Back in September, CNN ran a ghost-written article for a doddering, mostly incoherent Joe Biden that declared his intention to restart negotiations to bring back the Iran Nuclear Deal. Though the article uses tough-guy language, the intent is clearly to return to the status quo ante that existed before President Trump took office, which was a one-sided agreement that gave the West a treaty, China a seat at the table to strengthen Iran’s hand, used Russia (yes, THAT Russia) as the US interlocutor with Iran, and Iran a nuke while lifting sanctions and committing the United States to defend Iran’s nuclear research capabilities against attacks, a clause that was obviously aimed at Israel. There was a lot of other good stuff in the treaty. Military facilities were off-limits. Iran was allowed to do its own inspections. The US agreed that it would not criticize the deal.
Since the signing, a lot of other interesting items have trickled out. The failed young-adult novelist interning as deputy national security advisor played Pied Piper of Hamelin to the US press corps to get support (you don’t have to admit Ben Rhodes was smart to acknowledge he knew his target audience was stupid). The Iranians dictated the terms of the agreement in the White House. Iranian nationals in US prisons were released. A large quantity of currency was transferred to Iran by aircraft. And we learned that Obama let the NSA spy on members of Congress and US senators to assess where they stood on the deal.
Eventually, the US withdrew from the deal, but only after Israel swiped some 1,000 pounds of Iranian nuclear documents and media from right under the noses of the Mullahs in Tehran and after Ben Rhodes Echo Chamber had been called back into service to attack President Trump for disrespecting Obama’s signature foreign policy accomplishment.
Where Obama had sought to appease Iranian ambitions by letting them kidnap US sailors and US Navy vessels, recognizing their suzerainty over Iraq and Lebanon and Syria, tolerating their adventurism, and gifting them a nuke, President Trump sought a different, less-traveled path. He defanged the Palestinians as a political force, moved the US embassy to Jerusalem, and convinced the Arab world and Israel to make common cause against Iranian aggression. The results were astounding, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Morocco, and Bahrain established diplomatic ties with Israel. Saudi Arabia allowed the use of its airspace for flights to Israel. All of these were unthinkable under the 40-plus-year-old paradigm governing the “Middle East peace process.”
Now, with Biden in the White House, there are numerous signs that his administration intends to unravel the accomplishments of the Trump administration and return to sucking up to the mullahs for the sake of a “paper which bears his name” and “peace in our time.”
Biden has halted the sale of F-35 fighters to the UAE. Ostensibly, this is over security concerns, but when part of the aircraft is manufactured in Turkey, which has become a virtual Russian client state, that argument is laughable. The real reason is that the F-35s were a sweetener to get the UAE over the edge to a deal with Israel. The most significant change comes in our relationship with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is involved in a very ugly little war with the Houthi, an Iranian proxy in Yemen. Saudi Arabia has a large and restive Shia population. An Iranian client state on their border, fomenting rebellion, dare I say insurrection, is that last thing they want or need. Biden has removed the terrorist designation from the Houthi. He has prohibited US support for all offensive operations in Yemen and prohibited the sale of any US weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.
This will be the tip of the iceberg. When you combine it with the stated intention of again funding the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), putting a former UNRWA staffer in a key position in the National Security Council, and restoration of diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority, it sketches the outline of a plan to return us to where we were in 2016. That is not a good thing; it guarantees more bloodshed, more instability, a more aggressive Iran, and, ultimately, US troops in body bags.