After four days of vote-counting, Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris crossed the 270 electoral college vote mark and won the 2020 U.S. elections. According to the Associated Press, Biden has over 75 million vote counts breaking Obama’s record for most votes ever casted for a U.S. presidential candidate. Joe Biden who was Obama’s running mate in the 2008 and 2012 elections is expected to expand on the Obama-era policies in the Middle East. But during these times ties between Egypt and the United States were not at a high mark. This article explores what Joe Biden’s win means for Egypt and the Middle East.
BIDEN’S POLICIES IN THE MIDDLE EAST
During Biden’s campaign, the president-elect discussed his Middle East policy priorities. Biden’s political strategy can be summarized as: “Stop and reverse. Restore and expand.”
Restore Bilateral and International Treaties
Biden intends to reenter the The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known also as the Iran nuclear deal, and to pursue diplomacy with Tehran on wider issues. The United Kingdom, France, and Germany are expected to support this approach.
Syria and countering ISIS
Biden’s team has said little on the issue other than that he will not withdraw from Syria. The Democratic president-elect believes the U.S. should keep a small force in the Middle East to counter terrorism.
Continuing SUPPORt to ISRAEL
Similar to Trump, Biden is a strong supporter of Israel. The president-elect has backed a two-state solution in the long conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Biden also stood by the normalization agreements Israel has made with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. This indicates that he might continue US policy that helps Israel secure more recognition from Arab countries.
Nevertheless, the president-elect has criticized moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem but is not expected to relocate the embassy.
Impact on Egypt
The chairman of the Egyptian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Karim Darwish, stressed that Egypt and America have strategic relations at all levels and that these relations should not change when a new US administration takes office.
Many Egyptians believe that Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim Brotherhood policies have had a positive impact on Egypt and fear that the new administration might reverse these policies. This could do a lot of harm to relations between the two countries.
It is worth noting that Egypt receives $1.3 billion in US military aid per year. A small tranche of this aid was suspended in 2017 but it was released the next year.
Egypt’s Response to Biden’s victory
Yesterday, president Abdel Fattah El Sisi congratulated Biden on his victory. According to the official Spokesperson of the Egyptian Presidency, the Egyptian president looks forward to working on stronger bilateral relations between the two countries. He wrote on Facebook:
وجه السيد الرئيس عبد الفتاح السيسي مساء اليوم التهنئة الي جو بايدن الرئيس المنتخب للولايات المتحدة الامريكية وذلك بعد اعلان نتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية الامريكية، وقد اكد السيد الرئيس في هذه المناسبة علي التطلع للتعاون والعمل المشترك من اجل تعزيز العلاقات الثنائية الاستراتيجية بين مصر والولايات المتحدة الامريكية بما فيه صالح البلدين والشعبين الصديقين.Spokesman of the Egyptian Presidency
TRUMP REFUSES TO CONCEDE
President Trump still claims he won the election. Even after the Associate Press has declared Biden the winner of the elections, he tweeted:
THE OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED INTO THE COUNTING ROOMS. I WON THE ELECTION, GOT 71,000,000 LEGAL VOTES. BAD THINGS HAPPENED WHICH OUR OBSERVERS WERE NOT ALLOWED TO SEE. NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE. MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WERE SENT TO PEOPLE WHO NEVER ASKED FOR THEM!Donald Trump
Trump has not prepared a concession speech and it seems like he still has no intention of conceding.
The Egyptian administration enjoyed a very good relationship with Donald Trump. President-elect Biden is likely to continue the business ties between the U.S. and Egypt but might add more pressure on the human rights file.