Experts see Biden’s visit as tempest in teapot

HM King-Saudia (4)
Leaders and representatives of the GCC countries, the US, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan attend the Jeddah Security and Development Summit at a hotel in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coastal city of Jeddah on July 16, 2022. (Photo: Saudi Royal Palace/AFP)
AMMAN — US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East last week was prompted by Washington’s longstanding strategy to temper the growing influence of Russia and China in the region, and display Israel’s relations with the US’ Arab allies.اضافة اعلان

“The visit was very important because it is in line with the US strategy to face Russia and China,” university professor Amer Al-Sabaileh told Jordan News.

“Coming back to this region in this way, as Biden talked about previous mistakes like disregarding this region (Middle East), means that there is a desire to rearrange the relationship with the allies within the bigger US strategy,” Sabaileh added.

Biden visited Saudi Arabia at the last leg of a regional tour, which also took him to Israel and Palestine. In Saudi Arabia, the US president participated in the Jeddah Security and Development Summit, which gathered GCC members, His Majesty King Abdullah, and the leaders of Egypt and Iraq.

Sabaileh said that the summit underlined a US desire to create a new vision for the region by opening new doors for economic cooperation.

The Jeddah Security and Development Summit, which convened Saturday, emphasized the leaders’ determination to develop cooperation, regional integration, and joint projects, including an electrical interconnection agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The meeting also emphasized the “main role” of the Hashemite Custodianship of holy shrines in Jerusalem and the need to respect the historical status quo in the Israeli-occupied city.

Political analyst Labib Kamhawi said that there’s a slight shift in the US position, but he noted that the “chemistry was not very good” in Jeddah. Arabs were also not forthcoming in giving their approval to increased Arab oil production to meet skyrocketing fuel prices, battering the US market, he added.

Kamhawi specifically pointed to the lukewarm gestures by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman towards Biden.

“So again, we are back to square one, where the individual position of Arab leaders affects the general policy of their respective countries,” Kamhawi said.

The main loser is the US because they left themselves with no leverage or substance to give to neither Arabs, nor Israelis.

Kamhawi explained that Biden wanted to reintroduce American influence in the region and block any Russian or Chinese attempts to infiltrate the area since Arabs have been shifting slightly towards Russia and China.

Political analyst Oraib Al-Rantawi wrote in an article that the US is no longer “omnipotent”, adding that it was clear when the leaders of the nine Arab countries ignored the “Middle Eastern NATO” project and did not mention it with any of its different names, and they repudiated it before it saw the light.

Rantawi noted that the surprise came out when the Arab leaders unanimously reminded Biden that the Palestinian issue, which he sought to marginalize, is the centerpiece of the region’s peace and that there is neither security nor stability in the region without solving it according to known references.

“Israel is like a cancerous growth, and they (Americans) want to make it a healthy organ in the Arab body, which is impossible,” political analyst Hilmi Al-Asmar told Jordan News.

He added Biden’s visit will increase the chasm and anger between Arab systems and their people, exacerbate the feelings of rejection towards the “Zionist entity” and anyone who normalizes with it. This ought to make the future filled with revolutions, significantly that the economic situation will aggravate those feelings of anger.

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