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Trump Ghosts the Middle East Helping Russian Dominance

Ghosting. The millennials use the term when someone (usually a man) disappears from a relationship after getting what he wants: no telephone calls, no emails, no texts. He becomes a ghost. He moves on to bankrupt another person’s love life.

The United States under Trump “ghosted” the Middle East and North Africa. The United States, under George W. Bush, invaded Iraq, casting it into sectarian violence; under Barrack Obama the United Sates overthrew Gaddafi in Libya and unleashed more violence, and funded rebel groups in Syria, dumping billions of dollars of weapons, and then President Trump threw a grenade into the Jerusalem issue in favor of Israel, and under Trump the United States has lost any significant seat at the table to decide the future of the Levant.

This has never been more evident as the events of the last few weeks unfolded. It is clear the Jared Kushner so-called peace plan never existed or only existed to embolden Israel to continue the dominance of Palestine and pass laws that exclude Arabs from Israel. Trump and Kushner supported the ruthless killer Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in his boycott of Qatar, which houses America’s largest airbase in the region, and his war in Yemen, starving half the population to death.

Trump aided Russia’s power grab of the regional diplomatic process and it became the region’s military guarantor. Three events in the last two weeks makes it clear that Russia has not only won the military advantage but also the political.

First, Russia is actively working on the reconciliation of Hamas and the Fatah which divided their control of Palestine in 2006. Hamas controls Gaza and Fatah represents the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Part of this shuttle diplomacy is a recent visit to Moscow by Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ top leader. A divided Gaza and West Bank plays into Israel’s hands; therefore, Russia’s efforts deals a geo-political blow to Israel.

Second, the Astana Syrian Reconciliation talks just concluded their 11th meeting and it is clear that Russia, Iran and Turkey are in-charge, without the United States being at the table. The most striking aspect of the brief meeting was a chilling call by Syria, supported by Russia, for all foreign armies to leave Syria. This will force the Kurds to decide between making peace with Assad and gain a level of autonomy without further conflict and shedding their relationship with the United States or face perpetual war with the backing of an ally like the United States that could “ghost” at any minute.

Third, Iran has increasingly felt emboldened after the Trump administration turned its back on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and this week Iran is openly tested new medium-range missile technology. Iran’s President Rouhani has threatened the United States publicly.

He called for the Islamic world to unite against “enemies of Islam which means Israel and the United States.”

At the same time, Revolutionary Guard’s General Amir Ali Hajizadeh appeared on Iranian television and declared that he has the capability to directly attack the American airbase in Qatar, al-Dhafra in the UAE, and Kandahar in Afghanistan.

Trump has ghosted the European Union and they have responded by working to create their own payment channel to by-pass the United States dollar. This move plays into Russia’s hand since it controls 30 percent of Europe’s natural gas flow and strengthens Russia’s ability to be the Levant power broker, and avoid Unites States sanctions, and determine the development of oil pipelines with its new ally, Turkey.

This map explains the Russian advantage. The magenta lines are pipelines controlled by Russia or its allies. The light blue lines are favorable to Turkey.

By gaining geo-political dominance in the Levant and Turkey, Russia has achieved a strategic goal of controlling oil into Europe. The Syrian Civil War forged a quasi-ally relationship between Turkey, Russia and Iran on one hand and unity and distrust against the United States on the other hand.

Trump’s ghosting the region completed the Russian strategy.

William Church


Islamic World Books