News Release

Biden’s Saudi Trip: For Cheaper Gas — or for Israel?

Photo credit: Stern Matty, Flickr

The New York Times reports: “Israel Confirms Regional Military Project, Showing Its Growing Role.” Antiwar.com reports: “Israel Reveals It’s Building a U.S.-Backed Regional Military Alliance Against Iran.”

TRITA PARSI, tparsi@gmail.com@tparsi
Parsi is the executive vice president of the Quincy Institute and just wrote the piece “The real reason for Biden’s capitulation to the Saudi Crown Prince.”

He writes: “All the latest headlines about President Joe Biden’s July trip to Saudi Arabia focus on a deal to push down gas prices. In reality, he is making a much more sinister and dangerous calculation than most realize: He is reportedly planning to offer the dictators in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — where all but two of the 9/11 terrorists came from — a military pact that commits American lives to defend their regimes. What could go right?

“When Biden ran for the White House, he pledged to break with then-President Donald Trump’s Middle East policy: bring U.S. troops home from the Middle East, renew the Iran nuclear deal, end the war in Yemen, and ‘make the Saudis the pariah that they are.’ But after refusing to take necessary steps to return to the Iran deal, and with rumors abounding that he is about to offer the UAE and Saudi Arabia a military pact, Biden’s policy is increasingly looking like a continuation of Trump’s Middle East strategy.

“Biden isn’t just forgiving Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for his direct role in the beheading of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in return for a Saudi promise to pump more oil. As Biden admitted last week, this Middle East trip is about regional security — and that of Israel in particular. ‘The commitments from the Saudis don’t relate to anything having to do with energy,’ Biden told reporters June 12. ‘It happens to be a larger meeting taking place in Saudi Arabia. That’s the reason I’m going. And it has to do with national security for them — for Israelis.’

“Rumors have been circulating in Washington for months that Biden is seeking to expand Trump’s signature foreign policy initiative — the Abraham Accords — which normalized diplomatic relations between Israel and Bahrain and the UAE; Biden wants to bring Saudi Arabia into a similar kind of arrangement with Israel. Details are beginning to leak of how he will try to get Saudi Arabia to take critical steps toward recognizing Israel. And the most alarming one is that the United States is offering a major security pact to the autocratic regimes in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”