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A Biden 'compact' with Saudi Arabia will shut the door on diplomacy with Iran

Mehran Haghirian

Middle East Eye

June 30, 2022


With US President Joe Biden planning to visit Jeddah in the coming weeks, an article in Foreign Affairs penned by Steven Cook and Martin Indyk made the case for a new US-Saudi relationship under a "strategic compact".


The authors argue that Biden can use a reset in relations with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to bring food and gas prices down in the US using Saudi Arabia's excess capacity to calm the current turmoil in the energy market.


This, in turn, would increase support for the Democrats in the upcoming mid-term elections. But, more importantly, they maintain that "at the core of any rapprochement should be the common need to counter Iran".


This camp of prominent US foreign policy and Middle East affairs thinkers believe in a perpetual conflict between Iran and its Arab neighbours. The arguments presented by them are solely based on containing and countering Iran, with or without the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal.


There is virtually no mention of the ongoing bilateral talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and no consideration of Doha and Muscat’s deep relations with Tehran. They are largely pessimistic towards any regional dialogue and dismiss talks of inclusive regional cooperation.


Subscribers to this approach in the White House are now discussing a proposal for the establishment of a new regional security structure with countering Iranas the shared objective. In Jeddah, Biden will attempt to hold a similar meeting that his predecessor held with Arab and Muslim leaders, with officials from all GCC states, as well as Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq.


Read the full article: https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/us-saudi-iran-strategic-compact-shuts-door-diplomacy



Photo credit: ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

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