Joe Biden’s victory is hailed as a change of direction for the United States in the Middle East. But for ordinary people across the region, it means continued suffering under the control of the US and its repressive allies.
Biden has said that he will return to a deal cut with Iran by former US president Barack Obama. And he has said he supports a state for Palestinians—in contrast to Donald Trump’s plan to hand vast swathes of Palestinian land to Israel.
Biden has even pledged to make US ally Saudi Arabia a “pariah” for the state’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
But behind all this, he shares the same goal as Trump—to keep control of the Middle East using as few US soldiers as possible.
Following the disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003, US presidents have looked for ways to control the region while focusing their military against China.
But the growth of US rival Iran, Islamist groups such as Isis, revolutions, counter-revolutions and wars made that difficult.
When Trump became president he imposed new sanctions on Iran and tried to unite the US’s allies in the country.
So he allowed Israel to officially claim vast chunks of Palestinian land then called it a “peace” deal. This was meant to help Israel and rulers of Arab states work together much more closely.
Rulers of the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan have all announced ties with Israel—and a deal with Saudi Arabia is in the works.
But some of the ruling class in the West are worried that a war with Iran would wreck their control over the Middle East and threaten their interests.
Western rulers have also relied on the myth of the two-state solution—false promises of a state of Palestine alongside Israel—to control Palestinians.
Trump’s deal exposed those promises as a sham. Biden’s victory has resurrected them.
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Biden’s victory and said he hoped they could restart negotiations as if Trump’s deal had never happened.
But Biden has said he would not reverse Trump’s decision to move the US’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Trump declared the city was Israel’s “undivided” capital in 2016—an affront to Palestinians under occupation there.
Israel’s prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu welcomed Biden as a “great friend to Israel.”
Biden says he is still a “stalwart supporter of Israel,” and that he would never cut off US support to Israel in support of Palestinians.
A return to “stability” under Biden means the continuation of decades of wars and poverty under US control