(The Daily Caller News Foundation)—The Biden administration has reversed or is considering reversing several of its foreign policies to mirror those implemented under the Trump administration.
The Biden administration most recently reversed policies that allowed funding to a major United Nations agency, mirroring an approach taken by the Trump administration against the agency in 2018. A similar reversal occurred earlier in January when the Biden administration re-designated an extremist Islamic militia group as a global terrorist organization, a label that the administration had previously removed from the group in 2021.
The U.S. and a number of allied nations cut funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) after it was discovered on Friday that several of the agency’s staffers were involved in the Hamas Oct. 7 attacks against Israel. It was later revealed that over a thousand UNRWA staffers have ties to Hamas or Islamic terror groups.
The UN is taking swift action following the extremely serious allegations against several UNRWA staff. These abhorrent alleged acts must have consequences. But the humanitarian needs of the desperate populations UNRWA serves must be met – @antonioguterres https://t.co/gy7cthapRa
— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) January 28, 2024
The Trump administration had cut funding for UNRWA in 2018 because it felt the agency was an “irredeemably flawed operation,” according to a State Department press release from the time. The administration was also frustrated because it had to “shoulder the very disproportionate share of the burden of UNRWA’s costs,” as the U.S. has historically been the largest financial backer of the agency.
When President Joe Biden took office in 2021, his administration quickly reversed the decision and began funding UNRWA to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars per year. The Biden administration criticized the Trump administration for harming the Palestinian population when it cut funding for UNRWA.
Since the start of Biden’s presidency, the U.S. has contributed over a billion dollars to UNRWA. Funding for UNRWA was ground to a halt again on Friday pending an investigation into the agency’s ties to terrorism.
The Biden administration also in January reversed its decision to remove the Houthis, an Iranian-backed terrorist group based in Yemen, from its global terrorist list. The Trump administration designated the Houthis as a terrorist organization in January 2021, but this label later was removed by the Biden administration shortly after Biden took office.
The Biden administration said it removed the Houthis from its terror lists because it was concerned about what negative humanitarian impacts the label would have on Yemen. The terrorist group ramped up its aggression both in and outside of Yemen after being removed from the list.
The Houthis continue to play a significant in ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, with the terror group carrying out attacks against commercial vessels in a key Red Sea shipping route, resulting in negative impacts on global markets.
The Biden administration returned the Houthis to its “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” list in January over the group’s increasing violence and aggression in the Middle East. the same designation the group was hit with by the Trump administration in 2021.
Today, we announced the designation of the Houthis as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group. pic.twitter.com/NFYOaUrm8G
— Department of State (@StateDept) January 17, 2024
The Biden administration is now considering easing up on some restrictions for sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, The New York Times reported in December. Trump and his administration boasted during his tenure that the U.S.-Saudi relationship was strong, and one aspect of that relationship was an arms deal that involved selling billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia.
The Biden administration took a more hardline approach to Saudi Arabia, imposing restrictions on the sale of weapons to the country in 2021 over concerns about their use, according to NYT. The administration was also vocally concerned over the 2018 death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which U.S. intelligence concluded was orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).
Biden himself was highly critical of Saudi Arabia during the 2020 election cycle, promising to end the arms deal and make the country “the pariah that they are” when he was elected.
“I would make it very clear we were not going to in fact sell more weapons to them. … We were going to in fact make them pay the price, and make them, in fact, the pariah that they are,” Biden said during a Democratic presidential debate in 2019, noting the country had “very little social redeeming value in the present government.”
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The Biden administration is now considering loosening certain restrictions on weapons sales to the Saudis, according to NYT. The Saudi government has expressed concern to U.S. officials that it needs to be properly armed to deter threats from terror and militia groups in the Middle East region.
A formal announcement on whether the ban will be lifted has not yet been made.
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.