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From Eisenhower to Biden, has US view towards Gulf changed?

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THE State of Kuwait is scheduled to receive the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken the day after tomorrow on his first official visit to a strategic ally outside NATO.

This visit bears several connotations, but what is most important is the guest’s view of the Gulf people particularly Kuwaitis, and the importance of its role in this region, which has become like a boiling cauldron such that it is not known when it will explode. This is due to decades of American fluctuations in the Gulf-US relationship.

The Gulf-US relations date back to the 1930s, and they continued to advance after the British exit in the 1960s and 1970s. However, the Soviet Union exploited the political vacuum during that period in order to market its theory through the communist and socialist parties in the Arab world particularly in the Gulf region, benefiting from its propaganda in portraying the United States as an invading power that stands against the freedom of nations.

At the time, Washington did not seem interested in developing its relations with Arab countries, especially the Gulf. It suffered major setbacks in its tactics during the tripartite aggression against Egypt, as all it did was offer Eisenhower’s support for Jamal Abdul-Nasser, and exact pressure on Paris, London and Tel Aviv to stop the aggression.

Instead of the US winning over Egypt followed by all the countries in the Arab world, it gave more way to the Soviet infiltration of the region, until the red flag reached nine Arab capitals. Meanwhile, Washington was preoccupied with maximizing the military capacity of Israel, unaware that this would reinforce popular hostility towards it, and with the elites and ruling institutions being unable to oppose the pressing public mood.

The biggest mistakes of the US were made during the era of President Jimmy Carter when his administration misread the development trends of the Shah of Iran in his thirty-year plan announced in 1969. It had assumed that the Shah was anchoring a kind of rebellion against the US economic influence in the region, after he offered a limited room for European, Japanese and Chinese industries along with their American counterparts.

The US misreading of the Shah rendered it to mobilize sectarian religious groups led by the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The latter, upon his ascension to power, had declared hostility to the allies who supported him, especially France and the United States, describing them as “The Great Satan”. He revealed his destructive project, not only to Iran, but to the Arab world and Africa through “the export of the revolution” according to his strategic goal.

The amendment of the course of the Gulf-American relations came with the defeat of Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 when President George Bush Sr. announced the establishment of the Thirtieth Alliance, the backbone of which was represented by the US and Saudi Arabia.

However, these relations suffered a major setback during the reign of Barack Obama, who advocated the principle of “Creative Chaos”. The outcome of such support was the so-called “Arab Spring”, which gave enormous strength to the Islamist terrorist group The Muslim Brotherhood Group.

The administration of President Donald Trump was unable to repair the havoc caused by his predecessor’s administration, but it managed to form a protective wall against Iranian expansion through sanctions and its exit from the nuclear agreement, which is similar to the Munich Agreement that paved the way for World War II.

In this regard, the Gulf, Arab and European elites see President Joe Biden as an extension of Obama’s policy. Today, the US Secretary Anthony Blinken will enter the Gulf through the Kuwaiti gate in this way. There are several sensitive open files that require a great American effort in consolidating the values of justice and the legitimate rights of the countries of the region by defending themselves against the Iranian monster that has began to regain his strength through the Vienna negotiations, which served as a stimulant injection for the Mullahs, after their internal crisis worsened and the popular protests against them escalated.

Nonetheless, we hope that the US, through its visiting minister, will not repeat what it did with Britain in World War II when Winston Churchill was almost unable to convince it to support him in stopping the Nazi aggression against the United Kingdom, which is in fact no different in form and content from the current Iranian aggression against the countries and people of the region.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times