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Biden, the Gulf and Iran
US President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons; Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Biden, the Gulf and Iran

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, London, November 10

Confronting Iran’s aggressive activities has marked the policy of Gulf states for nearly four decades and it is still the main driver shaping their policies and alliances. The preemptive step taken by the UAE and Bahrain to establish comprehensive relations with Israel paved the way for dealing with the coming changes, including the new US presidency. There are Gulf-Israeli overlapping issues. The common enemy of the Gulf and the Israelis today is the Tehran regime, which explicitly adopts a project that threatens the security and existence of all these countries. Joe Biden’s administration will further limit Iran’s expansion by signaling to it that the US will stand by its allies in the region. Biden pointed out two mistakes made by former President Barack Obama’s team when he negotiated with Iran and signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The first is that Iran’s nuclear obligations in the agreement do not prevent it from building a ballistic system, which is a serious flaw. There are now only five years left in the period of time in which Iran is not allowed to enrich uranium. This is a short wait for a patient regime that is determined and insisted on possessing a nuclear weapon in the long run. The second mistake is that the agreement neglected to put a brake on Iran’s regional threats using its conventional weapons, as well as its quest for change and control in countries such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the Gulf, Yemen and Afghanistan. I cannot imagine peace with Iran without modifying the agreement and Biden reiterated this position time and again – directing his words toward the mullahs, who closely monitored his statements on the campaign trail. Tehran has proven that it is never to be trusted, even by the American team that assumed its goodwill. A case in point was its humiliating arrest of the US sailors during the end of the Obama era, even though Obama was the one president who gave Iran its greatest opportunity. Two new realities created in the Trump era will continue during the Biden administration. This includes the close alliance between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the Emirates and Bahrain, as well as the close security coordination with Israel in the face of Iran. Qatar will try to dismantle the coalition, but it will not succeed. Iran and Turkey, despite their attempts to work together against this alliance, are facing difficulties due to conflicting expectations between the two countries, in addition to the dire economic situation each country is going through. Therefore, I feel cautiously optimistic about Biden’s win, without underestimating the challenges that his administration will need to face in the near future. – Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

Did you know we’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary as the 1st American News Agency exclusively covering the Middle East?

  • The Middle East landscape is changing rapidly.
  • The roads in the region open to new possibilities.
  • The Media Line continues to pave the way to a far greater understanding of the region’s land, people, policies and governments through our trusted, fact-based news.

We’re an independent, ad-free, non-profit news agency and rely on friends like you!

Please make your gift today as we have a most generous matching 2:1 grant.
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