Considering the latest developments in the Middle East, the Biden administration’s policies towards the region can very well escalate the Israel-Hamas conflict to dangerous levels.
The war between Israel and Hamas dealt a major blow to the policy of the Biden administration in the Middle East. Just a few days before the start of the war, Jake Sullivan, the US national security advisor, praised the achievements of the Biden administration in the region and claimed that “the Middle East region has become much safer and more stable today than it was during the past two decades.” Now, however, with thousands of people dead in Gaza and Israel, the war between the two risks becoming a long-term disaster with the possibility of turning into a multilateral conflict at the regional level.
It is worth noting that proponents of the deepening of the US presence in the Middle East consider the lack of interaction or the threat of reducing the American interaction in the region to be the cause of the current war between Hamas and Israel. They argue that the start of the war ended the illusion that America could extricate itself from an area that had been on its national security agenda for the past half century.
Some even believe that this war is a small manifestation of a Middle East without the presence of the United States. According to this point of view, America should increase and deepen its presence in the region to protect its national interests there.
Biden should get rid of illusions
But the truth is that the war between Israel and Hamas was not the result of America’s withdrawal from the region. Rather, it flared up in the middle of big plans to change the regional order of the Middle East. In fact, the Hamas attack and Israel’s strong response both happened following the US policy of increasing involvement in the region, and Biden should realize that.
Contrary to his campaign slogans about re-evaluating America’s relations with Middle East dictators and moving towards a more rational policy, Biden’s approach actually reflects the same approach as his predecessor, Donald Trump. In fact, Biden has increased the US military presence in the region.
After Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, the United States increased its military presence in the Middle East in hopes of preventing a wider regional conflict. It deployed two aircraft carriers with about 7,500 personnel in each, as well as two guided missile destroyers and nine air squadrons in the eastern Mediterranean and Red Sea region. Washington also deployed 4,000 troops to the area, with another 2,000 on standby to add to the roughly 30,000 men already in the region.
But Biden’s Middle East policy is more dangerous than Trump’s because the Democratic President is now seeking to grant unprecedented nuclear and security concessions to Saudi Arabia in exchange for normalizing relations with Israel, a dangerous trend that could very well turn the Middle East region into a hot hell for years.
Biden, however, seems too stubborn to reason. “President Biden and his team argue that the United States has a national security interest in brokering such a deal, even if that means massive and unprecedented concessions to Riyadh,” says Jonathan Hoffman, political analyst from the Responsible Statecraft.