Reference News Network reported on December 8 that Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun published an article entitled “The United States’ weak presence in the “New Middle East” on December 6, which said that Biden’s “new Middle East” problem is very difficult. The full text is excerpted as follows:
In some areas of diplomatic security, U.S. President-elect Biden, who will take office in January next year, does not need to specifically reflect the difference from Trump’s line. For example, in terms of relations with Russia, Biden may as well support the Ukrainian government as Trump. However, in the complex Middle East compound crisis, Biden will actually be quite distressed by Trump, who needs to make new decisions on many issues.
Trump decided to cut the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but the Taliban and the Islamic State are still active, posing a threat to Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. Biden is actively considering returning to the Iran nuclear agreement reached in 2015, but the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist at the end of November made it difficult to make progress on the issue. Iran believes that Israel is involved in the assassination, and the compromise environment between Rouhani and the United States has been destroyed again.
After four years of Trump’s administration, the situation in the Middle East facing Biden has generally changed in regional political patterns and mechanics. Maybe we can already call it the “New Middle East”.
First, the basic pattern of the Middle East problem was originally “Israel to Arab”. As the Trump administration actively promoted Israel’s cooperation with Arab countries, Israel normalized relations with the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, and the basis for peace in the Middle East, such as the Palestinian independent statehood and the abolition of Jewish settlements, became “nameless”. .
Second, the Arab unity disappeared symbolized by the Syrian civil war. The “Arab Arc” from Lebanon, Syria, Iraq to Iran has become the “Shiite Arc”, and Syria has entered Russia’s interest due to the inaction of the Obama and Trump administrations.
Third, in the process of interfering in the Syrian civil war and Kurdish issues, Turkey’s special status as a non-hostile partner in dispute resolution has been recognized by Russia and Iran. Turkish President Erdogan is considered to have a certain say in the old Ottoman territories.
Here’s where the thorny thing Biden faces is the “new Middle East.” Another event that showed the emergence of the “New Middle East” was the “Six Weeks War”, in which Azerbaijan and Armenia fought around the Nagorno-Karabakh (Naka) issue from late September to early November. Russia pushed the signing of the armistice agreement between the two countries. Turkey’s strong support for Azerbaijan’s large recovery of lost land in this dispute is of great significance.
The above series of phenomena reflect the qualitative transformation of the modern Middle East problem (the question of Palestine and the Gulf War, etc.) that evolved from the classical Eastern problems led by Britain, France and Russia since the 19th century and based on the handling of the Ottoman Empire.
At the same time, the 19th century “big chess game” based on the British-Russian confrontation has also undergone qualitative changes. Britain has left, and the United States is not there. Non-Arab regional powers such as Russia, Turkey and Iran and even Israel are currently playing a role in the new “big chess game”. That is to say, the “Middle East issue” has always changed. Due to the addition of the new protagonist, it has shown a pattern of “New Middle East issue”.
Will Biden’s America be involved in the power game of the “New Middle East” again? For Biden, the Democratic Party’s large position of Armenian power in California cannot be ignored. Biden wants Armenia to say goodbye to Russia on the absolute condition that Naka will return to Armenia. But it is difficult for Azerbaijan to give up the fruits of the “six-week war”. Biden has to face the power of the resource country Azerbaijan.
The common interest of Russia and Turkey, which led to the end of the “Six Week War”, is to prevent the United States from coming forward in Syria and the South Caucasus.
Russia’s so-called “nearest neighbor” (the former Soviet Union), Turkey’s so-called Turkic ethnic circle, and Iran’s emphasis on Shiite belts, including Azerbaijan, all have a common interest in excluding American intervention. These aspects reflect the complexity of the compound crisis in the New Middle East, which cannot be solved by human rights and democratization favored by the Democratic Party of the United States alone.