Some of the expectations and challenges confronting the Middle East in the wake of the upcoming Biden administration

In Iran, which has been eagerly looking forward to the return of a nuclear agreement reached with the Obama administration, the excitement is evident after it was announced that Biden would be the new occupant of the White House in under two weeks.
However, the Islamic Republic, known for its shenanigans to maintain its grip on the Persian Gulf area, now faces a new reality: namely, a rapidly growing Israeli-Arab alliance (mainly with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain) to counter Iranian challenges.
No wonder, Israel’s warm relationship with the United Arab Emirates surpasses any peace agreement it signed either with Egypt or Jordan. The following Emirati song (Take me to Tel Aviv!) offers a good example of the deep level of cooperation and passion between the UAE and Israel. It also indicates the UAE and Bahrain’s accelerated efforts to normalize ties with Israel at a rapid pace.

Observing carefully the recent statements by some Iranian officials about Iran’s nuclear program, they might try to use them as a pressure card so Biden will rush to return to the status quo that existed under Obama’s nuclear deal reached in 2015.
In this video, Ali-Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) talked about the scope of the Iranian nuclear project and its future mission to become one of the most important ambitions.  He also claimed that the Iranian president had ordered the allocation of financial resources to support these ambitious plans. This may well mean that Iran’s hope for lifting economic sanctions has become realistic.

According to the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister in the video below, Iran is not withdrawing from the nuclear deal by turning up nuclear enrichment to 20%, but rather to pressure the United States and the European co-signatories to “correct their own ways and their own violations”. This step is yet further evidence to pressure the United States for an unconditional resume of the nuclear deal and the lifting of economic sanctions.

It is not surprising to see that the Trump administration continues to impose sanctions on the Islamic State in order to cripple “the regime’s destabilizing activities around the world”. “The United States will continue to aggressively implement sanctions with respect to the Iranian regime, those who evade sanctions, and others who enable the regime to fund and carry out its malign agenda of repression and terror”. The latest statement released by the spokesperson of Secretary of State Pompeo concluded.
With these ongoing sanctions, It is also obvious that the Trump administration seeks to make it harder for the incoming Biden administration to unconditionally lift them. It can also cause embarrassment and be exposed as a sign of weakness as well.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia, which expects some clashes with the Biden administration because of its human rights record, may find itself deepening its relationship with Israel to confront Iran. In his speech at the GCC summit, the Saudi Crown prince Muhammad Bin Salman reaffirmed his calls for unity among the Gulf states against Iran’s threats.
The Saudis resumed pursuing closer ties with Turkey despite the dispute caused by the murder of a Saudi journalist inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and Turkey’s support for Qatar in its contention with Saudi Arabia.
Needless to add, the recent Gulf Cooperation Council summit, which took place in Saudi Arabia, witnessed the beginning of a reconciliation project with Qatar in response to the new political developments, such as the Biden administration.
While the United Arab Emirates was initially not enthusiastic about the rapprochement with Qatar, it supported the path of reconciliation supported by the United States in order to put an end to thorny issues such as Qatar’s relationship with Iran and Turkish presence in the Gulf.  Nevertheless, The main target remains to face Iran’s menace to the region.
The Trump administration’s strenuous efforts to isolate Iran in the region may ultimately fall to waste if the Biden administration decides to reverse that policy and return unconditionally to the infamous nuclear deal.
Iran’s ballistic missile program is no less dangerous than its nuclear programs since Iran wishes to make itself a striking power beyond the Gulf states and Israel.
It is clear that Israel, reputed for its intelligence capabilities which succeeded, not long ago, in eliminating the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizdeh near the Iranian capital Tehran, is facing continued looming threats. Hezbollah, Iran’s military arm in Lebanon, as well as the increasing military capabilities of Hamas in Gaza make the Jewish state more vigilant than ever before.
The Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza, in the video below, made it very clear that Iran wants to continue to pose a major security threat to Israel. He added that Iran gave Hamas the ability to strike Tel Aviv by building a missile network, “which is one of the most significant accomplishments of the late Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.” No wonder Israel celebrated his death which came as a result of a US strike at Baghdad airport last year.

How will the Biden administration deal with Iran’s unrelenting hegemonic ambitions? Perhaps liberal voices in the United States have the answer to this question.
The most important question is how Israel will react to an unconditional return to Iran’s nuclear deal.
Will Israel and its new Arab allies take action against the Iranian nuclear program or will they accept to be pawns in such a scenario where the nuclear deal is inviolable?
©Samir A. Zedan. All rights reserved.

2 replies
  1. Fr. John Claypool
    Fr. John Claypool says:

    Zedan hits the ball out of the park. Great and accurate article on the coming effects of the Biden administration on the Middle East. Zedan sees the whole picture.

  2. Nasif Gilini
    Nasif Gilini says:

    Well done Samir, the Iranian celebrations started and they are waiting for newly elected Biden to step into the White House and easy the sanctions towards Iran. Maybe the coming Iranian threats will finally bring the Arabs and the Jews together which might bring some future peace to this troubled region. Serious changes are coming so there is some light at the end of the tunnel

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