Thursday, November 10, 2016

President Trump & The MidEast

Trump and Israel, Now What? - Herb Keinon

Hillary Clinton was a known commodity because she has been involved for so long at a policy level on Israel-related issues. There was a degree of predictability regarding how she would act. No such predictability exists with regard to Donald Trump, who has no real track record on Israel beyond being the grand marshal of the Israel Day Parade in Manhattan.

At the same time, Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, is a former Indiana governor and congressman, an Evangelical Christian, and has a long record of political support for Israel.

Moreover, as of January 20 there will be sitting in the White House a man who has been scathing in his criticism of the Iranian nuclear deal. He does not have any emotional investment in it that could possibly blind him to Iranian violations. 
(Jerusalem Post)

Middle East Looks to America for Leadership - Dore Gold

The countries of the Middle East are looking for America to be an ally. They are looking for America to lead the peoples of the Middle East. Unfortunately, there has been a tendency in certain parts of Washington in recent years to try and see how to fix America's relations with its adversaries - with Syria's Assad, with the Iranians and with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and with other radical groups across the Middle East. This leaves America's allies, like the famous situation with President Mubarak of Egypt, in the lurch.

There is a hope that is common to Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Egypt under President Sisi, with Saudi Arabia under King Salman, and with the United Arab Emirates under Mohammed bin Zayed. All of these leaders are hoping for a United States that will lead them against the twin radical threats of ISIS and Iranian imperialism.
The writer is former director-general of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and former Israeli ambassador to the UN.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Egypt's Sisi Invites Trump to Cairo

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi invited U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to visit Cairo, in a telephone call in which El-Sisi congratulated Trump personally on his election triumph.

El-Sisi expressed his hope for more cooperation between Egypt and the U.S. in all fields.


Israel in the Trump era - Caroline Glick

President Barack Obama’s legacy will die the moment he leaves the White House on January 20. Republicans may not agree on much. But Trump and his party do agree that Obama’s policies must be abandoned and replaced. And they will work together to roll back all of Obama’s actions as president.

To be sure, much is still unclear about Trump’s foreign policy. But here, too, certain things are already known. Trump will vacate the US’s signature from the nuclear deal with Iran. [F]rom his first day in office, Trump will change the trajectory of US policy toward Iran. He will oppose Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. He will oppose Iran’s rise to regional hegemony.

[P]ersonnel will be policy in the Trump administration. Whereas Obama’s cabinet members and advisers have been more or less interchangeable since Obama himself determined everything from the details of his policies to the ways that the policies would be sold to the public (or hidden from the public), and implemented, Trump’s pick of advisers will be strategically significant.

Clearly it is too early to know who Trump’s advisers and cabinet members will be. But there is good reason for Israel to be encouraged by the advisers who have worked with Trump during the campaign. Vice President-elect Mike Pence is one of the most pro-Israel policy-makers in America. Former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is an outspoken ally of Israel and of the US-Israel alliance. Likewise, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, former senator Rick Santorum, retired general Mike Flynn, and former UN ambassador John Bolton are all extraordinary champions of the US alliance with Israel. Trump’s Israel affairs advisers during the campaign, David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt, are also among the strongest advocates of the US-Israel alliance who have arisen in decades.

Both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party have antisemites in their ranks. The Jewish establishment ignored and pretended away the Democratic antisemites, even when they were burning Israeli flags at the Democratic convention. They said nothing when anti-Israel ravings that were at best borderline antisemitic of senior Clinton advisers like Thomas Pickering and Anne Marie Slaughter were published by Judicial Watch.

On the other hand, the Jewish establishment castigated Trump as antisemitic for the presence of antisemites like David Duke on the fringes of the Republican Party. Legitimate criticisms of anti-Israel financier George Soros were condemned as antisemitic while truly antisemitic assaults on Trump donor Sheldon Adelson by Clinton backers went unaddressed.

Unlike the American-Jewish community, for Israel, the defeat of the American establishment is a positive development. The American foreign policy elite’s default bipartisan position on Israel was bad for both Israel and for the health and reliability of its alliance with the US. [T]he received wisdom of the American foreign policy elite has been that the US must seek to swiftly cause Israel to sign a deal with the PLO. The contours of the deal are similarly clear to all concerned. Israel must surrender control over all or most of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, and transfer the areas, more or less Jew-free, to the PLO.

The anti-Israel hostility inherent in the two-state paradigm has brought on a situation where even pro-Israel US officials end up joining their anti-Israel colleagues in bearing down on Israel to act in ways that are inimical to both its national security and to the very concept of a US-Israel alliance.

Trump’s election provides Israel with the first opportunity in 50 years to reshape its alliance with the US. This new alliance must be based on a common understanding and respect for what Israel has to offer the US as well as on the limits of what the US can offer Israel. The limits of US assistance are in large part the consequences of the many genies that Obama unleashed during the past eight years. And the opportunities will come more in areas related to Israel’s relations with the Palestinians and the political war being waged against it by the Europeans and the international Left than to the challenges posed by the ascendance of Islamism in the Middle East.

To be sure, Trump is inconsistent. But from what we do know we must recognize that his rise marks a deflection point in US history.

It is a rare moment where things that were unimaginable a month ago are possible. And if we play our cards right, like the American people, Israel stands to gain in ways we never dreamed of.
[Jerusalem Post]

Trump's Warm Welcome in the Middle East - Robin Wright  

There have been personal calls, public statements, and even tweets from leaders across the Middle East and North Africa calling to "strengthen relations" with the U.S. The first world leader to telephone Trump after his victory was Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir tweeted, "Congratulations to President-Elect Donald Trump, looking forward to strengthening KSA-US historic ties to serve their mutual interests."
(New Yorker)

Muslim Brotherhood: Trump Victory a "Disaster"  

Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. elections is a "disaster" for the Arab and Muslim world, Mamdouh Al-Muneer, a Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson, said Wednesday.  
(Middle East Monitor-UK)

Trump and Israel - Zalman Shoval

A new poll shows again that Americans, including those who voted for Trump, want their country to keep playing an active role in the international arena. It is also safe to assume that Washington's rapprochement with Tehran, spearheaded by Obama, will cease in its tracks. In this context, it is worth mentioning that it was exceedingly prudent of Israel to sign the long-term defense pact with the current administration.

Regarding Israel, it is of immense importance to preserve our interests with the Americans. Trump's first meaningful test pertains to the agreement between George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon on the large settlement blocs - an agreement that Obama ignored. 
The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
(Israel Hayom)

1 comment:

LHwrites said...

It is silly to believe Trump will back up his statements about the Iran deal or be an ally to Israel except for what is expedient for Trump and his legacy. Trump has lied repeatedly during the election, including denying statements he made , even when confronted with video or tweeted records. Trump's business track record is to cut and run. A significant portion of Trump's constituents are racists and antisemitic. Trump has an entire lifetime on the record of only taking care of Trump. Will he throw out the Iran deal? Maybe, until he finds out these things are more complicated than his simple one-liners thrown around during the campaign. There is no reason to believe Trump as politician will be anything more or less than trump businessman---he will do what is best for trump---and no one else. At times, that may play to Israel's benefit---but the odds that it will regularly coincide is less certain.