Opinion | How Joe Biden Can Rein in Donald Trump’s Reckless Middle East Policy

Both interventions allegedly carried out against terrorists, Islamists, and Iranian-backed militias were activated and through President Donald Trump’s reckless respect and signaling to Arab autocrats. Trump may herald his efforts to withdraw American forces from the Middle East, but throughout his presidency he has still wielded American power in the region with a detrimental impact: he has blessed the war in Libya supported by the Emirates and Egyptians, Vetoed a Congressional resolution to end US military aid to the Saudi Arabian campaign in Yemen that has been admonished Arabic states Buying American arms – all of this has destabilized parts of the region and devastated parts of its citizens.

Additionally, on November 10, the Trump administration announced plans for a massive arms sale to the United Arab Emirates. in the return for the signing of the Abraham Accords by the Emirates, Trumps over hyped In the normalization agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, the president plans to sell armed Reaper drones along with the advanced F-35 fighter jets and precision ammunition to Abu Dhabi. The delivery could take years, and the deal is already encountering opposition on Capitol Hill: On November 18, a non-partisan group in Congress, concerned about human rights violations in the Emirates in Libya and Yemen, announced plans to introduce laws to block the transmission. Regardless of the outcome of this move, the package’s announcement appears to be an appropriate completion of Trump’s destructive impulses in the region.

As President, Joe Biden will have to grapple with the aftermath of Emirati Adventurism and the habits of other authoritarian Arab allies that have been wasted not only under Trump but also under previous administrations with American military support. There are already positive signals that Biden intends to do so by pursuing a policy towards Arab states that is less personalized, less transaction-oriented, more value-based and more geared towards promoting the well-being of the citizens of the region than the phobias and ambitions of theirs Region to take account of ruling elites. For example, some of Biden’s top advisors have expressed it skepticism on the sale of American offensive weapons to the Gulf. The early reactions some Arab regimes in Biden’s election suggest that they are sensing this shift and are uncomfortable.

But even with Biden’s good intentions at first, it will be difficult to escape the institutional inertia of American arms transfers and other forms of military engagement with Arab allies. This is especially true when the Biden government tries to resume the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal. If so, he may be tempted to use continued military support to calm nervous Arab regimes. And for fear that these regimes could increasingly turn to Russia and China Arms suppliers While trying to shift America’s energy to other parts of the world, Biden could also resort to arms sales to compete economically and militarily.

As a veteran of the Air Force and a former attaché who has served in several Arab countries, I understand the seduction of military aid as a political instrument. The truth is, his record is in yielding advantageous returns mixed for American interests. Support to the security sector, including foreign military funding and arms sales the United States has seldom given Leverage across partner regimes, even if US military aid is withheld or made dependent on those partners changing their behavior or implementing reforms. In many cases, the provision of expensive, prestige equipment has not strengthened the ability of US allies to act independently or to address the threats they are actually exposed to. In the worst case, security and cooperation embroil America in the abuses and excesses of Arab regimes.

There are, of course, exceptions – like fighting, democratic Tunisia, which has benefited from American military equipment, intelligence and training to suppress terrorism and insurrections. defend its borders and respond to the coronavirus pandemic. And in Lebanon, American aid to the Lebanese armed forces for counter-terrorism and internal stability was equally important. But it’s the UAE that is usually heralded as a success story of American investment in foreign military in the Middle East with supporters shows on the country’s air strike and special operations expertise. “Little Sparta”, to use a contemporary nickname for the Gulf state, has even proven its competence in Training and equipment its own local proxies.

Armed with these capabilities, however, the UAE has repeated injured Longstanding United Nations arms embargoes against the dispatch of arms to Libya were bombed Civilians, helped create the worst famine in the world in decades in Yemen and recruited mercenaries from impoverished, conflict-ridden states, sometimes under deceptive pretexts. Even so, some UAE advocates, both inside and outside the U.S. government, have claimed that these flawed interventions are forgivable engineering flaws or mounting pain, and that the broken dishes will hardly result in punishing a brave Arab ally. What’s more they careThese interventions do not actively undermine US interests.

From a die-hard, realistic perspective, this may be the case with civilian deaths from air strikes in the Emirates, like the one I saw at the Libyan biscuit factory that afternoon. But even the most jaded realist would agree that America’s interests are threatened by Russia’s ongoing situation military entrenchment in Libya, an oil-rich state on NATO’s Mediterranean flank. This anchoring was facilitated by the intervention of the Emirates. lit green by Trump last year, and de facto Battlefield cooperation between the Emirates and Russian mercenaries of the Kremlin-affiliated Wagner group.

To reverse the legacy Trump left behind, President-elect Biden’s administration must militarize US politics in the region with a greater reach not only for Arab regimes but also for sections of Arab society – like the Asylum programs and Educational exchange The Trump administration has been canceled or cut. Biden must also avoid arms deals with governments that have committed outrageous abuses and violations of norms such as embargoes, while more vigorously calling and sanctioning the perpetrators. At the same time, his administration should redouble its efforts on the US military Calls “Building institutional capacities”, the often inconspicuous work of advising military personnel and bureaucracies, partly to convey the values ​​of accountability, the rule of law and human rights.

Realistically, however, Biden would not be able to significantly change the general security policy in the region as its administration is occupied by other requirements. This includes military and economic competition from China and Russia as well as climate change, but especially crises here in the USA: the coronavirus pandemic, the economic downturn, political polarization and our broken criminal justice system. Obviously, these domestic commandments are urgent and entirely appropriate. Getting our affairs in order at home is indeed a necessary first step in restoring our credibility among our Arab allies. As Biden said In his victory speech: “We will not only lead by the example of our power, but also by the strength of our example.”

This is wise advice. I’ve researched and written about it for years Militias in Libya and in the near East and their collusion with government institutions has shaken me as armed groups, paramilitaries and vigilantes in the United States and theirs sympathetic Treatment by the police. A more compelling argument for following Biden’s dictum, however, is a story told to me by a retired American military officer.

This officer, assigned as an attaché to a key Arab ally, was sent to deliver a demarche to government officials against the use of military equipment by civil demonstrators. He sat in an office and spoke firmly to his hosts. But the whole time he saw a flat screen TV across the room.

What he saw made him wince at the hypocrisy of his demarche: Live footage from America of the city police in Ferguson, Missouri, with military equipment against civilian demonstrators.

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