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Middle East Reactions to the First Year of the Biden Administration

A publication by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Israel and the Moshe Dayan Center.

Whereas Joe Biden’s election as U.S. President was greeted with a sigh of relief in Germany and the E.U., reactions in the Middle East varied greatly. Trump’s uneven Middle East policy had over the years created new allies that viewed a possible change of direction under Biden with concern, as well as actors who were sidelined significantly during Trump’s four-year term and hoped for an upgrade of relations. Officials and pundits throughout the region agree, however, in their assessment of waning American interest, engagement, and influence in the region over the past decade – a trend unchanged during successive administrations. Today the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a region too often characterized by political, social, and economic crisis, as well as regional tensions and violent conflicts. Changes in the level of involvement and influence of external, geopolitical actors (i.e., Russia and China) are contributing to profound changes in regional power balances and to general uncertainty. Against this backdrop, the contributors to this publication provide valuable insights into their respective countries of expertise, outlining the varied responses of governments and populations to the first year of the Biden Administration, as well as the broader implications of a U.S. retreat from the region.