The Biden administration is portraying the president’s trip to the Middle East next month as a contribution to peace and stability in the region, but it is more likely to entangle the U.S. in future conflicts.
The effort to normalize relations between Arab states and Israel, as currently enshrined in the Trump administration-initiated Abraham Accords, ignores one major source of conflict in the region – Israel’s occupation of Palestine – while potentially accelerating another – a possible war with Iran. Adding Saudi Arabia to the mix, either formally or informally, will only accelerate this dynamic. As currently conceived, the Abraham Accords look more like an excuse to sell more weapons to the region and consolidate an anti-Iranian military bloc than a step towards an enduring peace in the Middle East.
A new element of the Biden Middle East policy that will be emphasized during his trip is a region wide air defense system – officially known as the Middle East Air Defense Alliance – that will include Israel and the Gulf States. But the creation of the air defense network is just one part of an initiative to increase U.S. military commitments to the region, most notably by offering stepped up security assurances to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Warming up to these repressive, reckless regimes is not in U.S. interests, nor will it foster greater stability in the region.
A case in point is the brutal Saudi/UAE intervention in Yemen, which has resulted in the killing of thousands of civilians in air strikes enabled by U.S.-supplied bombs and aircraft and contributed to a death toll that has reached nearly 400,000 people, is a stain on the reputation of the United States as will as a destabilizing force in the region. The U.S. has been a party to the war since 2015, as noted in a recent Government Accountability Office report that has identified over $54 billion in U.S. arms supplies to Saudi Arabia and the UAE over that time period.
Read the full article on Forbes.