June 23, 2017

Krauthammer: Why Middle East peace starts in Saudi Arabia

28 May 2017, 04:16 | Grady King

Thousands Of Israelis Call For End To Occupation In Palestinian Territories

Saudi King Salman presents President Donald Trump with the highest civilian honor the Collar of Abdulaziz Al Saud at the Royal Court Palace on May 20 in Riyadh Saudi Arabia. In his first foreign trip Trump clearly aligned the U.S. with the Sunni Musl

In a May 24 speech at Jerusalem Day celebrations at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said "I have a deep obligation to continue to maintain a united Jerusalem, to protect the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and all the holy sites of Israel".

The political observer in me had been looking forward to President Donald Trump's first visit to the Middle East and, needless to say, he didn't disappoint.

Efforts by successive USA presidents to broker a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians have failed. The renewed conflict has paved the way for the Trump administration to determining a new policy in the region. Mr Trump, however, flew direct from Riyadh. Instead, he paid close attention to the US-Saudi arms deal, which he said indicated a qualitatively different US policy in the region. Trump is scrapping Obama's unsafe Middle East policies, which fancifully sought a partnership with Iran, displacing our traditional and better alliances with Saudi Arabia and, of course, Israel. "It is risky", Kiselyov said.

"President Trump was given an official welcome ceremony in Saudi Arabia this weekend where he was greeted with an honorary collar". He said Trump's speech and visit were outstanding.

Trump also didn't let me down in the did-he-really-say-that department with his historically incorrect comments that the Middle East had always been home to "Arabs and Christians and Jews living side by side" and could again be a place for "every person, no matter their faith".

For his part, Mr Trump's response to all of this has arguably made him look more presidential than at any point in his often chaotic-seeming tenure. The same three senators introduced a similar resolution previous year seeking to block the sale of $1.15 billion of tanks and other equipment to Saudi Arabia.

"We will seek gradual reforms, not sudden intervention", Trump said.

For a man who had proclaimed just months ago that "Islam hates us", the difference could scarcely have been more marked.

"He is not here to educate, no values, just interests", Yaki Dayan said.

But money is at the heart of the new partnership between Washington and the Middle East's most influential nation. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries and for their children. Trump made his mark in the Middle East by delivering promises loyalty and proudness, and not by having America apologize for its actions.

"Trump spoke of the Arab-American summit in Riyadh as though it had been an achievement of monumental proportions, calling it " epic gathering. It seems Trump is sharp when it comes to defining problems as they relate to the United States and the West, but not as focused when it comes to solving the intractable issues plaguing the area. In other words, he's asking for a commitment from those countries that have funded and armed Isis and other terrorist groups in the operations, led US/Nato.

The Sunni Saudi-Shiite Iranian rivalry now manifests itself in both major conflicts in the Middle East - Yemen and Syria - and furthering the divide will only increase conflict.

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