The Middle East and Donald Trump

Now that the dust has settled, the world is coming to terms with the shocking outcome of the US presidential elections. There is readiness to accept the victory of Donald Trump and the willingness to coexist with his statements and attitudes that will undoubtedly be reflected in his specific and controversial policies.

How will the Arab world be affected by the arrival of Donald Trump to the White House? Of course this is the big question, which comes naturally to people’s mind in the Middle East today.

The arrival of Donald Trump came as a great shock to the leaders of political Islam (both Sunni and Shiite, represented by the Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling regime in Iran). The two groups have invested heavily in a political relationship with Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration and it was obvious that both the groups would continue to open up and develop this relationship if Clinton came to power. However, this did not happen and a victorious Trump arrived on the scene instead.

Trump, known for his hostility and distrust toward the political Islamic groups, has a clear anti-Iran stance regarding the building of any positive relationship with the Islamic Republic as he seems to regard it as the major sponsor of terrorism in the region.

Trump will launch a very harsh and cruel military policy against all extremist groups that raise religious slogans and he wants to eliminate them immediately

Hussein Shobokshi

Trump will launch a very harsh and cruel military policy against all extremist groups that raise religious slogans and he wants to eliminate them immediately. His position will be clearer on Iran after he takes office and confronts the alarming situation in the Middle East.

Iran will not be a friend or an ally in Trump’s era but he will want to coordinate with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose close relationship with him will help him deal with the Syrian crisis. Trump believes that his priority is to eliminate ISIS and remove them from the Syrian territories and grant Bashar al-Assad a chance to extend his influence on the ground but without favoring his stay in power. He has stated that my times before. It remains a mystery how he will balance his relationship with Russia and Iran in a very turbulent Middle East though. He has made it clear that he favors a strong relationship with America’s allies in the Middle East, which include Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Trump’s energy policy will be to rely mainly on US oil, which means granting immense benefits to shale oil and gas companies in the United States to explore and produce and then export it in order to strengthen America’s position and be competitive and influential in the global oil market.

The man’s policy regarding Palestine would be to create “attempts” in order to revive the peace process but he would not be interested in a historic achievement as that would require huge political cost which his circle believes it is not “worth it.”

He will maintain a respectful relationship with Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Morocco and Kuwait as these states have had a successful relationship with America in the past as far as the economic, security and political areas are concerned. These states believe wholeheartedly that they were “abandoned” by the Obama administration, the Saudis especially, feel even stronger; they feel they were sold out to Iran and betrayed after a very long and important relationship.

Of course it is too early to judge about his proposed policies against immigrants and minorities, especially Muslims and relations with the Islamic world as these policies have to be first implemented officially.

But needless to say that the Muslim world is holding its breath in anticipation.

Donald Trump’s reign will be a complete change from the era of Barack Obama. People who were not happy with Barack Obama’s policies will heave a sigh of relief with the new administration, while those who benefited from his policies will be very disappointed.

America chose a shock therapy to deal with its crises by electing a man with no previous experience in any governmental position; a man who did not serve in the military, a man with controversial positions against traditional American political principles.
The world has to deal with this choice!

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on November 28. 2016.


Hussein Shobokshi is a Businessman and prominent columnist. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al Takreer on Al Arabiya, and in 1995, he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his B.A. in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
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