Thursday, May 30, 2024

Biden’s Israel Policy Tied to Saudi Arabia | TOME


Joe Biden’s Terrible Israel Policy Is Really About Getting in Bed With Saudi Arabia

Why does Joe Biden insist on pursuing a foreign policy of blind support of Israel’s war on Gaza? In addition to the moral calamity — on full display as Israel bombed Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza — it has also exacted a political cost, damaging his relationship with his base and swing state voters. Critics have attributed Biden’s disastrous handling of the war to incompetence or his lifelong Zionism.

What is really at the center of the administration’s policy, however, is an insidious geopolitical play that will make the world a more dangerous place, advancing U.S. imperial interests under the guise of a diplomatic deal.

Biden wants to tie the U.S. to one of the most abhorrent regimes in the world for decades to come, striking a far-reaching security deal with Saudi Arabia — an agreement that would put American lives on the line to protect the Saudi dictatorship and lock us into a new cold war.

And Biden’s big plan for peace in the Middle East is straight out of Donald Trump’s playbook.

After going all-in on Israel’s genocidal campaign, the Biden administration is doing everything it can to ram through the Saudi deal, hoping that solving the Gaza crisis can score a win heading into the election.

As part of the deal, the U.S. would commit to militarily defending Saudi Arabia, a repressive dictatorship that has been a destructive force in the region for years.

Biden’s team has long considered a deal with Saudi Arabia to be a cornerstone of Washington’s broader Middle East strategy. The pact would build directly on the Trump administration’s Abraham Accords — a set of Israeli normalization agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain — but offer something those deals didn’t: the security guarantee.

Last year, U.S. officials were on the verge of finalizing an agreement when the surprise October 7 attack by Hamas, and Israel’s response, changed everything. Since then, the U.S. has remained committed to supporting Israel’s regime change war, providing generous military assistance and unconditional political and diplomatic support.

This month, reports said talks were on the cusp of a breakthrough. If an agreement isn’t stopped, it will cement a hostile approach to Iran and further embolden dictators like Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. And it’s no secret that Biden’s push for a Saudi deal is largely about escalating its proxy war against Iran and “great power competition” with China.

With the election closing in, few influential Democrats are willing to intervene when Biden is so desperate for a win in the region. Fewer still will say what everyone knows about the Saudi pact: It’s just a bad deal.

The Deal With the Deal

The push to place American military might between Saudi Arabia and its enemies is a stark reversal. When he ran for president, Biden vowed to make the country a “pariah” for its rights violations and halt weapons sales.

Instead, the defense pact with Saudi Arabia would mean sacrificing American blood and treasure to protect a government best known in recent years for its assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its brutal war in Yemen.

The exact details of the agreement haven’t been made public, but Daniel Mouton, formerly a senior adviser to Biden’s top Middle East aide Brett McGurk, outlined the broad strokes of the plan just a month after the October 7 attacks:

“Long-term security in the Middle East will start with the ability to maintain an enduring regional deterrent order against Iran and its proxies,” he wrote, laying out a sweeping vision of coordinated maneuvering against Iran, China, and Russia, as well as a push for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This progress will in turn allow for Israel to normalize its relationship with Saudi Arabia and more comprehensively integrate itself into the region,” Mouton wrote, alluding to the ability to “fully unlock US arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”

The specifics reportedly on the table for a Saudi deal would harden the adversarial relationships with Washington and rivals like Iran and China, while softening Israel’s isolation even as it loses international legitimacy with the Gaza war.

In addition to the security guarantee, the U.S. is reportedly considering supporting a Saudi civil nuclear program and offering access to advanced U.S. weapons that were previously off-limits.

For its part, Saudi Arabia would vow to restrict Chinese investment and move away from Chinese technology, the efficacy of which has been questioned by analysts who fear that the kingdom could turn around and use an inked deal to extract more from the U.S.

Then there is the coup de grâce: normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel. It might, however, be the most elusive part of the deal — and not because of Saudi Arabia.

An Israeli Partner for Peace?

Saudi Arabia has indicated that it’s preparing to normalize relations with Israel in return for the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state, with the crown prince ramping up arrests of those criticizing Israel online.

Israel, though, is widely considered the remaining obstacle to the trilateral agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flat-out opposes the creation of a Palestinian state and, what’s worse, is escalating tensions in the region with his all-out offensive against Gaza.

In response, top Democrats recently began to publicly criticize Netanyahu, in hopes that if Netanyahu can be pushed out, a more moderate Israeli leader would simply take the deal. When Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took to the Senate floor to attack Netanyahu, mainstream media outlets declared the speech a “turning point” in the U.S.-Israel relationship.

The Biden administration, though, is making lemonade, seeing an opportunity for Israeli-Saudi diplomacy even in the ruins of the Gaza war. According to HuffPost, McGurk, the top Biden aide, is reportedly seeking to have Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Gulf countries build on the rubble of Gaza to ease the pain of normalization.

So far, with Israeli intransigence, the American body politic has not had to fully confront a deal. However, Democrats, Republicans, and mainstream media outlets are already hyping the potential agreement as a diplomatic triumph that could achieve peace in the region.

They should be up in arms.

Even MAGA Republicans have reason to oppose a Saudi deal: It goes even further than their president’s deals in sacrificing U.S. interests. Trump’s Abraham Accords between UAE, Bahrain, and Israel may have shored up those monarchies’ dictatorship, but they did not so overtly subsume U.S. security to a foreign country’s interests.

Under Biden, the Saudi regime would be getting a security commitment along with a bunch of other rewards, and Israel would gain legitimacy with its neighbors, while the American people would see no clear benefit in return.
The post Joe Biden’s Terrible Israel Policy Is Really About Getting in Bed With Saudi Arabia appeared first on The Intercept.

Latest stories