Blinken to expand Middle East tour to include Morocco and Saudi Arabia

Blinken to expand Middle East tour to include Morocco and Saudi Arabia

The upcoming diplomatic mission of the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit  Saudi Arabia and Morocco, in addition to his previously announced trips to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, in the third week of October, reported i24News.

This strategic journey is aligned with Washington’s commitment to strengthen relations between Jerusalem and Riyadh, building upon the landmark Abraham Accords that paved the way for normalization between Israel and several other nations, including Morocco.

Speculation had spread within Israeli media circles, with outlets such as Channel 13 and Kan Public Broadcaster previously hinting at Blinken’s potential visit to the Middle East.

Towards the end of September, John Kirby, the spokesperson for the U.S. National Security Council revealed significant progress in the normalization talks. 

In an incident that piqued international interest back in August, an emergency landing by Air Seychelles led to a historic direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel. This event was interpreted as a step forward in the normalization process.

Recent weeks have witnessed a shift in the diplomatic landscape, as Israeli officials have openly embarked on journeys to Saudi Arabia. This journey started with the visit of Israeli Tourism Minister Haim Katz in September while the Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi led a delegation to an international conference hosted in Riyadh on October 2.

Morocco had agreed to normalize its relations with Israel as part of a deal brokered by the United States. This made Morocco the fourth Arab nation to take this step within a short period.

The U.S. officially recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Sahara territory and reiterated its backing for Morocco’s proposal to provide limited self-governance to the Sahrawi population within the framework of Moroccan control.

While the Biden administration supported the Israel-Morocco peace agreement, it appears frustrated with the inherited Sahara policy. But a reversal of this decision could damage relations with Morocco and worsen the credibility gap with Middle Eastern allies.

It might also erode Riyadh’s trust in the U.S. just as the kingdom seeks security guarantees for peace with Israel. 

While Algeria is a significant U.S. partner, it doesn’t match Morocco in reliability as a non-NATO partnership. 

Morocco heavily relies on U.S. weapons and maintains a close relationship with Washington, while Algeria purchases most of its weapons from Russia and considers China its top ally and opposes Israel’s regional integration. 

As the Biden administration considers new security commitments in the region, it must uphold existing promises.


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