In recent developments, the Biden administration is grappling with a potentially significant shift in the balance of power in the Middle East. One of the region’s crucial allies is gravitating more towards Iran, a major adversary to US interests in the area.
Previously, the United States has enjoyed a robust alliance with several Middle Eastern nations, offering them security guarantees and economic incentives in return for their cooperation. These partnerships were deemed critical for maintaining stability in this volatile region.
The Abraham Accords during Donald Trump’s presidency sparked talks of normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, which would benefit both America and Joe Biden. The ongoing war between Hamas, a terrorist group, and the Jewish state put an end to that.
One key ally might be reconsidering its relationship with Washington. Recent reports suggest that there are growing ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, which could have far-reaching consequences for the strategic balance in the region. Reuters reports that Saudi Arabia plans to halt normalization talks with Israel and engage with Iran, a long-time geopolitical adversary. Reuters stated that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received his first phone call from Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi as Riyadh attempts to prevent a broader surge in violence across the region.
Iran has been at odds with the US for decades, mostly due to its nuclear ambitions and support for proxy wars across the Middle East. A closer alliance between Iran and another regional power could be problematic for the US, as it might provide Iran with more leverage and strategic depth.
The motives behind this potential realignment remain speculative. It could be rooted in economic incentives or a strategic play by the said ally to have a broader set of options and allies in a rapidly changing geopolitical landscape.
Regardless of the reasons, it’s clear that the Biden administration needs to tread carefully. The evolving dynamics could compromise US interests in the region. If this ally firmly aligns with Iran, it might diminish American influence, challenging Washington’s long-standing policies.
The Biden administration has not done well with the Saudis. As a candidate, Biden promised to treat the nation like a pariah after Jamal Khashoggi was killed, but instead, he went to Saudi Arabia to shake hands with MBS and beg for an increase in oil production that he did not receive.
Experts believe that the Biden administration should redouble its diplomatic efforts to understand the concerns and motivations of its regional allies. Open dialogue and strengthened partnerships might prevent further drifts toward adversaries like Iran.
The Middle East remains a complex and rapidly changing political landscape. The Biden administration, like its predecessors, faces the challenge of navigating these turbulent waters. This recent shift indicates that the US must remain vigilant and adaptive, ensuring that its policies align with the evolving realities of the region.