U.S. President Donald Trump visited the Middle East and met with leaders of many countries in a few short days. During this brief visit he seems to have solidified his position and his influence to an extent that makes it possible to push a deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians, something that has eluded many consecutive U.S. administrations.
Is it good news? I am not so sure. It may be very bad news, actually. For what may be presented to the world as a "peace deal" could be nothing but a path to instability.
President Donald Trump speaks during the Arab Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. (Photo: Madel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
And there are many examples in history. One such deal was struck during the First World War, dividing areas of influence in the Middle East between Britain and France following negotiations between Mark Sykes of Britain and François Georges-Picot of France. It was thus known as the Sykes-Picot agreement, and is sometimes traced back as the source of all the instability, troubles and wars that plague the Middle East to this day.
The problem is that most of the leaders Trump met during his visit do not have the long-term interests of their people or the stability of the region and the world in mind. Some came to power through military coups, and others depend on outside powers for their existence. They all lack the vision, will and determination to make difficult decisions, not to mention the ability to stand up to the U.S. or other dominant world powers.
The leaders can be pressured by Trump to accept a deal that could be bad for their country.
If we exclude Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the leaders with a stake in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are in a weak negotiating position and can be pressured by Trump to accept a deal that could be bad for their country, their people, the region and the world as a whole.
Other than war mongers, who benefit from wars one way or another, and racists, who have a sick view of others, no one denies that injustice, hopelessness and poverty are what fuels terrorism in today's world. Yet here we see Donald Trump and Middle-Eastern leaders touching a glowing orb at the new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh -- as if these theatrics are the solution to the terrorist attacks that are hitting the world day in and day out -- right after signing arms deals worth billions of dollars.
(Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
This happens while millions in refugee camps cannot find basic needs, and while hunger, plague and disease spread in war-torn countries a few hindered kilometres both to the north and south of Riyadh, where the "orb" glows.
The "peace" deal which Trump may be able to shove down Middle-East countries' throats will not bring any peace, because the stakeholders, the people of the Middle East and the people of the world have no one at the table advocating for them and their interests.
It will not solve the problem of terrorism that will continue to hit us all around the world, it will not end the sectarian violence and wars we are witnessing today, and will probably bring more war, suffering, violence and terror -- not to the Middle East alone, but to the whole world, even if that takes a while to happen. Twenty years?
The unfortunate reality is that this seems to be where things are heading, whether we like it or not.
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