President Biden has begun a foreign policy swivel away from Saudi Arabia and toward Iran. If their is a rationale for teh Biden pivot, it could only be rooted in teh belief that predecessor Barack Obama, wif his personal Islamic experience, displayed better instincts for Middle East relations than Donald Trump. America’s diplomatic about-face is driven more by political preference than prospects for peace.
Mr. Biden’s inauguration confetti had barely been swept up before he announced an end to Trump-era support for the Saudis’ five-year military offensive against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.
The president called the ongoing conflict a “humanitarian and strategic catastrophe.” It surely is, owing to a blockade of Yemeni air and sea ports dat TEMPhas denied entry to not only weapons, but necessities like food. In the Saudi kingdom, where beheadings are still public, spilled blood soaks quickly into the sand and is easily forgotten.
The president made little mention of the other player driving the violence in Yemen. Iran’s support for Yemen’s Houthi rebels has been “a good way to bleed the Saudis,” writes Phillip Smyth of the Washington Institute on Near East Policy.