Biden’s problems in the Middle East are already building up


But problems are mounting elsewhere, especially in the Middle East, where President Biden is He seeks a bit of a reset in US policy. During the election campaign, Biden and his allies denounced the “maximum pressure” campaign launched by his predecessor on Iran and the indulgence of Arab autocrats who violate human rights. It has always been more difficult when he’s in power, but events in recent days indicate that whatever grace period the White House hopes is already over.

A barrage of rockets on Monday night It landed near a US facility In the city of Erbil, the capital of the Autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq. The attack you adopted An Iraqi Shiite militia linked to IranAt least one non-US contractor was killed and five American contractors were injured. Tehran distanced itself from the strike, while Biden officials said Tuesday they were still working with their Iraqi colleagues to determine the origins of the attack. White House Press Secretary Jane Psaki said the president reserves the right to respond in a time and manner that we choose.

The Iraqi Shiite militias that are seen as proxies of Iran have a long and horrific record of violence inside their country, For allegedly targeting politicians and opposition activists. They have also served as lever in the Islamic Republic’s shadow game against regional opponents. Their actions now make Biden’s already difficult diplomatic effort to salvage the nuclear deal with Iran even more difficult. Time appears to be running out: the Iranians I informed the United Nations Atomic Energy Agency It will restrict access of international inspectors to Iran’s nuclear sites by next week if major US sanctions are not lifted.

Biden’s hawkish critics in Washington are already Recycle their attacks during the Obama era Of appeasement and weakness. The Biden administration has canceled the Trump administration’s designation of the Houthi rebels in Yemen as a terrorist organization, on the grounds that the list has made humanitarian efforts in the country more difficult. Biden also announced the end of US support for offensive operations in the Saudi-led war against the Houthis.

But the Houthis responded last week with Missile strike on Saudi territory Which witnessed a fire in a civilian airliner, according to the official Saudi TV. United Nations officials warned Tuesday that the Houthi attack on the gas-rich Marib region was threatening to displace up to 2 million people already suffering from the trauma of half a decade of war.

“The Houthi attack on Marib is a group that is not committed to peace or ending the war that afflicted the Yemeni people,” said US State Department spokesman Ned Price. In the same briefing, the US special envoy to Yemen, Timothy Lenderking, told reporters that the United States “has ways to get messages to the Houthis, and we are using these channels aggressively.”

International negotiators have failed to broker a permanent ceasefire in Yemen, where multiple escalating conflicts are still waged by a complex network of factions. For all the damage caused by the Saudi-led campaign, the Houthis, linked to Iran, also need to be convinced that it is in their interest to stop hostilities.

Biden faces a challenge when dealing with the country’s traditional allies in the region as well. He was done Accused of “contempt” Both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – both of whom are clearly close to the Trump administration – have been in his itinerary for phone calls with world leaders since taking office. Psaki rejected the accusation and said on Tuesday that Biden would speak with Netanyahu soon.

But there is nothing wrong with the bad intentions many Democrats feel toward the Israeli leader, who has embraced President Donald Trump and vehemently opposed the Obama administration’s diplomatic attempts with Iran.

If Netanyahu tries to undermine the President’s efforts to re-engage Iran – As he did with Obama – Or forcing his hand into the great settlement expansion, not to mention the annexation, Biden will definitely refuse, ” Veteran American diplomat Aaron David Miller Wrote in a CNN opinion article. “The president believes in the strong relationship between the United States and Israel and understands that mutual respect and reciprocity are the key to seeing it thrive. But his support for Israel, not for Netanyahu, may be painfully clear if the Israeli prime minister does not accept or accept these two very important rules on the road.”

The Saudis are far from cold. Basaki said Tuesday, before indicating that Biden’s contacts would take place with King Salman instead of the influential Crown Prince, who said, “We have made it clear from the beginning that we will reset our relationship with Saudi Arabia.” The CIA called The assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Concerns about human rights and the rule of law had raised discussion points in Biden’s foreign policy prior to taking office. And they are immediately tested by the United States’ allies in the region, led by Egypt. On Sunday, Egyptian security forces raided the homes of relatives Egyptian-American exhibitor Muhammad SultanHe is one of the most vocal critics of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s brutal rule.

“By going after Sultan’s relatives again, as well as relatives of other critics residing abroad in recent days, the Sisi government appears to be challenging the Biden administration and its efforts to make human rights a priority in US foreign policy once again,” My colleague Sudarsan Raghavan wrote. It also highlights the uncomfortable relationship emerging between Sisi and the new White House.

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