Trump’s ‘Historic’ Visit To The Middle East: Much Ado About Nothing

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers an statement about missile strikes on a Syrian airbase, at his Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., April 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Mareeg.com –Sadly, President Trump’s visit to the Middle East only confirmed my skepticism about what might come out of it. Trump went to the region with nothing to offer to mitigate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and received no commitment from either Israeli or Palestinian leaders to resume the peace negotiations in earnest, but he received lots of platitudes and empty good-will gestures.

In his meeting with the Saudi King Salman and the rest of the heads of Arab states, he heard the chanting against the Iranian threat and joined the chorus without offering any specific idea as to how he might address Iran’s support of violent extremists and its hegemonic ambitions.

To be sure, however, there were many photo ops. Israeli and Arab officials alike clamored to take a photo with a besieged President who is reveling in the accolades of the moment and doing his best not to think about the dark clouds awaiting him back home.

That said, there is no doubt that the US remains the indispensable power in the Middle East, and just about every state in the region relies heavily on the US’ political support and protection. This, however, does not suggest that the US has a magic wand and can simply wave it and change overnight the dynamics of the multiple conflicts sweeping and consuming the region. None of Trump’s predecessors has had that kind of power and Trump has even less. Next pageDuring his meetings with Saudi officials, he said nothing about their gross violation of human rights and the kingdom’s promotion of Islamic Wahhabi extremism. On the contrary, he was delighted to conclude an arms deal worth over $110 billion, becoming more like a merchant of death rather than a messenger of peace.

On the relationship between the Arab states and Israel, Trump offered no recipe as to how they can reach a comprehensive peace agreement. He stated that “King Salman feels very strongly and, I can tell you, would love to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians.”

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Mareeg senior news editor since 2001 and he can be reached at news@mareeg.com