Israeli officials cautioned Biden against heavy criticism of Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Jerusalem fears that singling out Sissi and MBS on human rights violations risks sending their countries into arms of Iran, China and Russia

2 September 2021

NEW YORK — Israeli officials have cautioned their counterparts in the Biden administration against being overly critical of the Saudi and Egyptian governments, due to concerns that that such criticism might lead Riyadh and Cairo to turn to countries like Iran, China and Russia for support, a source familiar with the matter told The Times of Israel on Wednesday.

Biden entered office vowing to place a premium on human rights in the crafting of his foreign policy, warning that countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt would need to reform if they wanted to maintain their longstanding relationships with the US.

But that approach has worried Jerusalem, which believes it could alienate Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, leading them to look elsewhere for support and alliances — namely from Iran, but also from US adversaries China and Russia. Those concerns have been passed along to administration officials on multiple occasions, said the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

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