Op-Ed via Open Democracy

Trump in the Middle East: context and consequences

The US President Donald Trump has no well-defined policy or strategy, let alone a vision, for the Middle East yet. So far, he has just taken actions that are not clearly outlined in a foreign policy framework but appear to be intended to mainly satisfy his domestic constituency and his ideological fantasies. He is using hard and soft power in an uncalculated manner: bombing Syria and Afghanistan, while reportedly cutting the aid by half to two main allies, Jordan and Egypt.

However, his trip to Saudi Arabia to create the fantasy of an Arab Nato, as Robert Fisk has argued, aims to build a Muslim Sunni coalition to destroy the Muslim Shia block in a simple ‘anti-terrorist’ story for the Americans. This summit in Saudi Arabia will be a defining phase and crucial step for Trump’s future strategy for the broader Middle East, though. The political, personal, and attitudinal similarities between Trump and the many leaders he will meet in Saudi Arabia, are striking. And therefore, to use the “Trumpism” narrative, they will get along extremely well, which means a new US-led regional order is already in the making.

Although his overall strategy for the Middle East is still unfolding, yet the unconditional support for Israel will always remain the constant factor in the equation and in his calculations. As with past US presidents and administrations, he continues his unqualified support for Israel, keeping it immune to international law and safe from any accountability mechanisms, while continuing to deny Palestinian human rights.

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