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Trump takes a business approach to the Middle East

US Diplomacy in the Middle East Raises Concerns

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Last week’s US President Donald Trump sent Jared Kushner to the Middle East in a travel that will intertwine diplomacy with business in the most unusual fashion.

Last Friday, President Donald Trump managed to draft a $8 billion dollar weapons sale to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, vividly criticized by the Democrats. He commented on Iranian threats to explain the decision, as the deal was approved bypassing Congress. 

Wile Jared Kushner is set to travel  to Israel and Jordan this week, Donald Trump expressed his support to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on his twitter account, who was forming a new coalition.

A multi-billion dollar deal

Last Sunday, Donald Trump shared what he called “the deal of the century” when he announced that he would sell weapons to Saudi Arabia for a couple billion dollars.

Last Friday afternoon right before Memorial Day weekend, the Trump administration “invoked an obscure state-of-emergency provision that would allow it to sell billions of dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without giving Congress a chance to block the sale”, reported The Intercept.

An anonymous source from the Democratic Party reported that “the administration was using the measure to clear a backlog of more than 20 proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, many of which would be blocked if they came to a vote in the Senate”. Weapons will also be sold to Jordan, added the BBC.

Some Democrats expressed their concern on Trump’s diplomacy, like Senator Robert Menendez who said that Mr Trump was “granting favors to authoritarian countries”.

Moreover, Congress’ members heavily criticized this decision, as Saudi Arabia violated human rights in Yemen during airstrikes last month. The kingdom was also directly involved in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khasghoggi in Istanbul last October.

Read on Alvexo: “Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen Resigns”

1,500 additional troops

On the same day, Donald Trump announced that about 1,500 additional troops will be sent to the Middle East.

During a press conference, the US President said: “We’re going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective. It’ll be about 1,500 people. We want to have protection in the Middle East. Some very talented people are going to the Middle East right now. And we’ll see what happens”.

According to the New York Times, commanders and Trump supporters seemed disappointed by the number as the Pentagon declared earlier that 10,000 soldiers would be necessary.

Mr Trump then justified the number by explaining Iran’s situation: “They cannot have nuclear weapons and under Obama’s horrible agreement, they would have had nuclear weapons within five or six years”.

As a reminder, tensions between the United States and Iran escalated last week as Washington put pressure on foreign countries who are still buying from Iran by ending exemptions from sanctions.

Last year, the White house reinstated sanction against Iran after abandoning the nuclear deal built by former US President Barack Obama and signed by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany.

A friendly meeting with “Bibi”

Last but not least, Jared Kushner is set to visit Israel this week. Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the creation of a town called “Trump City” in the Golan Heights. Although the construction has not started yet, several officials said that 24 families have already expressed their interest. It is expected to host 97 families in total.

On the same day, The Times of Israel confirmed that the city of Petah Tikva will name its town square after President Trump on July 4th, corresponding to the US Independence Day.

A few hours later, the White House released a statement declaring that the United States would organize an “economic workshop” in Bahrain in June, “to produce strategies to invest in the Palestinians and other Arabs”.

Experts have expressed their doubt on the compatibility between this event and the support of Israel’s current policy.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.