By Menan Khater
By Menan Khater
Rabat – From Syria, to Iraq and Palestine, Trump administration might not make any difference .
Despite the controversy that had been surrounding Donald Trump during his presidential campaign, his election as the new U.S. president on Tuesday was not much of a surprise with regard to Middle East conflicts.
Over the past few months, republican Trump sparked widespread uproar over the hostile statements he made in his speeches and debates.
Among the most controversial statements he made was announcing that he plans to build a wall around the southern border of the U.S. in a bid to prevent Mexicans migration. In early September, Mexico’s president Enrique Pena Nieto described Trump as a “threat to his country.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s stance towards Middle Eastern issues, including the war in Syria, the fight against Islamic State ‘IS’ militants, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, were even more scary for Muslims and Arabs even those living inside the states.
Now that Trump has officially won the elections race, the fate of those ongoing Middle Eastern issues is ambiguous.
War on ISIS
ISIS-affiliated militants have wreaked havoc in many cities over the past two years, chiefly in Syria, Iraq and Libya. While there have been attempts to retake Mosul city of Iraq, IS threat extended to Europe and the U.S. as well.
According to Trump, the U.S. under Obama’s administration has not been doing enough in combating this threat, but he never announced the actual plan in combating ISIS, saying that it should remain as a secret.
When asked about the plan, during a speech in late September, he said: “we have to knock the hell out of them,” adding that the U.S. should bring together countries being affected with ISIS to fight them, and prevent ISIS fighters form entering the United States.
Nareen Shammo, Iraqi political activist and advocate for Yazidi rights, told Morocco World News that Trump’s election made no difference that his contestant democrat Hillary Clinton. “The first had explicit policies towards Iraq when she was Secretary of State and the other is racist which is something I personally denounce as an activist.”
However, Shammo was not satisfied with the democrats’ policies in fighting ISIS, and believes the U.S. could have taken a stronger stand against the militant group to curb their expansion over the past tow years.
“Trump is notorious for being a non-conventional person, but at least he relatively has a clear objective against ISIS,” Shammo said.
Deadlock in Syria
Similarly, Syria has been torn between Assad, his allies, and opposition brigades, especially Jabhat Fath Al-Sham (JFS). In September 2015, Russia officially intervened in the conflict by sending boots on the ground and launching several airstrikes.
Despite the fact that the five-years long conflict in Syria had already displaced millions of civilians and torched down a significant number of towns and villages, political resolutions have reached a deadlock. Several ceasefire agreements between both powers were broken at the cost of Syrian civilians.
Trump blamed Clinton for this. He said in late October, in an interview with Reuters, that Democrat Hillary Clinton’s plan for Syria would “lead to World War Three,” referring to the involvement of Russia, and Iran in the fight.
Ali Al-Ibrahim, a Syrian journalist based in Idlib, and who had lost several family members to the Syrian conflict, told Morocco World News that it does not matter who is the next president; their views are the same towards Syria.
Al-Ibrahim believes Trump’s victory is normal in the context of the U.S. decreasing role at the international level. However, while many in the U.S. believe that Syria gradually has become a hub for international “jihadists,” Al-Ibrahim said it is not a priority for the U.S. to end the Syrian conflict right away.
With Trump winning the elections and increasing efforts to enhance bilateral relations with Russia, the situation becomes more complex. According to Al-Ibrahim, the earlier pressure of the U.S. on Russia during peace deals negotiations has temporarily stopped airstrikes.
“The rapprochement of the U.S. towards Russia will legitimize the Assad regime, with potential talks between both countries. Additionally, it will end up with the U.S. banning all forms of aid to the opposition groups,” Al-Ibrahim said.
Two-state solution in Palestine
Few hours after the announcement of Trump as the president, Israeli education minister Naftali Bennett reportedly said this means Palestinians will “never have their own state.”
Trump has explicitly said time and again that the Israeli settlements in Palestine is not a crime. Under the Obama administration, there were pressures to halt those settlements and reach a two-state solution. In late September, Obama told Israeli PM Benjamin Netenyahu that the growth of settlements is a threat to the two-state solution.
But that does not change the fact that the U.S. is still Israel’s biggest ally, according to Khalid Kraizim, Palestinian political researcher. “The U.S. policies have not changed towards Palestine since Bush [the father]. It is based on supporting Israel,” Kraizim told Morocco World News.
“What’s new with Trump being elected is the he bluntly supports the increase of Israeli settlements,” Kraizim added.
In the mean time, Israel does not need to obtain permissions to proceed with settlements. Last night, a new settlement plan in an industrial city in western Ramallah was ratified.
“Trump cannot do anything more,” Kraizim said. Trump had already admitted earlier in February that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is “probably the toughest negotiation of any kind anywhere in the world.”
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