Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Middle East Realignment

Last week, the American Secretary of State addressed the Republican National Convention in a speech delivered from Jerusalem, Israel. Democrats were up in arms about the violation of some law they had never previously cared about.

And we know that if an American Secretary of State had delivered a speech from Gaza or Tehran, in the company of people who want nothing more than to murder Americans, these same hypocrites would have cheered it as an act of courageous diplomacy.

For the record, I assume that Pompeo spoke from the American embassy in Jerusalem. And everyone knows that the American embassy is, strictly speaking, sovereign territory of the United States. 

Anyway, the Pompeo speech highlighted one of the Trump administration’s most significant foreign policy achievements: the strategic realignment of the Middle East, with the formation of an alliance between Israel and the Gulf Arab states-- beginning with the recent rapprochement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

To measure the significance of what is happening, we turn to the reliable Caroline Glick. She begins her cogent analysis by remarking that he Obama administration had precipitated the realignment by siding with Iran and Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood, as against Israel and the Gulf Arab states.

While the dimwitted Nancy Pelosi proclaims that the Democratic Party supports Israel, the truth is that her party is a cesspool of anti-Semitism. And the other truth is that the last Democratic administration, the Obama-Biden administration allied itself with the most anti-Semitic regimes on the planet.

Glick opens:

The shift predates the Trump administration. A decade ago, the Sunni Arab regimes in Egypt and the Persian Gulf had a brush with annihilation that transformed their perception of the region and the world. With the rise of Islamist forces in the Arab Spring threatening to overthrow them on the one hand, and the Obama administration shifting US support away from them and towards the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran on the other, the Egyptian military, the Saudi regime, and the UAE leadership collectively arrived at an earth-shattering conclusion that Israel is not their enemy. Like them, the Jewish state was spurned by Obama. And like them, Israel recognizes Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood as its mortal foes. As Obama's betrayals multiplied, and his support for Iran and its nuclear program expanded, Egypt, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia began to view Israel as their most stable and powerful ally and only competent defender against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Obama policy shifted America’s allegiance toward Iran, Turkey and Qatar:

Facing the Arab Sunni regimes and Israel, and strongly supported by the Obama administration were Turkey, Qatar, and Iran which together formed a Sunni-Shiite Islamist bloc. With their proxies and vassals in control of Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, and Iraq, members of this bloc were open to alliances with the Democrats, the Russians, the Chinese, the EU, and Marxist regimes in Latin America.

The new Obama-led alliance showed its ugly head in 2014 during the Hamas war against Israel. It tried to pressure Israel into yielding to the ceasefire demands of Hamas:

The first time the two blocs were seen in the light of day was in 2014, during Hamas' war with Israel known as Operation Protective Edge. At the time, Turkey, Qatar, and the Obama administration supported Hamas' ceasefire terms. The Republicans, the UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia supported Israel. Their unprecedented willingness to publicly stand with Israel stunned the Obama administration and enabled Israel to withstand administration pressure to succumb to Hamas's demands.

The G. W. Bush administration had already caused its own problems in the region, especially by pursuing its democracy agenda. Glick calls it utopian ignorance.

After overthrowing Saddam and his Ba'athist regime, the younger Bush stunned the US' Sunni Arab allies when he made transforming them into liberal democracies the central goal of his foreign policy. Bush's democratization efforts empowered the Muslim Brotherhood. His overthrow of Saddam empowered Iran.

Whereas Bush acted out of utopian ignorance, Obama's Middle Eastern policies were borne out of his anti-Western world view. Obama's policies exacerbated the damage Bush had wrought to America's position in the Middle East and to regional stability.

And then there was Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. He shocked the world and the Obama administration by laying the initial groundwork for an alliance with the Sunni Arab world. Obviously, the Trump administration policy built on this foundation:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to reach out to the Egyptian military, to the Saudis and to the Emiratis in the midst of the Arab Spring and the Obama administration's betrayal was the first sustained, rational, strategic initiative anyone had tried in nearly a decade of turmoil. The operational alliance they formed blunted the momentum of the Muslim Brotherhood and the rise of Iran.

In the American context, Netanyahu's move offered Republicans a framework for developing a rational and constructive alternative strategic framework not only to Obama's radical realignment, but to the wider conceptual vacuum in US post-Cold War strategic planning.

And yet, both the European Union and Great Britain have refused to give up on the Obama administration’s anti-Israel policies. To the chagrin of many:

Arguably the saddest man in Jerusalem this week was British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab. Blind to the seismic shifts that have occurred, Raab arrived uninvited in Israel's capital, (which Britain still refuses to recognize) to mediate peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

After Britain exited the European Union following the Brexit vote, the Trump administration expected Britain would renew its special alliance with the US and ditch Brussels' anti-American and anti-Israel unified foreign policy. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson didn't get the memo.

Much to Washington's disappointment, the Johnson government has continued to act as a loyal member (or vassal) of the EU. The Johnson government opposes the administration's maximum pressure strategy for dealing with Iran, and even abstained from supporting the US at the Security Council last week.

The British Foreign Office, like the EU and the UN, reacted coldly to the news that Israel and the UAE are normalizing their relations, insisting that the Palestinians must not be ignored, the chimerical "two-state solution" must be upheld at all costs.

Raab met with Pompeo in Jerusalem. While the details of their meeting were not reported, Netanyahu made clear Israel's displeasure at Britain's pro-Iran policies and expressed no interest in Britain's offer to pressure Israel to make unreciprocated concessions to the Palestinians.

Thanks to the Trump administration the EU and Great Britain have no leverage on the process. They must still yearn for the halcyon days of the Obama administration when their perfidy and fecklessness was in perfect harmony with that of the United States.


Sam L. said...

I say again, in sadness,the Palis never miss a chance to miss a chance. Poor, poor, pitiful them.

Sam L. said...

Hey, guys! The train is about to leave the station for the VERY LAST TIME. LAST CALL.
Get on board or stay where you are, but this train is NOT coming back this way again. EVER, (Who am I kidding. They won't change, except for death.)

Giordano Bruno said...

MAGA victory after victory. I am getting a little tired of so much winning. Give me a rest from victory, Orangeman, it's too much after all that failure from so many wise experts and specialists.