Trump and the Middle East | Editorial

Washington’s recklessness continues to foment chaos in the Middle East. On Monday, US President Donald Trump formally recognised Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, an 1,800 square kilometre area two-thirds of which has been administered by Israel since the 1967 Six Day War. In 1981, Israel had passed the Golan Heights Law, which extended Israeli law to the entirety of the Golan Heights, a move which was condemned by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). This is the Trump administration’s third major pro-Israel move since the 2016 Presidential Elections in the US, the first two being its revocation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — which would have lifted some of the sanctions on Iran and allowed it to proliferate nuclear material for peaceful purposes — and the recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
These moves are antagonising citizens of the Muslim world, particularly Arabs, and deepening existing fault lines in the Middle East. Critics have warned that the Trump administration is causing increased anti-Americanism, which will only make it harder to bring the ongoing War on Terror to an end. This is putting increased political pressure on Washington’s Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia, which will likely find it increasingly difficult to justify its close relationship with the US. On the other end of the spectrum, these moves make it all the more easier for Tehran to justify its anti-American stance to the Irani public. In short, the Trump administration’s actions are increasing divides and enmities in the Middle East rather than bridging them.
Trump’s own rhetoric at home is also highly divisive. While justifying his pro-Israel stance a few days ago, President Trump had accused American Democrats of harbouring anti-Semitic sentiments. This is dangerous rhetoric that is highly unbecoming of the leader of the world’s dominant superpower. Though it is safe to say at this point that this is the only kind of rhetoric one can expect from the current US President.

March 27, 2019

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