U.S. President Donald Trump clearly knew that his decision to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would spark outrage. His most recent move will fuel anger toward the U.S. and hurt American interests in the region. However, the group of people around President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner do not seem to care. Judging by the steps they have taken over the past year, the Trump administration is planning to do something crazy in the Middle East – something beyond our wildest expectations. Unfortunately, their actions speak louder than words.
Needless to say, the vast pressures that Trump has been facing at home have contributed to his controversial move. To use the words of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, something akin to the Feb. 28 post-modern coup process is underway in the U.S.
But let us now focus on the Trump administration's new Middle East policy based on Trump's actions since assuming the presidency. One of Trump's first acts as U.S. president was to travel to the Gulf and convene Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt around a certain orb. Although the obvious target of the newly formed alliance was to contain Iran, they first tried to undermine Qatar, a country that has close ties to Turkey, provided vast support to Gaza and maintained its contacts with Tehran. This effort, which was geared to stop Qatar, was largely orchestrated by Kushner. What came next was a palace coup in Saudi Arabia, which made it possible for Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to concentrate all power in his hands.
Kushner played a similar role ahead of Masoud Barzani's independence referendum in northern Iraq. He reportedly spoke with Masrour Barzani to talk his father into holding the vote. The independence referendum could have disturbed the balance of power in an already fragile region and triggered new conflicts. Barzani's decision to hold a referendum in Kirkuk had the potential to start a war between Baghdad and Irbil. In the end, the Iraqi military entered Kirkuk, and Barzani's decisions not to resist prevented a much bigger conflict.
Trump's son-in-law showed his face once again during the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. He exploited Iranophobia in Saudi Arabia and the UAE and sought to contain Hezbollah, which threatened Israel, by trying to remove Prime Minister Saad Hariri from power. According to media reports, Hariri either sought refuge in Saudi Arabia or was detained by Riyadh. Either way, the situation in Lebanon was unlike anything else the international community has witnessed in recent memory. Finally, as a result of intense diplomatic contacts, Hariri was able to return to his country. His first order of business was to issue a statement against Lebanese Hezbollah. Here is what has happened in the Middle East since President Trump came to power: As a result of "diplomatic operations" carried out by Kushner, the Gulf, northern Iraq and Lebanon became potential sites of violent conflict. Needless to say, the balance of power in those areas shifted toward Israel, which was followed by his controversial Jerusalem move.
Now, there is only one more question that needs answering: Were the U.S. actions in the Gulf, northern Iraq and Lebanon intended to facilitate the Jerusalem move or was the Jerusalem move the latest in a chain of events that sought to destabilize the Middle East? According to analysts, a group of people represented by Kushner will seek to take additional steps in the region. More specifically, they will target the government of Mahmoud Abbas and Gaza. Let me explain: As you know, it has recently been discovered that a deal was struck between Daesh and People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists during the American-backed Raqqa operation. Accordingly, hundreds of Daesh militants were allowed to leave the city with heavy weapons and go to other parts of Syria. President Erdoğan recently announced that some of those Daesh militants had made their way to Sinai. If the terrorists who left Raqqa are going to relocate to Sinai, what will they do there? As I was looking for the answer, I spoke with a close friend of mine, who follows movements of terrorist groups in the Middle East quite closely, who asked me an interesting question: "What would happen if Trump's Jerusalem move sparks a new intifada and those Daesh militants from Raqqa supposedly supported it?" The answer was simple: If Daesh terrorists support Palestinians, the Palestinian cause would be associated with terrorism. Consequently, Israel will be able to attack Gaza and even Ramallah, citing the supposed Daesh threat. No more serious blow could be dealt to the Palestinian cause. Do the people who dispatched Daesh terrorists from Raqqa to Egypt want to end the Palestinian people's righteous cause and allow Israel to seize all of the Palestinian territories? We will find our answers soon.
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