Biden and the Middle East

A Biden Administration could provide a stumbling block for progress for peace in the Middle East, if it follows the policy of appeasement and support for the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism, Iran. The first misstep would be a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the Iran nuclear deal.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar, writing for The Jewish Press, emphasizes that “Joe Biden played an important role in shaping White House policy toward the region when he was Barak Obama’s vice president for eight years. Moreover, members of the Democratic Party like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib have a clear Middle East agenda, and if Biden retires during his term he will be replaced by Kamala Harris, who it seems clear will adopt this line of policy.”

Much of the extraordinary gains made in that region are the direct result of the current Administration’s willingness to counter Iran’s influence.  James Carafano, writing for the Heritage Foundation, notes:

“The Trump administration inherited a Middle East policy from the Obama administration that was collapsing…Iran had become more belligerent after the Iran Nuclear Deal and its surrogates were on the march everywhere. ISIS was governing a murderous caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq. Syria had collapsed in civil war. Iraq teetered. Israel faced increasing international isolation.”

President Trump took the opposite course, openly opposed the Tehran regime, and rejected the nuclear deal that virtually guaranteed that the terrorist-supporting mullahs would soon get nuclear weapons. That was completely different than the Obama-Biden policy, which clearly tilted towards Iran.

The Trump Administration’s successes have been extraordinary. Israel and Sudan have agreed to make peace.  That deal came soon after a groundbreaking agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, as well as one between Israel and Bahrain.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo emphasizes that President Trump’s “Maximum Pressure” campaign against Iran is extraordinarily effective.  That nation’s economy faces a currency crisis, mounting public debt, and rising inflation.  Prior to the Maximum Pressure campaign, Iran was exporting nearly 2.5 million barrels of oil per day. Now it struggles to export even a quarter of that volume.  Since May 2018, The U.S. has denied the regime direct access to more than $70 billion in oil revenue. The Iranian rial has depreciated to one fifth of its former value against the dollar since the start of the campaign, while Iran’s GDP has shrunk by around 6% for three consecutive years.

Pompeo notes that the sanctions deprive Tehran the funds it would use to carry out its support of terrorism across the globe, its attempts to destabilize the Middle East, and its ambitious nuclear weapons program.

In addition to agreeing to the nuclear deal that gave Tehran the legal right to eventually develop atomic weapons, the Obama-Biden Administration violated existing sanctions on Iran and clandestinely attempted to give that nation unlawful access to America’s financial system. The White House specifically and repeatedly lied to both Congress and the American public about this.

That was just part of the Obama-Biden financial aid to Iran. According to the Wall Street Journal “The Obama administration secretly organized an airlift of $400 million worth of cash to Iran … Wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies were flown into Iran on an unmarked cargo plane, according to these officials. The U.S. procured the money from the central banks of the Netherlands and Switzerland….”

The use of cash, as opposed to more conventional international payment means, allowed Tehran to provide more clandestine support for terrorists across the globe.

More than that, it is a clear signal to other regional nations that Iran is clearly the power to be reckoned with, and they engage in peace talks at their own, imminent, peril.

Frank Vernuccio serves as editor-in-chief of the New York Analysis of Policy & Government.

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