By the end of the Obama era, Israel, Egypt and the Gulf states had lost confidence in American Mideast policies, and Iran was running amok in the region.
Iran remains entrenched in Syria and continues to operate proxies in several other countries. But today the Islamic Republic is facing united regional opposition, and is itself on the verge of financial and political collapse.
There are a number of reasons for this shift, including the policies of the current US administration. Yousef al-Otaiba, ambassador for the United Arab Emirates to Washington, even suggested that perhaps Joe Biden should thank President Trump for providing the next administration with unprecedented leverage against Iran.
In an interview on Tuesday with Israel’s Channel 12 News, Otaiba said:
“So now you have a new administration, but you also have a lot of leverage on them [Iran]. Whether it’s sanctions, whether it’s COVID, whether it’s low oil prices, whether it’s what it is going through the region and in general, why are we not using this leverage to get a better deal? I think the Biden administration is in a better position in the negotiations. Whether he wants to thank Trump for it or not is up to them.”
There’s also a newfound stability in much of the Middle East the likes of which American presidents have chased unsuccessfully for decades. And Otaiba explained that this is going to continue.
“I don’t know which countries are ready or when they’ll be ready” to normalize relations with Israel, the ambassador said. “But I can tell you that what we did kind of broke the ice, broke the taboo, that this is no longer impossible. It can be done.”
More than that, Otaiba called the move toward peace a “trend,” noting that “Bahrain did it very quickly after us, Sudan did it very quickly after them which tells you this is not an aberration. This isn’t one or two rogue countries going out of line and doing something unconventional.”