US media: Biden’s visit to the Middle East is “painful”, but it achieves gains

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The American newspaper, Politico, talked about the expected results of President Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East and the agreements that might be signed during the visit between July 13-16.

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The newspaper said in a lengthy report that Biden ignored the Middle East for the past 18 months.

Unlike his predecessor, Donald Trump, who enjoyed rapprochement with Israel and Saudi Arabia for domestic political purposes and to promote confrontation with Iran.

Over the past few months, she added, “the situation has changed slightly and inaccurately.”

Biden and his team concluded that they must intensify Washington’s presence in the Middle East so that China and Russia do not fill the void left by the United States.

The newspaper pointed out that the presence of the United States in the region would help “isolate Tehran, and consolidate the ceasefire in Yemen.

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Accelerating modernity in Saudi society, and obtaining better relations between officials in Jerusalem and Riyadh,” as she put it.

The newspaper described the United States’ need for Saudi Arabia as “disturbing”, especially in the matter of maintaining oil supplies after the dwindling of Russian oil quantities following Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.

She said the Middle East that Biden is visiting this week “is not the Middle East he wanted,” adding that the visit was “full of opportunity but also a minefield for the president.”

The newspaper quoted statements by a senior US official, who asked not to be named, in which he said that “it is better for us to be present, even if it is painful.”

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The official explained that this is the price that Biden must pay, as the visit will demonstrate Washington’s commitment to normalizing Israeli relations with Arab countries.

And “ending the stalemate” of relations with Saudi Arabia, stressing that both are required to confront Iran in a “more effective” manner.

Despite the few “tangible achievements” expected from the visit, John Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, sees the visit as “an attempt to expand, not deepen” relations.

The newspaper mentioned some of the expected results of the visit, including the announcement of $100 million in support for Palestinian hospitals.

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And the possibility of concluding an agreement with Saudi Arabia that would allow Israeli airlines to fly over its airspace.

The newspaper also expected that discussions would take place during the visit on the establishment of an “integrated air defense” system in the Middle East.

It includes Israel and neighboring countries that enables it to work in “unison” to thwart Iranian missiles.

Commenting on this point, a senior Israeli official told the (unnamed) newspaper: “Whether you want to use the word alliance or not is your business, but this is the idea.”

The newspaper said that the “most notable” development in the visit is Biden’s presence in Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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He wants to show the world that all the attention given to Ukraine “will not distract his administration from securing regional interests with its allies and partners.”

The newspaper stressed that “continued engagement, not indifference,” would help calm the volatile region.

US officials believe that the improvement in relations after Biden’s visit will make it more difficult for Russia and China to gain a foothold in the region, according to the newspaper.

The newspaper pointed out that National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Middle East official in the National Security Council Brett McGurk lobbied to convince Biden that the visit was “essential.”

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She confirmed that the president “has agreed to conduct the visit knowing full well that he has many losses and few short-term gains.”

The US President is scheduled to arrive this evening, on a visit to the Middle East from July 13-16.

It starts with Israel and then the West Bank before taking off directly from Tel Aviv to Saudi Arabia.

The US President will also attend in the Saudi city of Jeddah, on the last day of his visit, a summit that includes the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in addition to Egypt, Iraq and Jordan.