Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Anticipated US-Islamic Partnership to End Iran’s Intervention, Confront Terrorism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55374643

US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (unseen) stop for coffee in the terminal of King Khalid International Airport following Trump’s arrival in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. AFP PHOTO

Washington- US President Donald Trump is expected to discuss during his historic visit to Saudi Arabia the issue of terrorism, which is of particular importance to the US Administration and people.

Trump is fully convinced of the statements he has made about Iran before and after he took office in January: Tehran is the primary sponsor of terrorism and is responsible of destabilizing the Middle East.

The Syrian file is also expected to be of great importance in the talks that will be held by Trump during his visit to Riyadh.

The first US missile attack that was carried out by the US Navy as a response to the chemical massacre in Khan Sheikhoun was a reflection of Washington’s interest in the Syrian developments. The massacre was carried out by the Syrian regime.

Washington has put so much pressure on the international community to take an action against Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and the United States agrees with many Arab and Islamic countries on the necessity of finding a political solution for the Syrian crisis.

Trump’s administration is convinced that Assad has no place in Syria’s future, according to statements made earlier by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Undoubtedly, the situation in Yemen will be part of Trump’s meetings with leaders of Islamic countries since the US vision in this regard is consistent with the Saudi-led coalition’s vision of the need to enable legitimacy in Yemen and the right of Saudi Arabia to defend its territory.

Obama…Era from the Past

Executive Director of Washington Institute for Near East Policy Robert Satloff said that Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia aims to let the Middle East forget about former President Barack Obama’s policies that were not following the region’s interests.

“He is definitively changing American foreign policy from the Barack Obama era to the Donald Trump era concerning the Middle East,” Satloff said.

“Trump’s journey that starts in Riyadh and then Jerusalem in his first foreign trip since taking office is designed to show both Middle Easterners and the wider world that the Barack Obama era in foreign policy is a thing of the past,” he added.

Satloff stressed the importance of the connotations this visit holds and asked Trump not to limit himself to these connotations.

He said: “As important as these connotations may be, I hope the President does not limit himself to symbolism. In Saudi Arabia, Israel and his subsequent participation in a NATO summit in Brussels, the President has a rare opportunity to steer the US-led coalition of stability-seeking nations in a direction that advances our common interests.”

The Executive Director of Washington Institute for Near East Policy provided Trump with some suggestions in regard to his historic visit.

“The US president should take advantage of his meeting with Muslim leaders in Riyadh to propose a new partnership to roll back the twin forms of extremism that threaten global peace and security — the self-styled jihad of ISIS, al-Qaeda and like-minded sub-state actors, movements and groups and the Iranian-led consortium of radical states, militias and proxies.”

Such a partnership, Satloff added, would formally signal the end of Obama’s misguided effort to accommodate Iranian strategic ambitions at the expense of America’s traditional partners in the broader Middle East.

Demands for a Greater US Role

Director of Middle East and Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Jon Alterman stressed the importance of Washington’s role in ending conflicts in the region.

Commenting on Trump’s visit, Alterman said that through this visit, the US has to exert greater efforts in ending conflicts in the Middle East.

There is a need for a stronger US strategy to resolve the conflicts, including those in Syria and Yemen.

As for Iran, Alterman believes that GCC countries and Trump, who is considered against Iran, have the same point of view, unlike his predecessor former President Barack Obama whose policy put the Gulf in direct confrontation with Tehran.

Alterman reiterated that issues to be discussed during Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, including the situation in Yemen, Syria, Palestine and the Iranian danger, are difficult and require constant follow-up and efforts from experts.