US elections: How would Trump VS Biden affect Middle East
Americans are going to choose their next president on November 3 and the results of the 2020 US elections are certainly going to have big implications for the Middle East, particularly in terms of security, and Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Significantly, both President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden represent two different policies for the Middle East region. Against Trump’s “America First” vision, a Biden win in the elections can revive the United States’ global positioning in the world order.
Trump’s Middle East policy
Recently, Trump and his administration achieved one diplomatic breakthrough in the Middle East with the signing of the Abraham Accord between Israel and two Arab nations – the UAE and Bahrain – as a crucial step towards normalising relations in the region. However, it is still uncertain if other Arab nations will follow suit to normalise ties in the region. While Trump has yet not been able to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and Palestine, despite his promises in the 2015 US elections, he has still gained significant influence in the Middle Eastern geopolitical discourse.
As per reports, recent polling has shown that a majority of Israelis are preferring Trump over Biden as the President of the United States, considering the heightened political engagements between Trump and Israeli PM Netanyahu including the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem by moving the US embassy there from Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, Trump and leading Arab countries have been diverting their attention to stopping Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The Trump administration has also imposed sanctions on the Iranian economy in a bid to choke off Tehran’s access to funds.
Biden’s Middle East policy
Taking into account that a Biden administration will face hostile US-Iran relations, he will attempt to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and ties between the two countries. In order to do so, Biden will have to lift some of the sanctions on the Iranian banks and economy. According to experts, a majority of Iranians are preferring Biden over Trump in the White House. At the same time, Biden is likely to gain benefit from increased support of US’ European allies who have been trying to handle Trump’s mismanagement of world order for some time now.
It is also important to note that an increased partnership between the US and Iran can affect America’s relations with Saudi Arabia. In his election campaign, Biden has assured to “reassess” relations with Saudi Arabia amid its intervention in Yemen’s civil war. He has also declared to negotiate terms in the ongoing civil wars and conflicts in Iraq, Libya, Syria and other parts of the Middle East.
A Biden administration will also seek to reconstitute Washington’s interaction with the Palestinians. Biden has promised to restore around $600 million in US aid to Palestinian Authority, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, and other agencies, which Trump terminated in 2019 in a bid to pursue Palestinians to accept his peace plan. Biden can certainly reap some benefits from former US President Barrack Obama’s goodwill in the Middle East.