Saturday, June 3, 2017

Alastair Crooke — Trump Tumbles into Saudi-Israeli Trap

Jared Kushner did his father-in-law few favors when he enticed President Trump into the endless Israeli-Palestinian “peace process.” To this end, as one Israeli journalist put it, Trump’s advisers set up the Saudis to “embrace [him], and do the sword dance around [him], add a huge check for the arms deals – and [in return is expected to] create an anti-Shiite, anti-Iranian axis [around them].”
Yes, the iconic salesman (Trump), was himself sold a proverbial “bridge” (by his son-in-law, fueled by the conceit that having known Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for many years, Kushner was “ideal” for bringing peace to Israel). Trump in Riyadh thus paid full homage to the Sunni narrative that they – the Sunnis – are the innocent victims, and the Shi’a, the dark, nefarious, revolutionary, fifth-columnists, who must be driven back into their “pen.”
Trump has thus declared himself an explicit partisan in the geo-strategic power plays between the region’s northern-tier states and the Gulf states. Instead of remaining distant and “above” these Middle East conflicts, he has allowed himself to be persuaded to do the opposite: to dive in, on the Sunni side (perhaps partly to counterpoint with President Obama’s engagement of Iran).
Why? Well, the dollars (should they materialize), will be useful. But essentially, because Kushner persuaded his-father-in-law that flattering the Saudis and demonizing the Iranians, represented the entry price into the peacemaking process between Israel and the Palestinians, which if achieved, would constitute the Trump foreign policy “legacy” for history.
View from the snake pit: This is deal that is destined to blow up in DJT's face. It's bargaining with the devil.
We have here the eternal problem that the Arab leaders cannot afford to normalize without an Israeli concession to the Palestinians, and the Palestinians in turn will not make a gesture, until and unless, Israel halts settlement building, which the latter will not do.
Another reason to think that this plan will come to nothing (after being spun out as long as possible by Prime Minister Netanyahu) is that, while it is true that the Palestinians presently are weak and divided – paradoxically Netanyahu is even weaker. Any concessions to Abu Mazen, however banal, could bring down his government. Netanyahu’s right-wing sees no reason to make any – even symbolic – concessions to the Palestinians. Why should they? They are on the cusp of having it all....

The Trap
This – the Sunni-Israeli regional Alliance; the renewed peace process – is a trap into which Trump has been persuaded to enter. It is a trap, because once entered into, the peace process becomes formaldehyde to all other political processes. How often have we been told “you can’t do this; you can’t do that” because it might endanger the (vacuous) “peace process.”
A peace process gives Israel huge anesthetic leverage in the region – as always it has so done. It is a trap – because it ties Trump into trying to assuage the Irano-phobia of Saudi Arabia, which will prove to be just as insatiable as are Israel’s “security needs.”
These liabilities will undercut Trump’s possibilities for defeating ISIS and for détente with Russia. Russia has been trying to bring the Shi’a and the Turks to the negotiating table on Syria. Trump’s role was to be to help bring the Sunni side to the table – in order to forge a wider regional settlement. That will be less likely now, as Saudi Arabia levers Trump’s visit towards weakening Iran.
With Trump’s homage to the Sunni cause, it is more likely that the Sunni-Shi’a fissure will deepen, rather than its sore edges be reconciled. And, viewed from a pure realpolitik perspective, does Trump really believe that Saudi Arabia and its allies will succeed in weakening the Russia, Iran, Syria, Iraq and Hizbullah alliance?
And Israel? The writing was plainly on the wall, as we now know, at those post-Six Day War Israeli cabinet meetings. The Americans did warn the Israeli cabinet that it would become progressively harder and harder for America to defend Israel’s hold over the disempowered, disenfranchised and dispossessed (and enlarging), Palestinian people – if Israel insisted on its “winner takes all” end of war policy....
Consortium News
Trump Tumbles into Saudi-Israeli Trap
Alastair Crooke | founder and director of the Conflicts Forum and a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy 

9 comments:

Kaivey said...

Was Trump tricked, this is sad, why not some good news for once? If there was any justice in the world, the Saudis and the Israelis would be exposed. Years ago we had boycotts on South Africa even though the right hatred it. But then we had left press and John Pilger even got his documentaries on mainstream TV.

Bob said...

What if the House of Saud were to fall?
A chance for America to wash its hands and walk away?

Tom Hickey said...

Not a question of if but when.

John said...

Tom: "Not a question of if but when."

True, but then what? US invasion and an endless bloodbath? Or allow it to be an independent actor on the world stage, able to set the oil price where it likes? Terrible geopolitical choices, but the choice is going to have to be made because the House of Salafism will be toppled.

Matthew Franko said...

" but then what?"

Nothing if he has got all of our munnie back... Trump is trying to get all of our USDs back from those who have been traditionally the big surplus nations... he is trying to get back to "even"...

Tom Hickey said...

Nothing if he has got all of our munnie back... Trump is trying to get all of our USDs back from those who have been traditionally the big surplus nations... he is trying to get back to "even"...

Some one tell DJT that imports are a real benefit under full employment. The US can have full employment and large trade deficits, too, if government adds the balance.

Regarding the inevitability of the fall of the House of Saud results from KSA being one of the most tyrannical regimes in the world and those running it some of the most profligate people on the planet. That won't last forever.

Bob said...

It's lasted long enough. Time for a not so gentle push.

Tom Hickey said...

It's lasted long enough. Time for a not so gentle push.

Same with the Zionists.

Ordinary people are getting crushed by despotism in some Muslim state, as well as bearing the brunt of terrorism and Western intervention.

The Palestinian issue needs to be settled fairly for the Palestinians as a high priority.

These areas are festering sores and they are also potential flash points.

Bob said...

Settling the Palestinian issue will involve Jordan.