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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchChallenges to Biden’s Human Rights Agenda in the Middle East

Challenges to Biden’s Human Rights Agenda in the Middle East

Author: Khalil Al-Anani

Affiliation/Organization: Arab Center Washington DC; Doha Institute for Graduate Studies

Date/Place: Mar 9, 2021/Washington DC, USA

Type of Literature: Article 

Word Count: 2238

Link: https://arabcenterdc.org/resource/challenges-to-bidens-human-rights-agenda-in-the-middle-east/ 

Keywords: Human Rights, United States, Middle East, Biden, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Political Prisoners

 

Brief:

The author discusses that after the Arab Spring, authoritarian regimes in the Middle East have worked against political movements and human rights defenders; and that the international community has failed. Egypt has turned into a massive prison with no chance for freedom of speech or anything spoken against the government. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Yemen, and Libya have also done the same with their people, forcefully stopping spoken thoughts. Israel has continued with its killing and imprisoning Palestinians for defending their own lands, all the while eliminating people and institutions for defending human rights. The author mentions the tragedy of Egypt and its prisoners, and how the Egyptian government declines the requests of groups like Amnesty International for the lives of the political prisoners. The same is happening in Saudi Arabia, with no mercy to be found even after the covid-19 pandemic. In Syria, prisoners are tortured to death. The UAE has also become a very scary place for any word against its regime and rulers. Prisoners’ rights has been used as a negotiation card with Western states like the United States, to benefit from having longer time with Biden’s government to clear black records of human rights. The author mentions how the US has ignored or even opposed human rights, as in the case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi and how Trump protected bin Salman. Biden faces a lot of challenges in protecting democracy and human rights in the ME. First, Biden’s administration will not risk its relationships with the Middle Eastern states because of human rights. Second, Washington has concerns around pushing its allies in the ME about human rights and democracy, claiming it will lead to insecurity in the area. Third, Biden is trying to stay away from involvement with the revolutionary and anti-revolutionary movements because any action from the US can threaten its relations with allies. Fourth, regimes in the ME will continue pressuring the US to let them go on “protecting” the human rights in their own regions, in their own way. The author suggests that the US can put pressure on the Middle East’s dictators, directly or indirectly, to release their prisoners and conform to human rights; and, to take actual action against Israel for its illegal occupation and crimes against Palestine. If Biden’s government takes the side of democracy, it can help in ending the ME misery it has been enabling. 

 

By: Sohaila Osama Oraby, CIGA Research Intern

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