Biden Middle East visit already spells disaster
US President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Ramallah, in mid-July. The visit is expected to be centered around talks to normalize relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, through first discussing the development of a regional anti-Iran coalition. However, the agenda set by the United States is doomed to failure, and this comes in large part due to a refusal to recognize realities on the ground.
As is usually the case when a US President announces a trip to Palestine/Israel, Western corporate media begins to peddle talk of a non-existent two-State solution. Fitting in with this meaningless and symbolic practice, Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, is too playing along with the United States government and claiming that the “peace process” is something attainable in some sort of distant future. Meanwhile, Israeli leaders — who have returned to their old rhetoric of rejecting the notion of Palestinian Statehood — carry on about their lives and proceed to discuss the real policies favored by Washington for the region.
What is important about Joe Biden’s trip to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders, when it comes to the two-State solution model, is that with the lack of care for the notion from the US leadership, it shows the irrelevance of the Palestinian Authority (PA) as any serious political force. The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which has now been absorbed by the PA, was once one of the most powerful non-State organisations on the planet, holding a symbolic political weight unmatched by any other. The PLO used the armed struggle as the primary means of liberating the homeland of the Palestinian people and, despite it being severely outgunned by Middle Eastern nations, its relevance on the world stage was a force to be reckoned with. The PLO, in all truth, died with its former leader Yasser Arafat and has been reduced to a steaming pile of waste, politically, whilst maintaining relevance wholly as a repressive military and intelligence force that serves Israeli interests.
The above must first be understood in order to assess the current situation, that is that the PA — which is ostensibly the internationally accepted representative of the Palestinians — is not a true representative of the Palestinians. Instead, the Palestinians are today represented primarily by a united military force, which is headed up by the Hamas movement in Gaza. The Palestinian resistance movement — that is the coordinated group of armed wings belonging to multiple political parties — is the only force that commands broad support and also has the power to get political concessions out of Israel.
This being said, President Joe Biden’s Middle East strategy is in essence the same as his predecessor. Although Donald Trump employed a much more blatantly pro-Israeli stance and was more fanatically militaristic in his rhetoric, Biden is following a very similar policy platform, yet it is less effective. Whilst Donald Trump’s campaign and many of his officials were closely tied to the Emiratis, Saudis, and Israelis from the get go, Biden comes in refusing to dive into the same policy positions head first. According to a recent interview with King Abdullah II of Jordan, we know that the “Middle East’s NATO” may now be on the drawing board, something that is expected to be included as a top priority during Biden’s visit to Tel Aviv and Riyadh. Although there has been some focus on the rejection of such an alliance, which would be designed to combat Iran’s regional influence, by the Palestinian Authority, they will not take any measures that will seriously challenge the alliance and hence are irrelevant.
Where the Palestinians truly come into this equation is in their ability to rebel in the streets of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the 1948 territories (Israel), whilst simultaneously receiving the backing of the armed resistance forces in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinian armed factions, which are often factored out of the equation, are currently working on developing a strategy to confront Israel by opening a new battle from the Gaza Strip. It is not known when the Gaza-based armed resistance will launch their attack, but what is certain is that such a battle has the capacity to completely reshape power dynamics regionally.
If an “Arab-Israel Axis” is indeed built by the United States, as a means of combating the Islamic Republic of Iran, all those involved may be quickly destabilized as a result of it. Iran’s influence in the region is not merely through a string of “proxy forces” as is often repeated by Western state officials and think tanks, each allied movement has its own goals, large support bases and are ideologically committed to their cause. Hamas, PIJ, PFLP, Hezbollah, Ansarallah, the different PMU groups, and the countless groups based in Syria, have formed a unified camp of resistance against Western imperialism and Israel. If these forces launch a unified and calculated attack on Israel, inflicting a significant portion of damage and managing to expose the fragility of the regime in Tel Aviv, this will be enough to completely alter the course of US policy in the region and will force most of the normalizing Arab regimes to both engage more with Iran and reconsider many of their current policy positions.
In addition to this, the Kingdom of Morocco, which was essentially blackmailed into normalizing relations with Israel, is now being pushed towards a possible war with its neighbor, Algeria. Algiers has chosen to adopt a more polarized approach to world and regional politics, again choosing to align itself with the Palestinian cause in a more meaningful way and shift to a more anti-Western stance, rhetoric-wise. Algeria’s government cut relations with Rabat last year, citing Israel as being one of the primary factors in their decision. Since that time, Tel Aviv has been growing much closer to Morocco, something which the Algerians certainly view as a threat to their own security. If Morocco becomes part of the Middle East’s NATO, then it would not be surprising to see Algeria take steps to place itself further inside the camp of resistance in the MENA region.
Whilst the arrogance of US policy makers, and regionally illiterate Western journalists, would have you believe that an Israel-Arab alliance will work well to secure US interests [imperialism] in the Middle East and Northern Africa, such an alliance would be fragile and only steer those States included further towards military confrontation and political unrest. One successful multi-front military confrontation with Israel, and the entire region will experience a number of tectonic shifts. If the Biden administration chooses to abandon the Iran nuclear deal completely, building an anti-Iran coalition in the region instead, this will spell disaster for US imperialism and will only pave the way for further Russian and Chinese influence.