Biden's Tripartite Doctrine: Shaping the Middle East through Three Key Axes
Reassessing Regional Dynamics and the Biden Doctrine in the Middle East.
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There are two prevailing beliefs regarding the escalating crisis in the Middle East. Firstly, there is anticipation surrounding the unveiling of the Biden administration's new strategy to address the complex conflicts involving Gaza, Iran, Israel, and the broader region. Secondly, there's concern that without a robust and comprehensive doctrine, the crisis may empower Iran, isolate Israel, and diminish America's capacity to shape regional dynamics. Biden's doctrine, termed the "convergence of strategic thinking and planning," unfolds across three key dimensions.
Firstly, it entails a robust military response targeting Iranian-backed proxy groups in the region, following the drone killing of three American soldiers at a Jordanian base.
Secondly, it involves an unprecedented diplomatic push by the United States to advocate for the establishment of a Palestinian state. This initiative hinges on U.S. recognition of a civilian Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, contingent upon the Palestinians developing credible security institutions to ensure the state's viability and non-threatening nature towards Israel. The Biden administration has sought input from both domestic and international experts to explore various avenues for recognizing the Palestinian state.
Thirdly, it envisions a comprehensive security alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia, inclusive of normalization efforts, provided Israel commits to a diplomatic process aimed at the demilitarization of the Palestinian state under the Palestinian Authority's leadership. Achieving these objectives could mark a significant milestone, potentially constituting the most significant strategic shift in the region since the Camp David Treaty of 1979.
However, for Biden's doctrine to succeed, these three paths must be intricately connected. It's evident that the October 7th attack on Israel, Israel's subsequent extensive retaliation against Hamas resulting in the deaths of numerous innocent Palestinian civilians, as well as the assaults on Israeli and American troops in the region, alongside the failure of Israel's right-wing cabinet to devise a post-war governance plan for Gaza with a Palestinian partner other than Hamas, have prompted the Biden administration to undergo a profound reassessment of the Middle East.
This ongoing reassessment underscores the recognition that the United States cannot permit Iran to push it out of the region, endanger Israel's stability, or exert pressure on its Arab allies through the actions of supported groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Ansarullah, and Shiite militias in Iraq.
So far, Tehran has remained relatively passive, observing without facing consequences. Simultaneously, this situation underscores the understanding within the United States that it will never garner the necessary global legitimacy to confront Iran effectively without the support of its NATO, Arab, and Muslim allies, which necessitates allowing Netanyahu to maintain his current policy stance.
This approach could be dubbed America's "double-checking strategy," strategically calling Iran's bluff while simultaneously laying the groundwork for the establishment of a Palestinian state in a manner unprecedented in U.S. history. Each facet of this strategy relies on the success of the other; they reinforce and validate one another. Privately, Netanyahu has hinted to Biden about potential openness to considering some form of a demilitarized Palestinian state, despite publicly opposing such an idea. However, the reality is that public statements carry more weight than private assurances. Fortunately, Biden, with his extensive experience, recognizes Netanyahu's attempts to manipulate him.
Iran has effectively undermined all of the United States' regional initiatives. Concurrently, the US has maintained a level of tolerance toward Netanyahu, who vehemently opposes the formation of any Palestinian state, going as far as supporting Hamas over the Palestinian Authority to prevent any unified Palestinian leadership.
The events of October 7th highlighted the failure of America's policies in the region. These policies inadvertently bolstered Hamas, facilitated Ansarullah's disruption of global shipping routes, and led to the expulsion of American forces from certain areas.
Israel finds itself struggling on multiple fronts. It has lost ground in the narrative battle surrounding Gaza, with the International Court of Justice in The Hague holding Israel accountable for civilian casualties, despite Hamas's initial aggression. Additionally, Israel's invasion of Gaza lacked a coherent plan to establish a legitimate governance structure beyond Hamas, diminishing its ability to ensure safety and stability in the region.
Furthermore, the stability of the region is rapidly deteriorating. Israel finds itself under attack from four fronts, including Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and Iraqi militias. However, Israel struggles to rally Arab allies and establish a unified front akin to NATO necessary for prevailing in the conflict. The primary obstacle to garnering support lies in Israel's refusal to engage with a viable and recognized Palestinian partner.
Should the Biden doctrine come to fruition, it would effectively remove the Palestinian card from Tehran's playbook. This shift could pave the way for the establishment of a Palestinian state that ensures Israel's security interests, while also facilitating the normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia under terms acceptable to the Palestinians. Such a strategy would find favor among Arab-Americans and regional Arab allies in the Persian Gulf, compelling them to reassess their previous approaches to Iranian, Palestinian, and Israeli affairs.
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