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King Abdullah meets with Biden, July 19. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty

The visit to Washington this week by King Abdullah II of Jordan, the first Arab leader to visit President Biden, was a victory lap after years of tense relations with Trump and Netanyahu.

Why it matters: The White House invitation and the meetings with all of Biden's top foreign policy and national security officials repositioned the king as a leading U.S. ally in the Middle East.

Statements before and after the meeting indicate that King Abdullah had three main objectives for his talks with Biden:

1. To get a commitment to renew the memorandum of understanding on the $1.2 billion in annual financial assistance to Jordan, which was signed by the Trump administration in 2017 and expires next year.

  • It's unclear from the readouts whether he got that commitment.

2. To push forward a deal to buy new F-16 fighter jets for the Jordanian air force.

  • The White House said the issue was discussed and that the jets would "allow for greater interoperability and effectiveness of the Jordanian Armed Forces." The U.S. will have to consult Israel on the deal before moving forward.

3. To get a clear statement by Biden supporting Jordanian custodianship of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

  • He got it. The White House readout mentioned "Jordan's special role as custodian" — a role heavily emphasized in the Jordanian readout.

Between the lines: During the Trump presidency, Abdullah feared Trump and Netanyahu were conspiring to renege on Jordanian custodianship and give it to Saudi Arabia. No evidence of such a conspiracy has emerged and advisers to both Trump and Netanyahu deny it was ever discussed.

What’s next: The second Arab leader to visit Biden at the White House will be Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi next week.

  • Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein will also meet Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Friday as part of the U.S.-Iraq strategic dialogue.
  • The possible withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq is expected to be a major issue in the talks.

Go deeper: Biden’s arrival pushes Jordan toward political reform

Go deeper

Sep 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

N.Y. Times compares Biden to Trump

U.S. Customs and Border Protection mounted officers attempt to contain migrants as they cross the Rio Grande on Sunday. Photo: Felix Marquez/AP

Citing moves on Afghanistan and the border, two N.Y. Times items compare President Biden to the predecessor he defeated:

A news story — "Biden Pushes Deterrent Border Policy After Promising 'Humane' Approach" — notes this week's images of the border roundup "could have come straight from former President Donald J. Trump’s immigration playbook."

Stock buybacks boom as corporate cash piles grow

The Delta variant is keeping more companies cautious about how to invest the mountains of cash they have at their disposal. That hesitancy has led, in part, to corporate spending on stock buybacks outpacing capital expenditures this year. 

Why it matters: Companies hoarded cash and raised prices over the past year — leaving them with a lot of money and decisions about what to do with it.

1 hour ago - Health

Health policies at stake in Democrats' infrastructure bet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Democrats are at a pivotal moment in their quest to expand health care coverage, slash the cost of prescription drugs and create a social structure that prioritizes people's health.

Driving the news: Democrats have a clear list of health care priorities they'll be fighting for this week. Among them is a measure to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision and hearing benefits.