How strong are the ties between the US and the Middle East?

How strong are the ties between the US and the Middle East?


On May 14, 1948, the United States first recognized the State of Israel. Both countries see themselves as ‘pioneers’, people who founded a state from nothing. “Absolutely false,” said Erwin van Veen van Klinkendael, referring to the fate of Indians and Palestinians.

For defense, Israel receives nearly $4 billion annually from the United States. Through this, the Americans are helping Israel to establish military dominance in the region. That goal is divided into one Long term contract From 2018 onwards. Israel uses that money to buy American weapons, including missile defenses.

Usually, it’s a close relationship, says van Veen. If there is any criticism of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, it usually comes from Democrats. Even then, concrete results are often not forthcoming.

Van Veen now sees this loyalist approach in the American response to the war between Israel and Hamas. Biden immediately sends aircraft carriers. “In effect he is saying: Israel, do what you will,” Van Veen said. “Only when things threaten to get out of hand does the United States consider the humanitarian dimension and possible geopolitical consequences, such as disruption of relations with Arab partners or regional conflict.”


The relationship between the United States and Jordan is decades old. Partly through US mediation, Jordan became the second Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1994. Jordan played an important role for the United States War on Terror, for example, when receiving information, says Vanessa Newby of Leiden University. In return, the Jordanian royal family gained credibility.

Trade between the two countries is not that great, unless it is arms trade: Jordan’s army is equipped with a lot of American equipment.

Especially in recent years, the relationship between the United States and Jordan has been hit and miss. The US tolerated the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu. This was in addition to several incidents such as raids by Israeli police at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. According to Jordan, the United States has never condemned this sufficiently. It is extra special because Jordanian King Abdullah is the patron of the mosque.

As many Palestinian refugees live in Jordan, Israel’s handling of the Palestinians is a sensitive issue for the Jordanian royal family. King Abdullah cannot appear ‘friendly to Israel’ so as not to turn the people against him.

Saudi Arabia

Relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia have expanded since 2011. It was the result of the Arab Spring, in which the dictatorial leaders and allies of the Americans were forced out of the field by popular uprisings. In the eyes of the Saudi royal family, the United States has not proven itself to be a loyal partner to those leaders.

And there is another sore point. Under Barack Obama, the United States shifted its focus to Asia as China emerged as a new strategic competitor. Saudi Arabia has been highly critical of this, especially since the US, under Trump, did not intervene after the Iranian attack on oil installations. The murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul further strained the relationship.

As a result, Saudi Arabia has also expanded its diplomatic ties by increasing cooperation with China. This year, under China’s leadership, it has also worked to normalize relations with Iran, which has been at odds with Saudi Arabia for some time. Saudi Arabia is showing the US that it too has alternatives.

More recently, the United States has sought to normalize relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel, following agreements between Israel and several smaller Gulf states. Saudi Arabia imposed a condition that the Palestinians find a settlement in Israel, while the US (and Israel) wanted it out of the deal. Saudi Arabia has suspended negotiations because of the war.

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