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The Arab fools will get no consolation from US machinations; will they never learn?

July 13, 2022 at 12:02 pm

US President Joe Biden, on May 22, 2022 [Lee Young-ho/Sipa/Pool/Anadolu Agency]

We are just hours away from US President Joe Biden visiting Saudi Arabia, and I do not know if he will be a welcome guest or not. It is likely that he will be welcomed with smiles, while his hosts hide what is in their hearts, especially Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. His relationship with Biden is strained given the president’s hostile attitude towards him over the Yemen war; the threat to stop military cooperation with the kingdom; and Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

Nevertheless, Bin Salman is probably ecstatic that he has forced the president of the global superpower to blink first and visit the kingdom after refusing to host him in the White House. Such joy is despite the fact that Biden denies going to Saudi Arabia to meet with the prince, and claims instead that he is only there to attend an international conference, will not be meeting Bin Salman one to one, and will not change the way that he is dealing with the Khashoggi case.

There is no doubt that Biden’s justification for the visit looks naive after activists attacked him for breaking his promise to place human rights at the centre of US foreign policy, given Saudi Arabia’s awful record of rights violations. However, being in politics comes with obligations, and the game of politics requires those who take part to know its rules and, even more importantly, speak the language of “interests”. States have interests that are much more important than hollow slogans. The late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said that, “We have no lasting friends, no lasting enemies, only lasting interests.”

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This is the pragmatism that dominates politics; ideals and values — and human rights — have no place unless “interests” will benefit as a result. In essence, politics is a struggle for interests and nothing else, which is why political analysts believe that countries must focus on soft strategies such as diplomacy as the most effective in promoting political interests. Political realism and cooperation are essential to advance the interests of states, so much so that principles and morals always take second place to homeland security and national interests.

Biden made this clear in his recent article for the Washington Post in which he justified his visit to Saudi Arabia in the context of the confrontation with Russia and China. He said that it is his job to keep the US strong and secure. “We have to counter Russia’s aggressions, put ourselves in the best possible position to outcompete China, and work for greater stability in a consequential region in the world. To do these things, we have to engage directly with countries that can impact those outcomes, Saudi Arabia is one of them.” He added that when he meets with Saudi leaders, his aim will be “to strengthen a strategic partnership going forward that’s based on mutual interests and responsibilities.” Biden has also said that from the beginning, his aim has been “to reorient, but not rupture relations with a country that has been a strategic partner for 80 years,” and that his administration “reversed the blank-cheque policy” it inherited.

To enhance his statements, he added a veneer about human rights, repeating that he will stick to “fundamental American values.” He noted that he realises that many will disagree with his decision to visit Saudi Arabia, but that his “views on human rights are clear and long-standing, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad.”

The US president ended his article by boasting that he will be the first resident of the White House to fly direct from Israel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This, he said, is a “small symbol of the budding relations and steps toward normalisation between Israel and the Arab world, which my administration is working to deepen and expand.”

And this is the point of his visit to Saudi Arabia: to establish “normalisation” and promote it in the Arab world, especially in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has already taken serious steps towards this, and what used to happen in secret yesterday is now happening openly today. The opening of Saudi airspace to a flight from Tel Aviv is sufficient to announce the various forms of normalisation happening on the ground.

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That is why we saw Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid describing Biden as “one of the closest friends that Israel has ever had in American politics.” Lapid was not wrong. Biden’s history and statements prove that he is a Zionist through and through, and loyal to Israel. “I am a Zionist,” he once said. “You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” When he was a Senator, he insisted that, “If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved.”

Biden’s visit to the region continues on the normalisation path of his predecessor Donald Trump, who paved the way for him. The declared goal is an Arab-Zionist alliance led by the US: an Arab-Zionist-American NATO, as I called it more than a year ago at the end of Trump’s term in office. This followed the shuttle diplomacy by his son-in-law and chief adviser, Jared Kushner, between Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Jordan to establish this highly suspect Arab-Zionist alliance, under the pretext of confronting Iran. In truth, it is an alliance to support Israel and get its feet even further under the regional table in the face of ever stronger and more effective — and entirely legitimate — Palestinian resistance.

Trump's legacy in the Middle East - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Trump’s legacy in the Middle East – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

It is an alliance that strengthens Israel’s leadership of the Arab countries and helps to achieve the Zionist dream of “Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates”. The shameful and shameless Arab countries involved will be under Israeli control and will direct their energies against those who challenge its occupation of the land of Palestine. The claim that it is intended to confront Iran is the biggest lie that has become a cause for ridicule; Iran is the bogeyman that America has created in order to frighten the Gulf countries and keep them under its control, while emptying their treasuries in the process.

Washington is adept at this game; it did the same with Saddam Hussein who outlived his usefulness to the West and was turned overnight into the regional bogey. Getting rid of Saddam led to the Gulf States being financially and militarily exhausted, and they are still suffering from the effects. After eliminating him, Saddam-free Iraq was basically handed over to the Gulf’s perceived enemy Iran. The regimes do not learn from even very recent history.

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Iran has never been an enemy of the US. We can ignore hollow slogans such as “Death to America” and “America is the Great Satan”, and other anti-US and anti-Israel slogans by Iranian leaders and officials, and one of its regional proxies, Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah, who threatens that his missiles can reach Haifa and beyond in the occupation state. It’s all talk. We have never seen a single Hezbollah missile going anywhere significant.

In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini arrived in Iran on a French aircraft protected by the US Air Force. The veteran political fox Henry Kissinger, the US Secretary of State during the October War of 1973, said that it was the last war between the Arabs and Israel and that they should be pushed into a 100-year war between the Sunnis and Shia. This was the gold card that the Americans gamble with on the tables of the ignorant and the fools. It reminds me of Kissinger’s statement that it it is not in America’s interest to solve any problem in the world, but it is in its interest to pull the strings of the problem and move them according to US national interests. The Arab fools will get no consolation from such machinations. Will they never learn?

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.