The elected U.S. President Joe Biden put forward on a post of the director of CIA Bill Burns who played in due time the leading role in negotiations on the Iranian nuclear transaction. Burns who held various posts including the Deputy Secretary of State, within 33 years on diplomatic service of the USA, is a frank supporter of diplomacy.
As the head of CIA, Burns will direct and coordinate efforts of the USA on collecting intelligence information abroad, to estimate threats of national security and to transfer the estimates to the director of the National intelligence and the president. It is unusual choice — to choose the diplomat, but not the personnel intelligence agent to head Central Intelligence Agency, but on the other hand he is free from all charges and scandals of CIA, including use of tortures in years after terrorist attacks on September 11. Biden told that Burns shares him “deep belief in the fact that investigation has to be apolitical”.
What means this appointment for the Middle East? It should be noted, for decades of the diplomatic service Burns took part in formation of policy of the USA for a number of the conflicts and crises in the Middle East, often coordinating the American diplomacy and transferring operational messages from the place of events. He knows Arab and Russian languages, was the ambassador in Jordan, Russia, the assistant to the Secretary of State on Middle Eastern affairs and the Deputy Secretary of State at administrations of both main parties, and left public service at the end of 2014, several months prior to end of the Iranian nuclear transaction.
In the book of 2019 The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal, Burns protects JCPOA, emphasizing that “a nuclear sentry dog of the UN (IAEA)” and “the U.S. intelligence community repeatedly confirmed the Iranian observance” to JCPOA. He emphasized that cancellation of sanctions “revealed vulnerability of the mode” as governors of the Islamic Republic cannot accuse Washington of the economic troubles of the country resulting from corruption and mismanagement any more. Burns also compared D. Trump’s decision to leave the transaction “with unilaterality of the USA which led to invasion into Iraq”. “The decision to refuse JCPOA became a signal of dangerous neglect to diplomacy again”, — he wrote. Supporters of diplomatic dialogue with Iran welcomed Burns’s promotion. Thus, Burns’s appointment accurately corresponds to the aspiration of the new U.S. Administration to reanimate, let and on new conditions, JCPOA.
After leaving State Department Burns held a post of the president of Fund Carnegie — influential analytical center. At the end of 2019 he wrote a long column for the Atlantic magazine, calling for a new diplomatic way in the Middle East where Washington “will recalibrate” the relations with the region. “With Saudi Arabia and Arabs of the Persian Gulf it means street option with much bigger two-way traffic.
The new director of CIA also criticized Trump’s proposal on Israeli Palestinian conflict which would allow Israel to keep all the settlements on the West bank. “Trump’s talk on “the transaction of a century” on the termination of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict masked a methodical bias towards Israeli right, almost destroying any rudimentary hope for a solution of the problem of two states. Never before the American diplomacy distributed so many negotiation cards so quickly for so small sum”, — Burns wrote.
In the memoirs the veteran-diplomat in detail described the internal efforts directed to achieving obvious criticism of the Israeli occupation when he served in George Bush Jr. administration. During the Israeli-American campaign for overthrow of the then Palestinian president Yasser Arafat in 2002 during a siege of his residence in Ramallah Burns was a supporter of accurate vision of the viable Palestinian state. Senator Chris Murphy, called Burns by “the inspired choice” to head CIA.