Why Middle East peace has to start with Saudi Arabia

Rouhani a cleric whose administration struck the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with world powers decisively won a second term in Friday's election

Why Middle East peace has to start with Saudi Arabia

Noting how Trump did not mention Palestinian statehood or a two-state solution in his public remarks with Abbas, Knesset member Ofir Akunis (Likud) said, "This is a huge achievement, on a historic scale, and a big win for anyone opposed to the mistaken and risky idea of a Palestinian terror state in the heart of Israel".

Even on Iran, Washington is keeping its options open. "It's not just the Saudis, it's also the Emirates, also the Qataris, also the Iranians; they are all acquiring weapons". It is considered that Saudi Arabia and Israel may establish relations in the near future with the aim of moving together against Iran.

So Tillerson's statement is clueless about the Middle East. In practice, it mostly boiled down to a declaration of (proxy) war against Iran. As Senator Chris Murphy pointed out in an op-ed last weekend, "If we want Iran to end their ballistic missile program (which is primarily created to confront the Saudi threat), then feeding the arms race between the two nations probably isn't the best long-term strategy".

This toxic historical myth-making does not deter Trump. Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged in proxy wars in Syria and Yemen.

In the next year or two, the Trump administration will have to make choices about its Middle East policy. "It is also important that its enemies see that embrace".

At the same moment that Donald Trump was condemning the suicide bomber in Manchester as "an evil loser in life", he was adding to the chaos in which al-Qaeda and IS have taken root and flourished.

And no mention of the fact that the only approved form of Sunni Islam in Saudi Arabia, the fundamentalist Wahhabi doctrine, is nearly identical to the version of Islam espoused by the terrorists.

Regarding the concern over the Iranian threat, Trump said nothing that was not known before: "There is a growing realization among your [Israel] Arab neighbors that they have common cause with you in the threat posed by Iran, and it is indeed a threat, there's no question about that".

To its credit, USA Today's report did note the issue of PA-payments to terrorists, reporting on the "so-called Martyrs Fund that provides payments to families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned for attacking Israelis". The Palestinian people overwhelmingly support Abbas on this point.

The "militias" Iran trains and supports include those in Iraq that are fighting to free the city of Mosul from the clutches of Islamic State (they also have tacit American support), and the Hezbollah movement in southern Lebanon, which has been part of the Lebanese government since 2005. The far right in Israel's government opposed the measures, but without the usual kicking and screaming. What does all this amount to?

Trump's Middle East tour has already drawn much analysis and will undoubtedly draw much more. "Just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name "Israel",'" Mr. Trump said during an appearance with Netanyahu.

New York's Lee Zeldin, one of two Jewish Republicans in the House, was asked if Republicans were applying a double standard by not criticizing Trump for his intelligence leaks after they had criticized President Barack Obama for eight years over his Mideast policies. It was a ideal image of why Trump's temperament is so poorly suited to this job.

I presumed before the inauguration that as president, Donald Trump would move on and become the leader of all the Americans.

Overall, Trump took a break from the endless cascade of scandal that he has brought on himself since even before Election Day. But his time in the Middle East may have done more to deepen one of the region's main religious divides and alienate a key ally in that fight, experts told ABC News.

The intelligence community was anxious that Mr. Trump divulged enough information that the source of the information could be compromised. Trump is attempting to shift the dynamic. "We just got back from Saudi Arabia". A salutary side effect is the possibility of a detente with Israel.

Iran, like most large countries, has many conflicting political trends, and with careful selection and enough ill-will you can find enough extreme and ignorant comments to demonize the country.

Trump seemed to have a much better time in Riyadh than Brussels. This thinking has been tried before, and it's always failed, with the people of the Middle East paying the price.

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