US bombers flew over the Persian Gulf—close to Iran—last week, while American soldiers are to be sent to new bases in preparation for war.
In a statement last Wednesday top US military commanders commented on this flight—the first since Joe Biden became president.
It was meant to show “the US military’s ability to deploy air power anywhere in the world to deter potential aggression”.
In other words it was a show of force—a threat against Iran.
The flyover came as Biden said he would not end harsh sanctions against Iran—which cause misery for ordinary Iranians—imposed by Donald Trump.
In the same week, the Wall Street Journal newspaper reported that the US is using new military bases in Saudi Arabia.
The bases—developed for the US by Saudi Arabia—can be used if fighting with Iran broke out.
When Biden ran for US president, he said he wanted to return to a “deal” with Iran signed under Barack Obama.
It was hailed as a break from Donald Trump, who scrapped the deal, imposed new sanctions and threatened war repeatedly.
But Biden has shown that there won’t be any return to the deal unless Iran submits to the US’s control of the Middle East.
Under Obama’s deal, the US agreed to end sanctions against Iran if it promised measures designed to stop it from developing nuclear weapons.
After the US’s disastrous war on Iraq, Iran had become more powerful in the Middle East—and a threat to US interests.
The deal was supposed to limit Iran’s power. Instead Iran’s influence grew across the Middle East as the US relied on it to defeat Isis in Iraq and Syria.
When Trump became president he imposed new sanctions on Iran and threatened war repeatedly. He wanted to unite the US’s allies against Iran.
It seemed to work as the UAE signed a deal with the US’s most important ally in the Middle East, Israel.
But not all of the ruling class in the West agreed. They worried that a war with Iran would further wreck their control of the Middle East. Biden promised them a return to “stability”.
But that doesn’t mean a rejection of what Trump did—or safety for ordinary people in the Middle East.
Biden wants to build on the military alliances made under Trump between Israel and Arab states.
And his secretary of state Antony Blinken said last week sanctions wouldn’t be lifted until at least June—and only then if Iran agrees to the US’s demands.
Biden talks about a return to normality.
In the Middle East that means the US enforcing its will through sanctions, threats and war.
In that case, Biden is not much different to Trump.
Anti-racists promise, ‘They are going to see us on the streets’
Protests have begun against Joe Biden. He is being held to account for his immigration plans.
Around 200 Antifa protesters clashed with police in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday.
They damaged an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Centre (ICE) and the Democrat party headquarters.
They held a banner reading, ‘‘We don’t want Biden—We want revenge.”
Activists are right to be sceptical of Biden’s promises to reform the US immigration system.
He is trying to bring immigration policy back to what it was when he was vice president under Barack Obama.
But Obama’s two terms as president meant horror and suffering for immigrants. They left families separated and children in federal detention centres.
For many, Obama will be known as the “deporter in chief” who expelled over three million people during his time in the White House.
Immigrant rights activist Erika Andiola said, “If the administration and the president return to practices from the Obama era, they’re definitely going to see us in the streets.”
On the day of his inauguration Biden signed a number of executive orders to uproot some of the racist immigration policy brought in by Donald Trump.
They included stopping the ban on travel from Muslim majority countries and reinstating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme.
Biden plans to implement an eight year “path to citizenship” for immigrants already living in the US and wants to halt deportations for 100 days.
He has said he will create a task force to reunite families that were separated by the Trump administration.
But he has made no indication that he’ll reunite families separated while he was vice president.
Naureen Shah from the American Civil Liberties Union said, “Biden can’t just reverse President Donald Trump’s decisions, or label deportations under President Barack Obama a ‘big mistake.’
“He must repair the harm that was done when he was vice president, which left communities fractured and financially devastated.”
And Biden looks to be continuing to enforce tough controls at the US border with Mexico despite stating he will end construction of Trump’s wall.
This month thousands of migrants from central America trekked towards the Mexico border in an attempt to cross into the US.
One of those taking the journey told the press, “We can’t go back. Back home we’re dying of hunger.”
In response, the US ambassador to Guatemala said that “there is a renewed effort to keep the border safe during the Covid-19 emergency under Biden”.
“Any migrants who cross the US border irregularly will be returned immediately as a matter of national health security,” he added.
A federal judge blocked Biden’s proposed freeze on deportations for 14 days on Wednesday of last week.
Some of his immigration plans are already falling flat.