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.
His Majesty King Abdullah II, in a phone call with #US President-elect Joe Biden, expresses keenness to continue bolstering the strategic partnership between the two countries to expand cooperation, in service of mutual interests and regional security and stability #Jordan ????— RHC (@RHCJO) November 23, 2020
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.
The Gulf States are now quickly embracing Israel as a regional ally for solidarity against Iran, since Biden has made clear that he will pursue renewed nuclear talks with Tehran. The Saudi King was unconventionally late in calling Biden to congratulate him AND MBS reportedly met— Vivian Salama (@vmsalama) November 23, 2020
Left: The "readout" (official summary) of the Biden/Jordan King call from the Jordanian side. Right: From Biden transition team. Some interesting differences. pic.twitter.com/LWqZnggp1k— Olivier Knox (@OKnox) November 23, 2020
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.
Since Jordan is one of our strongest intelligence partners, perhaps King Abdullah can read PE Biden in on the latest intel since the Trump administration is refusing. https://t.co/1zScvHdsLO— Yashar Ali ? (@yashar) November 23, 2020
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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