Monday, November 23, 2020

Netanyahu in Saudi Arabia

This morning’s New York Times claims that Joe Biden’s newly nominated Secretary of State, one Anthony Blinken, will repair all of the alliances damaged by the Trump presidency.

The hidden meaning is: Trump has worked long and hard to repair the alliances damaged by the Obama presidency. In the Middle East, for example. As for Western Europe, it would be helpful if people would recognize, as noted here yesterday, that nations that want to be treated like allies should act like allies.

Anyway, yesterday the Trump administration, under the leadership of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo engineered a private meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The meeting took place in Saudi Arabia, in the new city of Neom. Also in attendance were Sec. Pompeo and the head of Israel’s Mossad, Yossi Cohen.

So, when Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress, many Democrats boycotted the speech. And no one treated the Israeli prime minister with more contempt than Barack Obama. It is worth remembering these points.

The meeting at Neom has been widely reported in the mainstream media, but Donald Trump has managed, yet again, to step on his own success. As the world should be admiring his achievement, it is more likely to be talking about Rudy Giuliani’s hair dye-- or was it mascara-- and the fate of one Sidney Powell. 

While we admire Powell for the great work she did for Gen. Michael Flynn, she should present evidence for her claims of election fraud. Period. Now, the Trump legal defense team has distanced itself from her. We do not know how this is going to come out, but the odds are distinctly against Trump. If that is true, then he seems to be playing it for the drama.

And, sad to say, Rudy Giuliani has seen better days. As was made clear in his previous work, Giuliani was more adept at sticking his foot in his mouth than in defending the Trump administration. We still admire the great job that he did for New York City, but seriously, who today would hire him as a lawyer? And who would put him on television as a spokesman?

As for the meeting between Netanyahu and Mohammed bin-Salmon, it was momentous and constructive. It was also entirely predictable, and we predicted something of the sort here on several occasions.

As for the story, via the Wall Street Journal:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Saudi Arabia’s crown prince in the kingdom on Sunday, according to two Saudi government advisers, in their first known meeting and amid a U.S. push to normalize ties between the longtime foes.

Mr. Netanyahu made the secret trip on Sunday evening to the seaside corner of northwest Saudi Arabia to join U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Yossi Cohen, the director of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, accompanied the Israeli prime minister, according to Israel’s Army Radio.

After a certain amount of lip service to the need for there to be a Palestinian state, the story continues. The Journal emphasizes the division within the Saudi government between the Crown Prince and his father, King Salman:

Normalizing relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel before any deal for Palestinian statehood would be a seismic shift in the Middle East, upending a decades-old pan-Arab position. Bringing together two of Washington’s top allies and Iran’s main rivals would allow for greater intelligence sharing and ease Israel’s isolation as Washington reduces its military presence in parts of the region.

But Saudi Arabia’s king has been at odds with his son, Prince Mohammed, over embracing the Jewish state. The king is a longtime supporter of the Arab boycott of Israel and the Palestinians’ demand for an independent state, while the prince wants to move past what he sees as an intractable conflict to join with Israel in business and align against Iran.

In that vein, Saudi Arabia has become more public in recent years with its frustrations toward the Palestinians, in a sign that Riyadh’s steadfast public support for them is fraying. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a retired intelligence chief and former ambassador to Washington, last month accused Palestinian officials of failing to deliver for the Palestinian people in a three-part program that aired on Saudi television.

Q. E. D.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

The Palestinians never miss a chance to MISS a chance.