Newshub18 :Why is Biden visiting the Middle East?
US President Joe Biden’s much talked about Middle East tour started last Wednesday. He is now in Saudi Arabia on this four-day visit. His visit is aimed at finding energy and normalizing relations to overcome the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. He started this tour from Israel. Then went to occupied West Bank. Last in Saudi Arabia. In anticipation of Biden’s visit, the White House’s commotion was eye-catching. This arrangement was mainly aimed at normalizing relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
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Biden has already succeeded in his goal. Saudi Arabia has announced to open its airspace for all types of Israeli aircraft. The announcement was made on Friday as part of an apparently liberal approach to Israel. The president of the United States has welcomed this decision of Saudi Arabia as a “historic” comment on the movement of aircraft. US National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan said the decision was the result of the president’s months of steady and principled diplomacy with Saudi Arabia, culminating in his visit.
Earlier, Biden visited Israel for the first time after being elected president and held a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid in West Jerusalem. After the meeting, the leaders of the two countries made a joint statement. In the statement, they highlighted their common position on Iran’s nuclear project. According to the statement, Washington will use all possible aspects of national power to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. At the same time, Biden promised to continue providing military assistance to Israel in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
Biden visited Palestine on Friday before visiting Saudi Arabia. A meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank did not make any major diplomatic progress. Biden visited a hospital there and announced $100 million in aid to medical facilities. Palestinians protested in Bethlehem and Ramallah during Biden’s visit to Jerusalem. At the time, protesters criticized Biden’s Palestinian policy. In the joint statement of Biden-Lapid, Washington reiterated its support for the formation of two states to bring peace to the region. However, Biden did not give any indication of withdrawing from the Palestinian policy of former US President Donald Trump.
According to US media outlet XOS, the Biden administration has quietly brokered the handover of two strategic islands in the Red Sea from Egypt to Saudi Arabia before the president’s trip to the Middle East. The country is also quietly mediating a potential deal between Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt. If successful, this could be the first step towards normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Multiple White House sources told EXOS they worked on a roadmap for normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel before Biden’s trip to the Middle East. This was their important step. The question is, why is this important? The answer may be to convey the importance and enthusiasm of the Biden administration. With Biden’s visit, the White House wants to signal the progress it has made in warming relations between Israel and the Arab world. Earlier, former US President Donald Trump signed the Abraham Accord. In this agreement, the relations of four Arab countries with Israel have been normalized. Biden is protecting the continuity of that agreement, he wants to highlight that.
According to the Washington Post, there are two new reasons behind Biden’s Saudi visit. The first is that Biden needs Saudi help to avoid the war in Ukraine and the resulting instability in the oil market. The second reason is Israel’s desire for Biden to normalize relations with Mohammed bin Salman and the Saudi royal family for the sake of the Abraham Accords (a cooperation agreement signed between the United States, Israel and the United Arab Emirates).
In a White House briefing in the middle of last month, the theme of Biden’s visit to the Middle East this year is a roadmap for normalizing relations. However, the White House did not provide much detailed information on this matter. The White House says no deal is likely before Biden’s visit. But they are trying to do something like this. Biden will discuss the deal with Israeli and Saudi leaders during his visit. The White House says any roadmap to normalizing relations will take time to implement. This is a long term process. Another source said the process of agreeing to normalize relations could be done in a phased manner.
A spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council said they are helping to expand and deepen Arab-Israeli ties.
A senior Israeli official said he did not expect major progress on normalizing ties with Saudi Arabia during Biden’s visit. However, they are very close to an agreement regarding permission to fly to India and China using Saudi airspace.
According to the Saudi Press Agency, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said earlier this year that he does not see Israel as an enemy; Rather, they see it as a potential ally to protect different interests.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz recently said in a hearing of the International Relations and Security Committee of Israel’s Parliament Knesset that Israel and the United States are working on an initiative called “The Middle East Air Defense”. Biden’s visit will take this initiative a little further. Through this initiative, drone, rocket and cruise missile attacks from Iran and its shadow states can be prevented in the Middle East. Their plans include building a special network of radars, sensors and defensive weapons to provide early warning in case of an attack. Gantz said several Iranian attacks in the region have already been prevented.
Criticism of Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia is not diminishing. US intelligence suspects Prince Salman’s involvement in the 2018 assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey. Khashoggi’s assassination has strained US relations with close ally Saudi Arabia. It was reported in the media that Biden is visiting Saudi Arabia to fix the relationship.
Joe Biden accused Saudi Arabia of human rights violations, including the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, during the US presidential election campaign. He also promised to take steps to isolate Saudi Arabia from the international community. Nobel Peace Prize-winning Yemeni rights activist Tawakkol Karman has now criticized Biden’s Saudi visit. He said, “Biden abandoned his promise to support human rights around the world.”
Rah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now, criticized Biden’s visit. He said, it is a shameless surrender of Biden.
Earlier, the Biden administration had also promised to take tougher measures against the Saudi prince than former US President Donald Trump. But now they are trying to get closer to the country considering important interests. Because Saudi Arabia is currently one of the top oil producing countries in the world. Due to the Russia-Ukraine war, the oil market around the world is now unstable