Just last month, there stood United States President Joe Biden, fist bumping Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the U.S. intelligence community says approved the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. It wasn’t a one-off.Continue reading
Tag Archives: Joe Biden
The American-Saudi Relationship in Peril
When a comedy sketch on Saudi TV went viral recently, it set people talking in Washington. The sketch depicted a senile President Joe Biden being manhandled by his staff – not exactly ground-breaking comedy, and hardly unique among international portrayals of the president. But for observers of the Gulf kingdom, it was worth noting.Continue reading
Will Biden Repeat Obama’s Mistakes on Iran?
Any hope that the American administration has of making a deal with Iran over Iran’s nuclear programme, appears—according to recent press coverage—to be on the edge of a razor. The European parties to negotiations are said to be rushing to save the diplomatic framework. It’s an awkward business. One party to the negotiations is Russia, against whom the democratic world now finds itself ranged after the invasion of Ukraine. The optimism of early March, when a deal was glimpsed, has now receded from view. Iranian demands include the delisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization; that now seems most unlikely. Extraneous demands like this, and the business of sanctioning Russia, clutter up negotiations. The Biden Administration, despite its desperation for a deal, seems so far unable to secure one—and hardly in a position of strength.Continue reading
With Netanyahu Gone, Will Israel Soften Its Stance on Iran?
On 13 June, before the new coalition government won a vote of confidence in Israel, the outgoing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, made an incendiary speech in the Knesset.
‘Iran is celebrating’ the new coalition, he said. He claimed the government, led by religious-nationalist Naftali Bennett, would be dominated by the left-wing and therefore weak.Continue reading
Gaza War May End Arab Acceptance of the Israeli-led Status Quo
For all the pro-forma talk of a two-state solution among diplomats and politicians across the world, it is commonly believed that the Palestinian national cause has lost its impetus. Palestine lies in two divergent parts, separately ruled by parties which hate each other. Because no Palestinian state worth the name could spring quickly into existence, the diplomats and politicians believe, they need give it no heed save the platitudes.Continue reading
Zarif’s Hardliner Misdirection
Attentive readers will have noticed an Iranian media campaign of late. Most recently, this has included a strange back and forth between Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, and Joe Biden’s special envoy on climate, John Kerry. Once the best of friends, Kerry and Zarif have fallen out. Zarif claimed that Kerry had told him details of Israeli strikes on Iranian assets in Syria, to which the Iranian minister says he listened with shock. Stretching credulity, Zarif claims all of this was news to him.Continue reading
Is America Really Back?
When, on Tuesday, the American secretary of defence Lloyd Austin announced that 500 more American troops would be sent to Germany, a tacit intention of his speech was to convince observers that a terrible thing had been averted in the nick of time.Continue reading
America and Shia Militias
So great is America’s identity crisis in this century of isolationism, that its citizens have spent last week and this one bickering among themselves about whether the United States should retaliate when it is attacked by an avowed enemy.Continue reading
In America, a new presidential administration means new faces. Some of them are immediately visible; others take a while to make themselves known. With a new press secretary, Jen Psaki, taking questions with a frequency and a reserved, non-adversarial professionalism not exhibited by her predecessors, the appearances are clear: it is all change, and back to normal.Continue reading
The Trump Administration’s Parting Blows
As you will likely have gleaned from other sources, Joe Biden is now the president of the United States. He has begun his time in office, as presidents are wont to do, by making a show of being busy and in charge. Biden spent the first few hours at his desk undoing all the work of his predecessor that could be undone by executive order.Continue reading