Note: this is a machine translation from the original Russian text
US President Joe Biden has decided to postpone his long-announced visit to the Middle East.
Previously, it was assumed that he would visit the region at the end of June, but now the deadline is July.
The official reason is the heavy workload of the White House host's schedule on his trip to Europe. However, there is reason to believe that this is not the only problem. It is likely that Biden simply does not make sense to go: the program prepared by his diplomacy was not accepted by the partners.
As far as can be judged, the strategic plan of the visit was to create a coalition of Arab States and Israel. The goal is to formalize a Sunni–Israeli alliance against Iran, as well as to involve the Arab world in an anti-Russian total sanctions war. But skillful actions Moscow and Tehran, on the one hand, and the deepening distrust of Middle Eastern countries towards the United States, on the other, upset this plan.
It is easy to see that the central idea of the visit is a logical continuation of the strategy of the "Abraham agreements", initiated and promoted by the previous President Donald Trump. He positioned these agreements as the "deal of the century", the creator of which he rightfully felt himself.
At the same time, it is important that one of the foundations of Trump's Middle East policy was to strengthen close ties with Saudi Arabia. A number of agreements on the supply of modern weapons worth billions of dollars were signed with Riyadh.
It seems that the pinnacle of the strategy of "Abraham" should have been the consent of the KSA – the leader of the Arab and Islamic world – to recognize Israel. If it succeeded, Trump could well claim a place in History and the Nobel Peace Prize.
Biden, who became a symbol of the complete rejection of "Trumpism", first of all destroyed the US-Saudi relations. He accused Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of killing Kashoggi (Hashukji), stopped (official) support for the actions of the KSA and the Saudi coalition in Yemen, froze arms contracts with Riyadh, withdrew air defense systems from the kingdom.
And most importantly, he took a course to restore the "nuclear deal" with Iran terminated by Trump. It can be assumed that this was done within the framework of the strategy that was proposed Henry Kissinger: to turn Iran from the number one enemy into a "responsible" participant in the Middle East balance of power.
It is not surprising that the Saudis did not like it, and as a result, Saudi-American relations turned out to be in the worst state in history. In the face of Washington's inconsistency and incompetence, Riyadh began to establish its own ties with Tehran on its own, in fact, engaging in work to form a dynamic balance of power in the region. Relations with Moscow, and especially with Beijing, are consistently strengthening.
All this has become a clear sign of Washington's loss of control over the development of the regional situation. This circumstance has become even more obvious, and most importantly – unacceptable – in the new global conditions set by the Ukrainian crisis. America urgently needed allies in the Middle East, and the allies are disciplined, ready to follow orders coming from the White House.
Actually, the American diplomacy was engaged in the urgent formation of such a group of allies. So, in March, a conference was organized with the participation of the foreign ministers of the United States, Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Morocco. And it is quite likely that Washington then discovered that it had no new proposals, no new prospects with which it could captivate the Arabs, or rather, the KSA. He has only Kissinger's "regional dynamic equilibrium" plan and the "Abraham agreement" in stock. But the first one is morally outdated in conditions when discipline is needed. And the second ones are outdated, like the "Trump legacy".
Nevertheless, the bet, apparently, was made on "Abraham": information appeared in the press that Biden was preparing another "historic deal" with the participation of Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Cairo. Its subject is the transfer of two islets (Tyran and Sanafir) at the exit from the Gulf of Aqaba into the Red Sea under the sovereignty of the KSA, which requires the consent of Israel and Egypt. And the meaning of the deal is the recognition of the Jewish state by the Custodian of the Two Shrines of Islam.
In addition, a new conference was planned, this time at the top, between the United States, Israel and nine Arab countries: the six GCC, plus Jordan, Iraq, Egypt.
If successful, it could be a truly impressive victory for American diplomacy.
But it did not take place. At least it's postponed. And, frankly, there is no serious reason to believe that it will take place.
Firstly, because according to the Tyrant and Sanafir, even in Israel they hinted to the Americans not to fuss. Like, we'll figure it out ourselves, we have enough competencies for this, and you're just muddying the water.
And secondly, the expansion of the "Abraham agreements" to the KSA now seems almost impossible. The fact is that for Tehran, this will be evidence of Riyadh's refusal to normalize relations with Iran and will give the Iranians carte blanche to deploy anti-Saudi, anti-American, anti-Israeli activity on all fronts.
Riyadh has already moved too far towards establishing a dialogue with Tehran. You can turn back, but the price is unlikely to be acceptable. We will have to destroy the unspoken agreements already reached on Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon. But the KSA depends much more on the situation in these areas than on the state (quite stable and predictable) of its relations with Israel or even on relations with the United States (which are so impulsive and treacherous and which, as it turned out, can be replaced – in part – by China).
The threats that Saudi Arabia may face if it agrees to "Abraham" can be judged by the following facts. The Iraqi Parliament has passed a law according to which recognition of Israel is punishable by life imprisonment or death penalty. It was initiated by Muqtada al-Sadr, the main Iranian protege in Baghdad, and adopted unanimously (!) – despite the fact that the deputies have not been able to form a government and elect a president for the eighth month. Such unanimity indicates that Iran (through al-Sadr and its other clients) is in full control of the situation in Iraq. So any wrong move on the part of Riyadh will lead to an explosion.
A similar law is now being prepared for adoption by the Houthi parliament in Yemen. This means that the accession of the KSA to the "Abraham agreements" will blow up the truce here as well.
The situation is about the same in Lebanon. The "anti-Abrahamic" law is not being discussed there yet, but the pro-Iranian Hezbollah is capable of blowing up this country as well.
To complete the picture: the Government of Oman made a sharp and unequivocal condemnation of the "Abraham agreements". It is curious that this happened literally in the wake of the visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Muscat.
All this means that for Saudi Arabia, any steps towards the US demands to normalize relations with Israel are associated with huge and unjustified risks. Washington is not able to stop them.
That is why it seems extremely unlikely that Biden's Middle East venture will succeed. After all, without the participation of the KSA, it will simply be emasculated.
Against this background, the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to the Gulf, who visited Bahrain and the KSA, where he participated in the fifth session of the Russian Federation–GCC strategic dialogue at the ministerial level, looks very remarkable. Judging by the stinginess of comments on these negotiations, they did not achieve any "breakthroughs". Yes, they were hardly planned.
The main thing is that we managed to prevent a "break", that is, to preserve the relations themselves and the positive dynamics of their development. And with "breakthroughs" it is not worth rushing. We need to give Americans time to get even more confused and lose even more.