News Release

Biden Mideast Trip Doubles Down on Trump Policies, Further Militarizes Region

DAVID YAGHOUBIAN, dny@csusb.eduYaghoubian is professor of history at California State University San Bernardino, co-editor of Struggle and Survival in the Modern Middle East and author of Ethnicity, Identity, and the Development of Nationalism in Iran.

He said today: “Amidst an arguably self-imposed global energy crisis propelled by U.S.-promoted sanctions on some of the world’s largest oil producers — Iran, Venezuela, and Russia — and facing unprecedented low domestic approval ratings, President Joe Biden has controversially tacked a visit to Saudi Arabia on to a scheduled trip to Israel and the West Bank (July 13-16) despite poll data showing that fewer than one quarter of Americans support it. The president’s plan to speak before the GCC+3 conference in Jeddah has been explained in an optimistic Washington Post op-ed as an opportunity to ‘reset’ Saudi-U.S. relations which (publicly) languish after candidate Biden had described the country as a ‘pariah’ in the wake of the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. In conjunction with his first trip to Israel, a country with which U.S. relations had been proclaimed by the mainstream media in February of 2021 to be in ‘reset’ due to President-elect Biden’s refusal to telephone then Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden’s op-ed asserts that these meetings will ‘start a new and more promising chapter of America’s engagement’ in the region, promote security, and advance American interests.
“Unfortunately, the president’s revised itinerary and agenda seems geared solely towards returning U.S.-Israeli and U.S.-Saudi relations to the Trump-era status quo. Beyond what will likely be an unsuccessful attempt to pressure or entice Saudi Arabia to increase its oil output to help lower increasing energy prices, Biden will be negotiating Saudi acquisition of precision-guided munitions and anti-ballistic missile systems from the United States and Israel, and promoting closer Arab security cooperation with Israel, including a U.S.-led unified air defense network. Accordingly, Biden’s upcoming trip to the region promises no tangible benefit to the United States outside of potential new weapons sales while serving to legitimize the policies of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and the current caretaker government of apartheid Israel.”

Background: See recent IPA news release: “Biden’s Saudi Trip: For Cheaper Gas — or for Israel?

See video from the Quincy Institute: “President Biden walks in Trump’s footsteps in Saudi Arabia & Israel this week.”

See from Forbes: “Biden’s Mideast Agenda Could Increase the Risks of War.”