- The Washington Times - Monday, July 19, 2021

King Abdullah II of Jordan met with President Biden at the White House on Monday and pledged that the U.S. can always count on his nation’s support in the Middle East.

“You can always count on me, my country, and many of my colleagues in the region,” he told Mr. Biden.

He later added that “many of us will do the heavy lifting on behalf of the United States.”

The king’s visit to Washington came amid Middle East turmoil that is creating headaches for the Biden administration. Attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militias are on the rise, complicating the administration’s effort to revive the Iran nuclear deal that former President Donald Trump tore up during his presidency.

Jordan also objected to Mr. Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital — a historic decision that Mr. Biden does not plan to reverse.

“You live in a tough neighborhood,” Mr. Biden told the king before thanking him for “the generosity you’ve shown me and my country.”

King Abdullah also objected to the Trump administration’s deal with several Middle Eastern countries known as the Abraham accords. The deal normalized relations with Israel but left out the Palestinians.

The Biden team stress to King Abdullah that the accords are not an “end run” on finding the way to a peace deal that includes a Palestinian state, according to a senior administration official who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria — more than 1 million Syrian refugees have fled the war-ravaged nation for Jordan — and a wobbly security situation in Iraq, the official said.

At least eight drone attacks have targeted the U.S. military presence in Iraq since Mr. Biden took office in January, as well as 17 rocket attacks.

• This story included wire service reports.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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