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Biden’s Mideast Policy – Reassessment or Repeat?

Track record

President Biden’s foreign policy and national security team reflects a resurgence of the State Department’s worldview. An examination of this worldview and its track record is required, in order to avoid past mistakes.

This track record consists of such critical issues as:

*In 1948, the State Department led Washington’s opposition to the recognition of the newly established Jewish State, contending that the Jewish State would be helpless against the expected Arab military assault, would be pro-Soviet, would undermine US-Arab relations,  destabilize the Middle East, threaten the US supply of oil and cause severe long-term damage to US interests.  Deputy Secretary of State, Robert Lovett, claimed: “recognizing the Jewish State prematurely would be buying a pig in a poke.”

*During the 1950s, the US courted Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, considering him a potential ally and extending non-military aid, while Egypt evolved as a key ally of the USSR, supporting anti-Western elements in Africa, intensifying anti-US sentiments among Arabs, and attempting to topple every single pro-US Arab regime.

*In 1978/79, the US betrayed the pro-US Shah of Iran, while embracing Ayatollah Khomeini – including intelligence sharing during the initial months of the Khomeini regime – under the assumption that he was controllable and seeking freedom, democracy and positive ties with the US.

*In 1980-1990, the US collaborated with Saddam Hussein, including intelligence-sharing, supply of dual use systems and extending $5bn loan guarantees. The assumption was that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This US policy was perceived by Saddam as a green light for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, as documented by the meeting between Saddam and the US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, 8 days before  the invasion, when she asserted (reflecting the position of the State Department) that an invasion of Kuwait was an inter-Arab issue.

*During 1993-2000, the US Administration hailed Arafat as a messenger of peace, worthy of the Nobel Prize for Peace and annual US foreign aid, ignoring his annihilationist vision, as reflected by his 1959 and 1964 Fatah and PLO charters, hate-education system and intensified terrorism.

*In 2009, the US embraced the anti-US Muslim Brotherhood, ignoring its terroristic nature, and defining it as a political, secular entity. Thus, the US turned a cold shoulder toward the pro-US Mubarak, paving the road for the Muslim Brotherhood ascension to power in 2012/13, a blow to all pro-US Arab countries, which have been afflicted by Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.

*Until the eruption of the 2011 civil war in Syria, the State Department considered Bashar Assad a reformer and a potential moderate due to his background as an ophthalmologist in London, married to a British woman and President of the Syrian Internet Association. Similarly, Hafiz Assad (“the butcher from Damascus”) was regarded as a man of his word, a credible negotiator, justifying Israel’s giveaway of the strategically overpowering Golan Heights.

*In 2011, the State Department was a key engine behind the US-led NATO military offensive, which toppled Libya’s Qaddafi, notwithstanding his dismantling of Libya’s nuclear infrastructure, fervent war on Islamic terrorism, and providing the US unique counter-terror intelligence. The toppling of Qaddafi transformed Libya into a platform of civil wars and global Islamic terrorism.

*In 2011, the Washington, DC foreign policy and national security establishment welcomed the tectonic eruption of violence on the Arab Street as a march toward democracy, progress toward peaceful-coexistence, Facebook and youth revolutions – an Arab Spring.

However, a reality check demonstrates that it has been a ruthless Arab Tsunami, exposing endemic intra-Arab and intra-Muslim terrorism, subversion and violent power struggles, tribally, ethnically, religiously, ideologically, locally and regionally.

*In 2015, irrespective of Iran’s core fanatical, repressive and megalomaniacal ideology and systematic perpetration of war and terrorism, the architects of the Iran nuclear accord (JCPOA) provided Iran’s Ayatollahs with a $150bn bonanza to bolster their ballistic, terroristic regional and global expansionist machine.  They were guided by the assumption that the Ayatollahs were credible partners for negotiation, amenable to peaceful-coexistence and influence-sharing with their Arab Sunni neighbors. Moreover, the US disappointed most Iranians, by renouncing a military (regime-change) option against the ruthless and lawless regime in Tehran.  

Middle East reality

In view of the aforementioned track record – which highlights a systematic gap between Middle East reality and State Department policy – President Biden’s Middle East team may benefit from the studies of the late Prof. Elie Kedourie (London School of Economics and Political Science), an iconic Middle East historian, whose politically-incorrect books and articles have been vindicated by Middle East reality.

According to Prof. Kedourie (The Chatham House Version): “The sober assumption that Middle East instability is endemic has found little favor either in Britain or in America….

“One of the simplest and yet most effective means known to mankind of keeping in touch with reality is to contrast what people say with what they do…. Alien conventions and unfamiliar speech add to the confusion…. All too often assumptions are not tested on the pulse of experience, they remain mere abstract doctrines, and men are taken up and praised for what they say rather than for what they are….

“The language of modern English and American politics is now adopted by the whole world and – divorced from the tradition in which it has value and dignity – becomes a debased, inflated jargon, a showman’s patter by which [Middle East] tyranny is made to seem constitutional, and crookedness to look straight….

“What may one properly mean by a settlement of the Palestine problem….? This dispute has become secondary…. The dispute now lies between Israel and the Arab states…. In the wider dispute, Israel is the immediate but not the most important factor. This lies in the rivalries of the Arab states…. A solution of the Palestine problem will accomplish little even if all the Israelis were exterminated and their state destroyed.  For then would perhaps come a quarrel about the spoils and issues even more intractable, but certainly not peace….

“Tidy doctrines will not help, and simple answers will deceive.  The disorder of the Middle East is deep and endemic, and the disappearance of Israel… will neither cure or even mitigate it.  The very attempts to modernize Middle Eastern society, to make it Western or ‘democratic’ must bring about evils, which may be greater than the benefits….

“[In the Middle East], political power is traditionally capricious in the transmissions, acquired by violence and established by repression…. Political stability is chancy and precarious…. Habits of stability are unknown, and the subject has more reason to fear the displeasure of his masters…. Sedition, treason and civil war are common enough in Middle Eastern history….

“The Muslim theory of international relations recognizes two possible situations only: war on the ‘infidel’ or his subjugation to the ‘faithful.’  Peace with him de jure is hostility until he recognizes the authority of the Muslim ruler…. The comity of nations, or the sanctity of treaties, the rules of natural justice, or decent respect for the opinions of mankind, are quite alien and largely unintelligible to the Middle East…. (ibid, pp 1-12)”.


In 2021, ten years following the eruption of the Arab Tsunami – and contrary to the expectations of the State Department – the Arab Street is still dominated by its intrinsic 1,400-year-old instability, unpredictability, violent intolerance, human rights squashing, despotism, intra-Arab and intra-Muslim wars and terrorism, and the tenuous nature of all regimes, policies and accords, while the Arab Tsunami has yet to reach its peak.

Such a policy failure is attributed – if one employs Prof. Elie Kedourie’s studies – to “successive and cumulative manifestations of illusion, misjudgment, maladroitness and failure (ibid, p. ix).”

Will President Biden’s foreign policy and national security team, dealing with Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Middle East at-large – which are epicenters of global proliferation of ballistic and nuclear technologies, as well as Islamic terrorism – learn from past critical errors by avoiding, or repeating, them?

At stake is regional and global stability, including the national security and homeland security of the USA.


The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

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The Abraham Accords – the US, Arab interests and Israel

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan believe that the expansion of the Abraham Accords, the enhancement of Israel-Saudi defense and commercial cooperation and the conclusion of an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace accord are preconditioned upon major Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

Is such a belief consistent with Middle East reality?

Arab interests

*The signing of the Abraham Accords, and the role played by Saudi Arabia as a critical engine of the accords, were driven by the national security, economic and diplomatic interests of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan.

*The Arab interest in peace accords with Israel was not triggered by the realization that the Jewish State was genuinely seeking peaceful-coexistence, nor by a departure from the fundamental tenets of Islam. It was motivated by the assessment that critical concerns of the respective Arab countries would be effectively-served by Israel’s advanced military (Qualitative Military Edge), technological and diplomatic capabilities in the face of mutual and lethal enemies, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.

*Saudi Arabia and the six Arab peace partners of Israel (including Egypt and Jordan) are aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which occasionally releases explosive lava – domestically and/or regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the 1,400-year-old stormy intra-Arab/Muslim relations, and recently demonstrated by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2011 and still rages.

They wish to minimize the impact of rogue regimes, and therefore are apprehensive about the nature of the proposed Palestinian state, in view of the rogue Palestinian inter-Arab track record, which has transformed Palestinians into an intra-Arab role model of subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude.

*They are anxious about the erosion of the US posture of deterrence, which is their most critical component of national security, and alarmed about the 43-year-old US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs, which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ terroristic, drug trafficking and ballistic capabilities. They are also concerned about the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest Sunni terrorist entity with religious, educational, welfare and political branches. And, they are aware of the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), the European vacillation, and the vulnerability of all other Arab countries.

Israel’s role

*Saudi Arabia and the Arab partners to peace accords with Israel feel the machetes of the Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood at their throats. They consider Israel as the most reliable “life insurance agent” in the region.  They view Israel as the most effective US force-multiplier in the Middle East, and appreciate Israel’s proven posture of deterrence; flexing its military muscles against Iran’s Ayatollahs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself and against Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism. They respect Israel’s unique counter-terrorism intelligence and training capabilities, and its game-changing military and counter-terrorism battle tactics and technologies.

*The Arab view of Israel as a reliable partner on “a rainy day” has been bolstered by Israel’s willingness to defy US pressure, when it comes to Israel’s most critical national security and historic credos (e.g., Iran, Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria).  In addition, Saudi Arabia and Israel’s peace-partners aim to leverage Israel’s good-standing among most Americans – and therefore among most Senators and House Representatives – as a venue to enhance their military, commercial and diplomatic ties with the US.

*Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are preoccupied with the challenge of economic diversification, realizing that they are overly-reliant on oil and natural gas, which are exposed to price-volatility, depletion and could be replaced by emerging cleaner and more cost-effective energy.

Thus, they consider Israel’s ground-breaking technologies as a most effective vehicle to diversify their economy, create more jobs in non-energy sectors, and establish a base for alternative sources of national income, while bolstering homeland and national security.

*The Abraham Accords – as well as Israel’s peace accords with Egypt and Jordan – and the unprecedented expansion of defense and commercial cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, demonstrate that critical Arab national security interests may supersede fundamental tenets of Islam, such as the 1,400-year-old rejection of any “infidel” sovereignty in “the abode of Islam.”  Moreover, critical national security interests may lead to a dramatic moderation of the (Arab) education system, which is the most authentic reflection of one’s vision and policies.

Thus, contrary to the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates has uprooted hate-education curriculum, replacing it with pro-Israel/Jewish curriculum.

Abraham Accords’ durability

*The success of the Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by the US State Department. The latter has produced a litany of failed peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue, while the Abraham accords bypassed the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto, and focusing on Arab interests. Therefore, the durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the interests of the respective Arab countries, and not on the Palestinian issue, which is not a top priority for any Arab country.

*The durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the stability of the individual Arab countries and the Middle East at-large.

*The Abraham Accord have yielded initial and unprecedented signs of moderation, modernity and peaceful coexistence, which requires the US to support the respective pro-US Arab regimes, rather than pressuring them (e.g., Saudi Arabia and the UAE).

*However, one should not ignore the grave threats to the durability of the accords, posed by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East (as related to intra-Arab relations!).  These inherent threats would be dramatically alleviated by a resolute US support.

*A major threat to the Abraham Accord is the tenuous nature of most Arab regimes in the Middle East, which yields tenuous policies and tenuous accords. For example, in addition to the Arab Tsunami of 2010 (which is still raging on the Arab Street), non-ballot regime-change occurred (with a dramatic change of policy) in Egypt (2013, 2012, 1952), Iran (1979, 1953), Iraq (2003, 1968, 1963-twice, 1958), Libya (2011, 1969), Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.

*Regional stability, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River (bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record). It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transforming Jordan into another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, similar to Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; triggering a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula; yielding a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US.

*While Middle East reality defines policies and accords as variable components of national security, the topography and geography of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the reality of the non-Western Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have secured its survival, and have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.

*The more durable the Abraham Accords and the more robust Israel’s posture of deterrence, the more stable the pro-US Arab regimes and the Middle East at-large; the more deterred are anti-US rogue regimes; the less potent are Middle Eastern epicenters of anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking; the more bolstered is the US global posture and the weaker is the posture of the US’ enemies and adversaries.

*Would the Arab regimes of the Abraham Accords precondition their critical ties with Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, which they view as a rogue element? Would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Would they cut off their nose to spite their face?

The fact that these Arab regimes concluded the Abraham Accords without preconditioning it upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, and that they limit their support of the Palestinians to talk, rather than walk, provides an answer to these three questions.

Support Appreciated






The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb