Nothing better illustrates the dramatic decline in American influence in the Middle East than the fruitless efforts by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to defuse tensions in the Middle East over the Gaza crisis.
There was a time not so long ago when the mere sight of America’s leading diplomat arriving in the region was sufficient to persuade the ruling authorities to listen carefully to Washington’s demands, even if they were not always fully complied with.
Henry Kissinger’s exhausting shuttle diplomacy in the wake of the 1973 Yom Kippur War ultimately resulted in the Camp David Accords that ratified the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, while the Clinton administration’s commitment to the peace process laid the ground for the Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians.
Even the unpredictable presidency of Donald Trump managed to gain a degree of credibility in the region through his uncompromising approach to destroying Islamic State, his decision to withdraw US involvement in the controversial Iran nuclear deal and his role in brokering the Abraham Accords, which resulted in the normalisation of relations between Israel and several Arab states.
By contrast, the Biden administration’s wilful neglect of its traditional allies in pursuit of reviving the nuclear deal with Iran is now coming back to haunt the White House, with a succession of regional leaders demonstrating their unwillingness to comply with Washington’s wishes.