The Biden administration is reportedly poised to introduce a comprehensive Middle East strategy, described as a “Biden Doctrine” by New York Times opinion writer Thomas Friedman. This strategy centers on a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, emphasizing a heightened security alliance with Saudi Arabia. A key component involves a robust stance on Iran, including military retaliation against its proxies in the region.
Friedman suggests that the Biden Doctrine would feature an unprecedented U.S. diplomatic initiative to facilitate the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This recognition would be contingent on Palestinians developing credible institutions and security capabilities. The initiative is seen as a response to a reevaluation prompted by Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7, compelling the U.S. to rethink its approach to the region.
The opinion piece implies a shift in perspective within the Biden administration, attributing part of Iran’s regional influence to Israel. Friedman argues that the U.S. needs to move away from allowing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to influence policy and instead focus on building a legitimate Palestinian Authority capable of governing Gaza and the West Bank effectively.
Furthermore, the article asserts that Israel is facing challenges on multiple fronts, including a perceived loss in the narrative war over Gaza. Despite acts committed by Hamas, Israel has faced international scrutiny for civilian casualties during operations in Gaza. The “Biden Doctrine” is seen as a potential force for change in the Middle East, aiming to deter Iran both militarily and politically, while simultaneously promoting Palestinian statehood and fostering normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.