U.S. President Joe Biden, who came into office seeking to do “less not more” in the Middle East, is increasingly using the focus on China as an excuse to again do more in the region. But using the “great power competition” frame to justify and shape U.S. engagement in the Middle East is unrealistic and likely counterproductive.
The latest conflict in the Gaza Strip has put the international spotlight on the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or PIJ, the second-largest militant group in Gaza after Hamas. Despite the group’s losses in the fighting, the PIJ may have emerged politically strengthened and with its credibility as a resistance movement enhanced.
In the wake of Joe Biden’s Middle East visit in mid-July, some U.S. officials suggested that critics of the trip should reserve judgement until they see the “deliverables” agreed upon by the regional leaders Biden met with. Hopefully many such deliverables do materialize, beginning with reviving the multilateral Iran nuclear deal.