Biden Breaks Campaign Promise In Effort To Steal Credit For Trump's Biggest Achievement

By Eliana Regev | Saturday, 28 May 2022 16:45
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When Donald Trump brokered the landmark Abraham Accords, which brought Israel and key Arab states together, he laid the groundwork for Saudi Arabia to participate. In fact, as recently as two weeks ago, President Trump's son-in-law got Saudi investors to buy into a fund that seeds Israeli tech companies. Now, the Biden administration is trying to hijack the process and take credit for 'Middle East Peace'.

According to a report, the White House is trying to strike a deal between Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel that could act as a measure to alleviate the relationship between Tel Aviv and Riyadh and lay the groundwork for a presidential visit. In plain speak, Biden is trying to score a major policy coup that he feels can help raise his approval ratings. The problem he has is that he campaigned while vilifying Saudi Arabia, even going so far as to say he will not expand diplomatic relations with the Arab State widely seen as being responsible for the killing of a journalist who was critical of it.

Biden's change of heart has more to do with the price of Gas than anything else, and he is banking on the possibility that he can get Saudi Arabia to lower the costs for Americans, which in his mind would be a good swap. While the progressives would be angry for breaking his promise to not do business with Saudi Arabia, the moderates would applaud him for alleviating a massive crisis not seen since Carter's 1970's administration when America resorted to rationing gas.

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President Joe Biden is expected to travel to the Middle East next month, increasing the possibility of a sit-down with Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A meeting would highlight a significant thaw in the relationship, which has frayed over security and energy conflicts and after a U.S. intelligence report blamed the crown prince for the 2018 killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

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After months of outreach by senior Biden Administration officials, Washington could be seeing a breakthrough with Riyadh.

White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk and the State Department’s energy envoy Amos Hochstein met with senior Saudi officials this week to discuss the transfer of two strategic Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, oil production, and the relationship between Riyadh and Washington, current and former U.S. officials told Axios.

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The deal would complete the transfer of two strategic islands to Saudi Arabia, which featured in a 1979 peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. The move could be a stepping stone for an important deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel and would herald a diplomatic coup for Biden.

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Normalization may still be some way off: Saudi Arabia has repeated that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stands in the way. But these first steps could create part of a set of agreements that Washington regards as vital for a presidential meeting with the crown prince.

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Senior Biden Administration officials have worked for months to settle issues with Saudi Arabia, an important U.S. partner in the region.

Still, Riyadh has resisted Washington’s requests to pump more oil as gas prices have surged, complicating Biden’s domestic and foreign policy considerations, including Western efforts to isolate Russia over its invasion of Ukraine by cutting off its oil exports. The refusal is also the latest evidence of decades of understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States over security and energy markets eroding.

Riyadh has bent to Washington’s will before. In 2020, former President Donald Trump told the crown prince that he would be powerless to stop Congress from curtailing U.S. military support to the kingdom unless the OPEC oil cartel slashed production.

“It’s interesting that the Biden Administration seems to be using the carrot more than the stick,” said Annelle Sheline, a non-resident fellow at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and a research fellow at the Quincy Institute. “It actually seems like maybe the stick worked better.”

A former Administration official told the Washington Examiner that Biden should get something in return for a meeting with the crown prince, which could open him to criticism after promising to make the “pariah” kingdom “pay the price” for Khashoggi’s murder on the campaign trail.

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