U.S. President Donald Trump had announced early this year that he would withdraw American troops from Syria. There is yet to be any development as troops still remain. The neocons among the Trump administration – or the “war party” – are striving to maintain the U.S. presence in Syria. Trump’s Iran policy is also Israel-focused – just like in Syria. Trump withdrew from the “Iran Nuclear Deal” with the pressure of the “Israeli lobby.” His reason to withdraw was an Israel-based intelligence that Iran violated the terms of the deal. Yet, according to international institutions supervising the deal and the sides of the deal, Iran is abiding by the rules.
The Trump administration stipulated very heavy conditions to sit at the diplomacy table with Tehran. One of these conditions is of a nature that can be brought forward in the case one of the sides are defeated as a result of war. The Trump administration stipulated similar conditions in North Korea as well, where negotiations could not be concluded. As a result of these heavy conditions, the leaders’ summit launched between Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un also ended in a fiasco.
Trump, who undermines diplomacy, thinks he can get countries to listen through military and economic pressure. Now, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says, “We are ready to negotiate with Iran without preconditions,” but it does not sound convincing. The sanctions on Iran are obvious and the U.S. intention to change the regime is no secret. What are Americans going to discuss with the Iranians? How they are going to switch the regime?
Neocons are associating U.S. presence in Syria with Iran’s military presence in the country. In other words, the Americans are going to continue to stay as long as Iran is in Syria. This month, Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton, his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben-Shabbat, and Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev are going to hold a tripartite summit in Jerusalem. Israel and the U.S. have long been striving to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to get Iran to leave Syria. The Trump administration is giving Moscow the message that it will support Israel’s air raids as long as Iran or its affiliated forces remain in Syria. At the summit in Jerusalem, the parties are going to discuss Iran’s presence in Syria.
On a different note, Trump’s son-in-law and chief adviser Jared Kushner is organizing tours to garner support from the Arab world for the “Manama Conference,” which is designed as a leg of the so-called Palestine peace plan. Wide participation in the conference that is going to be held in the Bahraini capital Manama on June 25-26 does not seem very likely under these conditions. The most overt support in terms of participation in the conference to date came from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar. Jordan and Morocco’s positions are not yet clear.
Palestinians do not trust the plan, which Trump likes to describe as the “Deal of the Century.” Kushner, who was on HBO Sunday for an interview, answered the question, “Why don’t Palestinians trust you?” as, “I did not come to be trusted.” Kushner also claims that Palestinians are not on the same page as their leaders. Accordingly, Palestinians are more concerned with economic welfare than they are with having a state.
This plan, as stated in the May 30, 2019 Time magazine article by Aaron David Miller, who previously carried out negotiations on behalf of the U.S. for years in the Middle East, basically shows that Trump and Kushner think the Palestinians can be bought. Miller, who noted that the Trump administration has been running an unlimited pressure campaign on Palestinians for two years, said, “Had they wanted an environment to sow the seeds of distrust, anger and suspicion, they could not have done any better.”
The Trump administration really did maltreat the Palestinians. It gave Israel whatever it wanted. This is why the Palestinians have no trust in Kushner. As Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says, Trump’s Palestine plan seems like the “Deal of the next century,” not this century.