Biden's First Call to an Arab Leader Just Broke a Decades-Old Tradition and It Says a Lot

Published November 24th, 2020 - 08:14 GMT
Biden's First Call to an Arab Leader Just Broke a Decades-Old Tradition and It Says a Lot
Some comments also wondered if Biden's call to Jordan included a request of intelligence related to the Middle East. (Al Bawaba)

About two weeks after he was projected as the winner of the US presidential elections, Joe Biden has made his first call to an Arab leader as he prepares his cabinet, calling the King of Jordan Abdullah II, which breaks a decades-long tradition of calling Egyptian leaders.

The call which has been announced by the Jordanian Royal Court is the first between the American president-elect and an Arab leader, even though Biden and many other Arab heads of states had exchanged congratulatory messages after his win, but not through phone calls yet.

According to the JRC statement on Monday, Biden and the Jordanian King discussed mutual relations and what they described as the "strategic partnership" in terms of regional security and stability. The two leaders have been reported to have discussed efforts to counter COVID19 and the situation with regards to refugees hosted in Jordan over the last several years.

However, the news of the phone call sparked many questions over Biden's foreign policy towards the Middle East, particularly as many online commentators noted that the call with King Abdullah II breaks a decades-long tradition of calling Egyptian leaders first, or making their first visits to either Egypt or Saudi Arabia, two of the largest Arab countries.

Reflecting on the news of the phone call, many tweets suggested a shift in US policies under the future Biden administration, especially as it comes after four years of full support from President Trump to leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, despite immense human rights violations.

Additionally, many social media users argued that Biden's call to Jordan expresses interest in restoring relations with leaders who have been relatively "abandoned" by the Trump administration, particularly ones who voiced out rejection of Trump's decisions concerning the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, especially his 2017 decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital, a move that had greatly angered Jordan, the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in the city.

Some comments also wondered if Biden's call to Jordan included a request of intelligence related to the Middle East, especially that the Biden transition team continues to face closed doors when it comes to crucial information blocked by the Trump administration.


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