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Opinion Trump’s comprehensive strategy for the Middle East reaches catastrophic impasse

Yet even in the Middle East there is a bigger and more negative history. The real end result of Trump’s policies there was revealed not at the White House summit in September involving Israeli, Bahraini and United Arab Emirates, but at a meeting of the Oval Office 10 days ago, at which the president asked advisers about the bombing of Iran. His understanding of this straw – which the national security team quickly rejected – showed how the comprehensive strategy that Trump has pursued over the past four years has led to a catastrophic dead end.

At its core, Trump̵

7;s Middle East range was closely aligned with the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Arab Sunni states, and then joined them in a relentless campaign against Shiite Iran. Trump intended to reject the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic because it was a signal of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy; he was seduced on his first trip abroad by Saudi leaders dancing swords, whom he mistakenly assumed would buy hundreds of billions in American weapons; and he sought to please American evangelical Christians, for whom Israel is a sacred cause.

Politics has failed in every way. Despite severe sanctions and the assassination of its top general, the Iranian regime has neither collapsed nor reduced its aggression in the Middle East. Police were still firing rockets at the US embassy in Baghdad last week. Following Trump’s repeal of the nuclear deal, Tehran has stepped up its production of enriched uranium and now has 12 times more than when Trump took office – enough for a few warheads. This prompted Trump’s flawless and useless investigation into the bombings, which his advisers said could trigger a regional war in his last days in office.

Trump’s firm coordination with the Saudis has justified his growing foreign aggression and domestic repression, from the criminal bombing of schools and markets in Yemen to the assassination and dismemberment of journalist in exile Jamal Hashoghi. His unquestionable support for right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has prompted him to support a grotesquely one-sided “peace plan” for Israel and the Palestinians, which only serves to sever relations between them.

Perhaps most importantly, Trump has done the opposite of what he said he wanted when running for president – to pull the United States out of the Middle East and the “endless wars.” Obama had the same goal, and the agreement with Iran was an integral part of it: The idea was to prevent the greatest potential threat to the United States and Israel – Iran’s nuclear arsenal – then to promote a balance in the region between Iranian-led Shiites and Saudi Arabia Sunnis.

Trump restored the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons, encouraged the sectarian war that Sunni and Shiite extremists wanted, and then brought the United States fully in line with the Sunni side, making it impossible to move away from the region. He eventually sent thousands more US forces to the Middle East to protect oil fields and tankers from Iranian attacks, and despite an 11-hour withdrawal, he had to leave US forces in Iraq and Syria.

The agreements between Israel and the Arab states were the silver lining of this disaster: the US-backed anti-Iranian alliance united the Jewish and Arab states. But if Trump had kept the United States aside, rapprochement would probably have happened anyway. Eventually, the Arab states moved closer to Israel, the local superpower, precisely to oppose the withdrawal of the United States from the region.

So what does President-elect Joe Biden do with this mess? First, he will want to recall the mistakes he and Obama made in observing – above all, to misjudge that the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement is key to the region and to make it a priority, despite the apparent reluctance of current leaders to both sides. But then he must revive Obama’s balanced strategy, which allows the United States to counter the aggression and human rights abuses of both Iran and Saudi Arabia, while gradually turning away from the Middle East. the last two presidents aspired to.

The first step: Do not bomb Iran. Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran would return without “negotiations.” . there are no conditions ”compared to previous restrictions on its nuclear activities if Biden lifts the sanctions imposed by Trump. This is worth exploring.

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