Gaza Conflict Shifts Biden’s Foreign Policy Priorities

 Gaza Conflict Shifts Biden’s Foreign Policy Priorities


The escalating conflict in Gaza has significantly altered President Biden’s foreign policy focus, leading to adjustments in his strategies towards Iran, Saudi Arabia, and even the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Hamas’s attacks on Israel and Israel’s subsequent retaliation have increased tensions, prompting many to anticipate that Biden will adopt a stricter stance on Iran. As a result, the chances of reestablishing facets of the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), seem bleak for the time being.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed his skepticism about the JCPOA, voicing concerns about its capacity to curb Iran’s support for global terrorism.

Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute commented on the situation, describing the events as a “wake-up call” for Biden’s approach towards Iran. She was skeptical about the Biden administration’s hopes of reconnecting with Iran, particularly in light of Iran’s backing of groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.

As reported by The Hill on October 25, 2023, The recent decision to halt the release of $6 billion in Iranian assets held in Qatar demonstrates the Biden administration’s responsiveness to external pressures, including concerns from Senate Democrats.

Furthermore, the turmoil in Gaza might also stall any potential security deal with Saudi Arabia. While Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has indicated interest in such negotiations, the growing discontent over the civilian casualties in Gaza is likely to curtail discussions on normalizing ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Sen. Chris Murphy noted that the U.S.-Saudi security deal has been overshadowed by the more immediate need to address the Gaza crisis. A group of senators had penned a letter to Biden, both supporting the normalization of ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia and expressing reservations about Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy and human rights track record.

Paul Salem from the Middle East Institute emphasized the far-reaching implications of the Gaza conflict, pointing out that the crisis might necessitate a more concentrated U.S. focus on the Middle East. This shift could divert attention from other pressing issues, such as the Ukraine conflict and the rise of China.

Moreover, there’s been a call from some U.S. conservatives, such as Sen. Josh Hawley, to prioritize Israel over Ukraine in terms of funding. Despite this, Democrats like Sen. Richard Blumenthal stress the importance of backing both Israeli and Ukrainian forces, highlighting the continual threats they face.

Blumenthal added that overlooking Ukraine could be advantageous for Russia, urging a balanced approach that doesn’t compromise on U.S. commitments.

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