Finally, Donald Trump has accepted that the formal transition process for Joe Biden’s administration needs to move forward, but says he will continue to fight to overturn the election result.

Most would get the impression that Trump actually believes he may overturn the election result that most world leaders accept. It is also clear that there are many around the President who are supporting his incredible stance and carrying on “business as usual”. Hence the visit of the US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to the Middle East this week, meeting with Netanyahu and other leaders in the Gulf States, as if the current US administration will be directing the traffic after January 20, 2021. But these may just be final steps to shore up support for the future.

Again, AIJAC brought us the most interesting webinar today featuring Mark Dubowitz. His topic was “The Biden Administration and the Challenge of Rogue Iran”. Mark is the CEO of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, a non-profit think tank that advocates for hawkish foreign policy. His presentation can be found on You Tube under AIJAC.

He is quoted as saying “Nonetheless, Biden’s early signals show that, for now at least, he is charting a centrist course. And if his choices for national security positions are disappointing for his party’s progressives, they are sure to be reassuring to his country’s allies” www.bloomberg.com

This comment reflects Biden’s choice of Antony Blinken as Secretary of State and Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, indicating that his national security cabinet will be more centrist than the left of his party would like.

Last month, Blinken told the Jewish Insider that even if Biden suspends nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, “we will continue non-nuclear sanctions as a strong hedge against Iranian misbehavior in other areas”. (Bloomberg) This could continue to have serious consequences for the Iranian economy through the ongoing financial pressure applied initially by Trump in ramping up sanctions for Iran’s support of terrorism.

Interestingly Mark Dubowitz commented in relation to Iran and the JCPOA or the Iran Nuclear Deal of 2015  that the deal was basically flawed as the restrictions were to be reduced over time and would ultimately leave Iran with a massive nuclear program and the money to finance it. Iran just had to be patient.

He also suggested that Mossad found Iran had planned a systematic nuclear weapons program not dealt with under the JCPOA. This may well have been the trigger for the United States to withdraw from the deal under Trump and put back sanctions. This has led to the collapsing of the Iran economy and civilian unrest with accusations of economic mismanagement by the regime.

In the meantime other Gulf countries may well move to normalise ties with Israel and create a wall against Iran. All this while the Palestinians realise their bargaining power is diminishing under the Abraham Accords and are giving signs of wishing to negotiate with Israel and the Biden administration.

ARZA President, Helen Shardey

ARZA President, Helen Shardey