U.S. Bid to Convince Allies to Normalize Ties With Israel Is Floundering

The statement indicated that the U.S. may have conceded crucial geopolitical ground on other issues as well.

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Members of the U.S. military carry the Israeli and U.S. flags before the arrival of Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman during an honor cordon at the U.S. Defense Department in Washington, on April 26, 2018. [ Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES ]

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded his three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 8, seen as a desperate attempt by the Biden administration to hold on to its “closest ally” in the region.

Before Blinken started his tour, he had stated that the normalization of Saudi-Israel relations was one of the top priorities of his government. However, reports indicate that Blinken not only failed to get any assurance from the Saudis on that front but had to concede some crucial ground on significant regional issues.

Hours before he traveled to Saudi Arabia, Blinken addressed a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group in the U.S., claiming that the Biden administration “has a real national security interest in promoting normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.” He also noted that there are no real prospects of a two-state solution in the near future and that his government will not push for it.

On June 8, before leaving Saudi Arabia, Blinken addressed a press conference jointly with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh, where he reiterated his government’s resolve to work for Israel-Saudi normalization. However, Blinken was contradicted by Faisal bin Farhan who pointed out that “normalization of ties with Israel will have limited benefit without a pathway to peace for the Palestinians.”

Blinken ended up committing to work for the resolution of the conflict in Palestine and the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders in a joint statement issued a day after his meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers.

The statement indicated that the U.S. may have conceded crucial geopolitical ground on other issues as well. For example, while it raised the issue of “freedom of navigation and maritime security in the region,” hinting at alleged Iranian threats, it welcomed the restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a reversal of the U.S.’s earlier cautious tone.

The U.S. seems to have toned down its objections to Arab countries’ normalizing their relations with Syria. The joint statement expressed support for the Arab countries’ “efforts to resolve the [Syrian] crisis in a step-for-step manner.”

from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service

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