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The Biden administration has announced that the President will take his first trip to the Middle East as president. His first stop will be in Israel to meet with Israeli leaders and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, before heading to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where he will meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The U.S.-Saudi relationship began nearly eight decades ago between FDR and King Ibn Saud. With varying degrees of tumult, the relationship has survived – and sometimes thrived – through 14 U.S. presidencies.
Has all that now changed? Has there been a sense in Riyadh – and across the Middle East – that the U.S. (through recent Democratic and Republican administrations) is downgrading its focus in the Middle East.
Is there a risk that China gradually replaces the U.S. as the most important geopolitical partner of Saudi Arabia?
And will Saudi Arabia join the Abraham Accords? And, could President Biden engineer it and win the Nobel Peace Prize?
Former Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer served as Israel’s chief envoy to the U.S. from 2013 to 2021 – working with three U.S. administrations.
He was one of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s closest advisers and played a key role in what led to the U.S. relocation of our embassy to Jerusalem, U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, implementation of the maximum pressure campaign against Iran, and the historic breakthrough that led to the Abraham Accords. He’s a graduate of the Wharton School and completed a degree at Oxford.
Ambassador Dermer and I had this conversation a few days ago at the Jewish Leadership Conference (https://www.jewishleadershipconference.org/), which is sponsored by The Tikvah Fund (https://tikvahfund.org/).
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