PICTURED: Vice President Joe Biden visit to Israel in March 2016. PC: U.S. Embassy Jerusalem. CC 2.0.
Story at a glance…
Joe Biden leaves on Friday for Saudi Arabia one a cynical mission.
While Yemen is poised to resume war with Saudis, Biden officials are considering resuming offensive support for the kingdom.
The trip will feature a serious attempt to increase oil resources and diplomatic support for Israel.
WASHIGNTON D.C. July 11th, 2022. “Next week, I’ll travel to the Middle East to start a new and more promising chapter of America’s engagement there,” wrote American President Joe Biden in an op-ed penned in the Washington Post. “This trip comes at a vital time for the region, and it will advance important American interests”.
Without a word of political partisanship, this trip to the Middle East can be said to be a disaster. It can be described as such because it’s very clearly the penultimate chapter in the story of several of America’s least-beneficial, and most-damaging policies.
Moreover, Biden’s op-ed illuminates—through blatant falsities—exactly why these polices have been so damaging, and so unrewarding.
A trip from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Tel Aviv, Israel, is something which Biden feels is symbolic. Perhaps it is, but for all the wrong reasons.
Despite what Biden would have America believe, this trip to Saudi Arabia is in direct opposition to so much of what he supported as a candidate. First and foremost, this is about energy.
With Biden leading the charge to deprive the West of Russian energy, and the United States from producing its own fossil fuels, the world is scrambling to find new supply of petroleum as prices across Europe and North America reach record highs.
Whatever Biden might say about improving diplomatic relations and stability in the Middle East, it’s obvious beyond description that this will be about what the U.S. can do to get Saudi Arabia to produce more oil for America and her allies.
Yemen is as Biden does
Saudi Arabia’s disastrous attempt to restore Mansour Hadi to the presidency of Yemen, which resulted in a 7-year long war with number of a casualties so high that even the UN can only guess at it, seemed to be a doomed failure when, shortly after taking office, President Biden announced in February 2021 that because the Yemeni people were suffering “unendurable devastation” he would immediately end “offensive-support” for the Saudi air war.
The U.S. had previously provided everything from logistics, to training, bombs, replacement tires and other maintenance, and some reports say even co-pilots, that facilitated the Saudi Royal Air Force for their own attempt to bomb an enemy back into the Stone Age.
Despite stern opposition to the war in Congress from his Democratic colleagues, Biden’s administration continued supporting the Saudis in all but the most egregious ways, and yesterday Reuters reported that the Biden Administration is even considering resuming the “offensive support” they supposedly ended.
Riyadh also wants an end to the ban on the sale of precision-guided bombs, which the Saudi’s have repeatedly “guided” straight into the densest civilian areas such as schools, detention centers, and hospitals.
According to Reuters the resumption of offensive support would depend on the speed at which the Saudis work to end the War in Yemen, which has currently been stalled by a 2-and-a-half-month long ceasefire, which has had international diplomats, least of which from the U.S., scrambling to organize a truce.
“In Yemen, I named an envoy and engaged with leaders across the region, including with the king of Saudi Arabia, to lay the foundation for a truce,” Biden wrote in his op-ed.
WaL has demonstrated that since Timothy Lenderking, this so-called envoy, was appointed by Biden in February of 2021, his name had not been mentioned once in any additional international news reports from that month to May when a ceasefire organized around the holy month of Ramadan, and which was subsequently extended, nor in any updates on Yemen by the State Department since.
If the world’s journalists are to be believed, the man who is largely responsible is Hans Grundberg, the UN’s Special Envoy to Yemen, who has repeatedly visited the country.
Yemeni national news reported that 17 people were killed and injured by Saudi bombing/shelling the border areas of Sa’adah Governorate over the weekend.
Whether through green energy transition, the sanctions campaign to Russia, or everything to do with Yemen, there are yet more failed policies this trip will address.
In June, Biden sent a letter to Congress explaining U.S. military operations across the Middle East.
In it he wrote that a “small number of United States military personnel are deployed to Yemen to conduct operations against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS”.
This is despite the fact that he signs off the op-ed by claiming that “I will be the first president to visit the Middle East since 9/11 without U.S. troops engaged in a combat mission there”.
U.S. troops are deployed in combat missions in the Middle East. They just almost never die, and so they often go unreported. For example the al-Tanf base in Syria, where several hundred American soldiers repeatedly join nearby Kurdish allies in attacks against the never-ending supply of ISIS remnants.
“A small presence of United States Armed Forces remains in strategically significant locations in Syria to conduct operations, in partnership with indigenous ground forces, to address continuing terrorist threats emanating from Syria,” Biden wrote to Congress in June.
This base comes under attack from time to time, recently in October of 2021, when Iran, or Russia, or neither, or both, or ISIS, or Iraqi Shia militia groups, tried to launch rockets at it and drone bombs at it. Yet more trickles of failed U.S. interventions, those militia groups were once the U.S.’s allies in the fight against ISIS.
Towards the end of his op-ed, Biden, who would be going on to visit Israel and the West Bank, amid reports that it would be “crazy” to make the nearly 80 year-old president go through a 10-day trip abroad, finished with a compromising tone, when referencing criticism of his desire to go meet the Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman who ordered the murder and dismemberment of an American citizen.
“We have to counter Russia’s aggression, put ourselves in the best possible position to outcompete China, and work for greater stability in a consequential region of the world. To do these things, we have to engage directly with countries that can impact those outcomes,” he wrote.
There’s more to report; warning against Iran’s destabilizing nuclear program, when the United States has had ample opportunity to return to the nuclear agreement that Biden and several of his cabinet members, such as Nat. Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, were instrumental in creating in the first place under Barack Obama.
Now Biden heads to Riyadh to ask what the U.S. can do for the Kingdom so that Bin Salman and his kin won’t get mad when Biden brings the U.S. back in to the deal they already made. Yet more failed policies.
The ugliness inherent in this trip, all in the name of securing more fossil fuels and more protection for Israel, is so clear to see. It deserves all the criticism it receives.