US allies grow increasingly worried as Biden administration backtracks on Iran nuclear deal


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Friday’s ballistic missile attack by the Houthis, an Iran-backed terror group based in Yemen, on a major Saudi oil depot heightens feelings of anger and frustration among several key regional allies toward the Biden administration.

The fear is that Iran’s proxies could step up attacks in the region as chances of the administration joining the Iran nuclear deal look increasingly likely.

Against the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, analysts suggest there is a growing problem with how America is viewed by some allies. It’s a perception that American leadership in the world is weakening, argues Jonathan Schanzer, a former Treasury Department official and senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

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“First the White House messed up Afghanistan, then Putin goes into Ukraine and now Washington has seemingly caved in to all the demands made by Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” Schanzer said.

In this photo provided by the Saudi Press Agency, firefighters attempt to put out a fire at an Aramco terminal in the southern border town of Jizan, Saudi Arabia, March 20, 2022. Yemen’s Houthi rebels set off a barrage of drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia that targeted a liquefied natural gas plant, a water desalination plant, an oil facility and a power plant, Saudi media reported.
(Saudi Press Agency via AP)

“Our allies are all wondering if there is, in fact, an American-led world order. This undoubtedly opens the door to transactional alliances with countries like Russia and China. In short, our allies are scared by America’s lack of leadership. They should be.”

The Biden administration has been in talks in Vienna, Austria, with parties to the nuclear deal, and the reinstatement of the controversial Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) seems imminent.

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In 2018, President Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 Obama-era deal and imposed tough sanctions aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear activities.

Mohammed Khalid Alyahya, expert on Saudi Arabia and the Gulf and visiting scholar at the Hudson Institute, made this clear. He said the Gulf states viewed the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 as “the original sin” given all the problems they have faced since with Iran’s proxy militias.

Alyahya says a future deal will be much worse because not only does it do a poor job of addressing the nuclear aspect, but it will likely bring even more sanctions relief to Tehran.

A group of anti-Iranian protesters gather during the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) meeting in Vienna, Austria, April 15, 2021.

A group of anti-Iranian protesters gather during the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) meeting in Vienna, Austria, April 15, 2021.
(Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“If you take it from a Gulf perspective, it is precisely this US policy that is fueling attacks on Gulf oil infrastructure,” Alyahya said. “So it’s through that lens that you have to understand the frustration of Gulf players when it comes to taking phone calls or discussing increased oil production.”

The Biden administration’s recent request to the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates for help in reducing oil prices in the face of crippling gas costs in the United States, coupled with an imminent return of the United States to the nuclear deal, has further blurred trust with regional allies.

Alyahya said asking the Saudis to increase oil production is not a simple request and threatens a major success of Saudi foreign policy. “The demand is to tear up the OPEC+ deal, and the OPEC+ deal is one of the landmark foreign policy achievements of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States and rebuilding it would be very difficult.”

A damaged car is parked at an Aramco terminal in the southern border town of Jizan, Saudi Arabia, March 20, 2022. Yemen's Houthi rebels have unleashed a barrage of drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia which targeted a liquefied natural gas plant, water desalination plant, oil facility and power plant, Saudi media reported.

A damaged car is parked at an Aramco terminal in the southern border town of Jizan, Saudi Arabia, March 20, 2022. Yemen’s Houthi rebels have unleashed a barrage of drone and missile strikes on Saudi Arabia which targeted a liquefied natural gas plant, water desalination plant, oil facility and power plant, Saudi media reported.
(Saudi Press Agency via AP)

Saudi Arabia leads a group of 23 countries that form a pact known as OPEC+. It has recently made headlines as Russia is a member. According to reports from last year, OPEC+ agreed to increase production to try to help lower gas prices.

Alyahya told Fox News Digital it’s time for the United States to be more realistic in its discourse with its allies and outline what it wants to achieve in the world and how allies can help.

He points out that Friday’s attack on an oil depot in the Saudi city of Jeddah is just the latest in a series of attacks on Saudis by the Iran-backed militia from Yemen. Alyahya noted that the Houthis were removed from Washington’s list of terrorist groups last year.

“Bombs are raining down on Saudi oil facilities that are being dropped by the people the Biden administration is empowering through its own foreign policy, through the Iran deal and the delisting of the Houthis,” Alyahya said.

Houthi supporters burn an American flag during a protest on January 18, 2021 outside the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa against the United States over its decision to designate the Houthi rebel movement a foreign terrorist organization.

Houthi supporters burn an American flag during a protest on January 18, 2021 outside the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa against the United States over its decision to designate the Houthi rebel movement a foreign terrorist organization.
(Hani Al-Ansi/photo alliance via Getty Images)

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The Biden administration reversed another Trump administration policy by delisting the Houthis last year from the Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).

Alyahya said it would be foolish for Saudis and Gulf countries not to follow their own national interests.

“So, I mean, calling on Saudi Arabia to raise oil prices and give up its national interest and OPEC+ while it’s being targeted by America’s enemies is an impossible demand,” he said. declared Aliyahya. “That doesn’t mean they’re anti-American. It doesn’t mean they’re anti-Biden, it doesn’t mean they’re playing partisan politics. That doesn’t mean they’re pro-Republican or anti-Democrat. just means they’re not fooled.”

Observers say the Iran deal could mean billions of dollars in the Tehran regime’s bank accounts that will no doubt be used to fuel Iran’s hegemonic ambitions across the region and point to the fact that Regional changes may be coming given the growing frustration.

“It’s not that they’re scared, they’re angry. I think that’s an important distinction,” said Theodore Karasik, senior adviser at Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based geopolitical risk consultancy. , DC. He says the result of this is an adjustment in the strategic outlook of these countries in what he calls a “tectonic way”.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks after viewing the "Burma's Path to Genocide" exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, March 21, 2022.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks after viewing the “Burma’s Path To Genocide” exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, March 21, 2022.
(Kevin Lamarque, Pool via AP)

Karasik points to the meeting hosted earlier this week by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, who was joined by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates. (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES). Reports say the three leaders discussed the repercussions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, regional issues and the Iran nuclear deal.

“The meeting is a direct response to the anger and absence of the United States in the region at this time. They seek to create a joint security mechanism that links their air defense and anti-drone technologies against Iran “, Karasik told Fox News. Digital.

Perhaps aware of the discontent felt by regional allies, Secretary of State Antony Blinken will visit the Middle East next week. In Israel, he will meet jointly with the foreign ministers of Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco and Bahrain. According to the State Department, Blinken will also meet with Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed Al Nahyan to discuss regional security and international developments while in Morocco.

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Blinken may have his work cut out for him as he encounters some concerned allies. FDD’s Jonathan Schanzer predicted the trip would do little to change the administration’s mind.

“Blinken is now coming to the region to ostensibly let America’s allies in the Middle East air their grievances,” Schanzer said. “It’s unlikely to change the deal with Iran in any tangible way.”

Adam Shaw of Fox News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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