When Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump campaign launches Asian Pacific Americans coalition Biden: 'More than one African American woman' being considered for VP Liberal group asks Klobuchar to remove herself from VP consideration because of prosecutorial record MORE criticized U.S. allies’ role in combatting terrorism at the Kennedy School of Government on Thursday, it was more than a mere verbal gaffe. This wasn’t just another case of the vice president saying what many experts think but do not say for any number of diplomatic reasons. His comments were misinformed, and they jeopardized alliances that are absolutely essential to peace and stability in the Middle East.

In discussing the world’s response to ISIS and other ongoing threats, he characterized Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as America’s “biggest problem.” He then alleged that these longtime U.S. partners extended unconditional financial and logistical support to Sunni fighters trying to oust the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad – and thus directly contributed to the rapid growth of ISIS and other terrorist threats.

What Biden did not say is that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are, in fact, playing a significant role in the U.S.-led air strikes against ISIS other menacing groups. For the first time, both nations are boldly participating in an active militarily campaign against terror – and are risking much in the process. Not only are they potentially exposing themselves to terrorists’ violence and retribution; they might very well infuriate their Sunni majorities by joining Western-led strikes against a terrorist group whose members belong to the Sunni sect.


It is therefore difficult for many to decipher what Biden was thinking of when he made his remarks. Apparently, that holds true even for those within his own office and administration. Biden spokesperson Kendra Barkoff issued a hurried statement directly contradicting the Vice President’s assertions, saying that “The United States greatly values the commitments and sacrifices made by our allies and partners from around the world to combat the scourge of ISIS.”

Not only was that a necessary correction of the record; it was a tacit acknowledgement that the U.S. desperately needs the support of the Sunni states to provide legitimacy and logistical support to its fight against the terrorists groups in the region.

Perhaps Mr. Biden was motivated by the need to deflect attention from his administration's hesitant policies in Syria, which undoubtedly lead to the development and growth of extreme terrorist groups and impeded the efforts of the moderate rebel groups in Syria. Had President Obama made up his mind and extended support to the moderates that were fighting Assad’s brutal regime, there would have been no role for terrorist groups to play and no room for them to exist and expand.

Now that the administration's inefficiencies and fence-sitting have brought about the catastrophic situation in Syria and the region as a whole, Biden is attempting to rewrite history and blame America’s allies for its own failures. But make no mistake, Saudi Arabia and the UAE not only share a vested interest in stopping terror; they are serving on the front lines of battles that hold global security in the balance.

As such, it is America’s foreign policy, not its allies, that is the “biggest problem.”

Al Mulla is the founder and executive chairman of UAE law firm Habib Al Mulla, which he established in 1984. He is one of the UAE’s most highly respected legal authorities with more than 27 years’ experience in UAE law and drafting many of the modern legislative structures in place in Dubai today.