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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Newsweek: Biden’s understanding of the Middle East is naive to the extreme

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British politician and prominent editor of the discussion platform at “Newsweek” Nigel Farage saw that the world’s picture had become more confused, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden have been deeply involved.

Farage explained how Trump understood that the West had to choose between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but that the self-described foreign policy expert Biden believed he could enjoy productive relations with these two archenemies at the same time.

Saudi Arabia, a major trade and security partner of the United States and the United Kingdom, has clashed with Johnson and Biden. This is cause for deep concern.

On March 16, two British hostages of Iranian descent, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Anousheh Ashuri, were released after being held by Iran for years. Tehran released them after Britain paid a $530 million debt to the Iranian regime. The debt was linked to a contract to supply some tanks to Iran, but London refrained from delivering them after the 1979 revolution.

Appeasement is comfortable…until it fails
Farage noted that he was the first to say that the newfound freedom of the two hostages is wonderfully positive news for them and their families. Farage demanded not to forget the third hostage, Murad Tabraz, who has American, British and Iranian nationalities and who remains in detention accused of spying for the United States. But many found the mechanism of his release to be very problematic. Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described the debt payment as “blood money”. On Twitter, he predicted that Iran would use the money to “terrorize Israel, the UK and the US.” “Appeasement is good until it fails, it always is,” he added.

it was time
If nothing else, Farage continued, the timing of the release of the two hostages raises serious questions. Why did Britain choose this time to return the money to Iran? It could have done so many times since Ratcliffe-Zagari was jailed in 2016. The answer is that the British government hopes to restore relations with Iran. She shares Joe Biden’s enthusiasm for reviving the nuclear deal. Under the 2015 deal backed by President Barack Obama, Iran promised to dismantle its nuclear program and open its facilities to UN inspections in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief. The hope was that this agreement would establish harmony between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Israel.

trump was right
In 2018, Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement, saying that Iran’s missile program was still active. Trump was right. Iran continues to develop its missile program and there is strong evidence that it has used the funds freed up by the deal to sponsor terrorism in the Middle East. Despite this, Biden is pushing hard for its revival and is close to signing a copy. It will have the support of the European Union and the United Kingdom.

A very symbolic step
The same day that Zaghari-Ratcliffe and an Assyrian were released, Johnson visited Saudi Arabia and held talks with Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. The purpose of the visit was to persuade them to increase energy exports from the Middle East so that the West could reduce its dependence on Russian oil. It didn’t go well. On the same day as the visit, Saudi Arabia announced that it was close to agreeing with Beijing the price of some of its oil sales to China in yuan instead of dollars, to the detriment of the dollar’s dominance in the world oil market. This move is highly symbolic and shows deep discomfort with the Biden administration. Johnson left the Middle East empty-handed. He got nothing in particular for his visit.

What Trump understood… and Biden did not understand

Farage explained how Trump understood that the West had to choose between Iran and Saudi Arabia, but that the self-described foreign policy expert Biden believed he could enjoy a productive relationship with these two archenemies at the same time. This is naive to the extreme and explains why the Saudis don’t even respond to calls from Biden. By siding with Iran, as Biden apparently advocates, the West has chosen not only to engage with extremists who want to sow terrorism around the world, but is also damaging relations with a partner that has proven to be a reliable ally. The West may start buying Iranian oil again. All of this amounts to a huge mistake that Trump would never have made.


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