cause for concern for the United States and Israel. So far, Trump's friendship with Erdogan alone has prevented Congress from doing anything about it.

All Biden can do is impose various sanctions on Turkey, weakening the Turkish economy, and hoping that the Turkish people will one day take to the streets and start a movement against Erdogan.

Trump's policy on Egypt and Libya will not differ much from Biden's. Although the Obama administration fought Gaddafi in 2011, Biden himself opposed it. And the United States later withdrew from Libya. Yet Biden will probably follow that same principle. He will support the UN-backed government and perhaps help strengthen the UN mission.

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In Egypt, Biden was sharply criticized by Trump for calling President Sisi his "favourite dictator," but in reality, Biden himself will not take any action against Sisi. In most dictatorships, including Egypt, Biden's position will be to defend his image in front of the media by speaking out for democracy and human rights, as well as protecting some activists from prison or the death penalty. But apart from this, even during his tenure, the dictators who are against the public interest will survive in the existing habitat as before. 

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Outside of that, if a second Arab Spring occurs during Biden's administration, he will certainly support it much more than Trump, at the same time, his support will be much less than Obama's. 

The Middle East is no longer as important to America as it was in 2011. Biden's priority now will be to fight the coronavirus and internal racism. The Middle East will also have a place in foreign policy after building good relations with Europe and strengthening its presence in the South China Sea.

In short, Biden does not want extra democratization like Obama, nor does he want extra concessions for dictators like Trump. He would not want to withdraw all troops from the Middle East, nor would he want to send new troops to fight a new war.

 He will not give Israel a complete exemption like Trump, nor will he help pass a UN bill against illegal Israeli settlements, as in the late Obama administration. If nothing unexpected happens, Biden's Middle East policy will be between Obama and Trump.

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