November 24, 2020

Another Middle East Trump Triumph?

The Saudis and Israelis reportedly met in what could become a blockbuster achievement.

The Middle East has been a mess since, oh, roughly the Tower of Babel days. Progress is slow, grievances last for centuries, and rivalries — often born of religious fervor — are forever. And yet a New York real estate magnate named Donald Trump became U.S. president, set to work on peace in the Middle East, and, by golly, he’s achieved significant success that far outpaces anything his predecessors could claim.

That much was evident yet again last weekend, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secretly met Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Though the Saudi prince has denied the meeting for internal political reasons, Israel has not, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in the region already. Little is known about the meeting, but ever since Trump began announcing peace deals between Israel and several Arab nations earlier this year, we’ve speculated that an agreement with Saudi Arabia is the ultimate prize. But the Saudis want legs to stand on, hence the deals with smaller countries.

The objective is to counter Iran and its mullahs’ designs on Middle East hegemony with a campaign of what the administration calls “maximum pressure.” Whatever their differences, Saudi Arabia and Israel both have a vested interest in checking Iranian power.

It’s hard to overstate the Trump administration’s progress in the region, and it’s no wonder Trump was nominated multiple times for the Nobel Peace Prize. Not only has he had to overcome the intractable positions of the region’s key players, but the president had to undo the work of his own predecessor.

Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and former Secretary of State John Kerry orchestrated a Middle East that would become dominated by Iran. Obama certified Iran’s nuclear program with his bogus nuclear deal, along with making numerous other concessions to the mullahs that lent legitimacy and boosted power for the “Death to America” crowd in Tehran. And there’s that whole thing with giving rise to the Islamic State, too.

Biden wants to turn back the clock to those days, even aiming to install Kerry in his administration, albeit as “climate czar.” In fact, his anointed national security team consists largely of Obama retreads who will be tasked with figuring out how to rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran. That will be tough to do after Trump kept his promise to scrap it — not to mention that he seriously ticked off Tehran by taking out Iran’s top terrorist, General Qasem Soleimani.

But what else would you expect from a 47-year swamp creature like Biden? Obama’s own former defense secretary, Bob Gates, said Biden’s “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” It appears he has no intention of learning anything new.

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