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Bad U.S. Policy Has Enabled the Current Chaos in the Middle East (Heritage Foundation)

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Bad U.S. Policy Has Enabled the Current Chaos in the Middle East – By Brent Sadler and Nicole Robinson (Heritage Foundation) / May 9, 2024

The Middle East is aflame because of the Biden Administration’s poor policy choices. The United States must be strategic to avoid falling into another Middle East conflict. The Houthi threat in the Red Sea is a symptom of a larger problem with Iran, and to address this threat, the United States must embrace its Arab and Israeli partners to isolate Iran. Greater sanctions pressure and weapons interdiction are short-term solutions, but in the long term, America must work to strengthen the Abraham Accords in a way that creates more burden-sharing among Arab partners to address the Iranian threat so that the United States can focus on China.

  • A series of poor policy choices by the Biden Administration has set in motion the chaos that is unfolding in the Middle East today.
  • The United States needs to embrace its Arab and Israeli partners and employ greater sanctions pressure and weapons interdiction to isolate Iran.
  • America must work to strengthen the Abraham Accords to create more burden-sharing among Arab partners so that the United States can focus on China.

Iran’s proxy Hamas initiated a war against Israel on October 7, 2023, unleashing region-wide violence. Until Iran’s massive, coordinated drone and missile attacks on Israel on April 14, 2024, the Iran-backed Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping had been the most urgent problem for the U.S. and its allies. Between mid-November 2023 and March 2024, the Houthis carried out more than 60 attacks on commercial shipping and warships—most of which missed their target. Increasingly, however, Houthi attacks are becoming more successful.

On February 19, U.S. Central Command confirmed that two Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles struck and severely damaged a Belize-flagged, British-registered, and Lebanese managed vessel. The most recent seizure of Portuguese-flagged container ship MSC Aries on April 13 by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) near the Strait of Hormuz increased Iran’s pressure on the United States and Israel by disrupting trade through the Strait of Hormuz. After several months of U.S. and British airstrikes, the Houthis have been unrelenting in their attacks, and with renewed concerns of a closure in the Strait of Hormuz, the costs to global trade are mounting.

Acting in concert with Iran’s wider regional interests, the Houthis’ ongoing provocations aim to disrupt international trade, threaten global supply chains, and worsen historically high global inflation—economic pressures that will only drive up prices for everyday Americans. The Houthis hope that these economic pressures will incentivize America to cease support for Israel. Meanwhile, U.S. adversaries, notably China and Russia, are not subject to intentional Houthi attacks and may actually gain an advantage by their free passage through the Red Sea and Suez Canal.

CONTINUE > https://www.heritage.org/middle-east/report/bad-us-policy-has-enabled-the-current-chaos-the-middle-east