The US defense secretary has faced tough questions about how some countries should handle them as US national security policy turns against itself with each new US president, according to a report in the New York Times.
And Helen Cooper, the newspaper’s delegate to the Bahraini capital, Manama, quoted Defense Minister Lloyd Austin as saying on Saturday that he had heard “a lot of concern” about the fluctuations of his country’s Middle East policy.
Cooper reported – in a report Her – that the administration of US President Joe Biden is trying to convince its Arab allies that the United States, despite appearances that indicate the opposite, is not tired of the region and has not decided to leave it.
Austin is trying – according to the delegate – to reassure his Arab allies about the US national security policy, especially since some of them have begun to fidget and express resentment and frustration after they feel that they have been left in the middle of the road facing their potential enemies.
As an example, the writer says that the UAE has taken steps to de-escalate tensions with Iran, after years of back-and-forth.
The author pointed out that the turbulent American withdrawal from Afghanistan in August after 20 years, the announced withdrawal of American combat forces from Iraq by the end of this year, and the Biden administration’s recent exaggeration of China as its largest and most dangerous national security priority, all combined to leave officials in the Middle East feeling feeling neglected.
“Now that Washington is racing against time to withdraw its combat forces from Iraq, and with its withdrawal from Afghanistan, there are many concerns,” Farhad Alaeddin, head of the Iraqi Consultative Council Research Center, was quoted in this regard as saying.
“Your partners in the theater of operations are concerned, and some of them have begun to look for cover,” Aladdin said – during a question-and-answer session yesterday, Saturday, at the International Institute for Strategic Studies conference in Manama, as he addressed Austin.
However, Austin stressed that his country will remain involved in the Middle East, referring to what he described as a lot of concern he hears, explaining that Washington will not abandon its interests.
The US Secretary of Defense said that his country would remain committed to seeking a diplomatic solution to the issue of Iran’s nuclear program, adding that “if Iran is not willing to engage seriously, we will consider all options necessary to maintain the security of the United States.”
However, the writer commented that these options are limited, explaining that former President Donald Trump – with his known recklessness – did not dare to attack Iran for fear of engaging his country in another long war in the region.
Cooper quoted Brian Katulis, vice president of political affairs at the Middle East Institute, as describing the Biden administration’s policy in the region as “stepping on water”; Warning that it may be the source of inherent problems.
“In a turbulent region, the seas can become rough and the waves can irritate at any moment, making it impossible for a person to stay on his feet,” the writer concluded with a phrase from Katulis.