Trump and his Arab and Iranian Rivals

Monday, 27 August, 2018 - 10:15 Issue Number [14517]

The joy expressed by media outlets affiliated with Iran and “Hezbollah” and Islamic groups that support them, as well as Qatari media, over the idea that Trump’s days are numbered is merely wishful thinking given their fear of the US leader and failure to confront him.

This does not deny, however, the seriousness and depth of the crisis the president is going through. Many analyses are based on wishful thinking and gratification of one’s thirst for revenge. This will negatively impact these governments if these expectations turn out to be wrong.

This is what happened after the last US presidential elections. The same media asserted that Hilary Clinton’s defeat was a defeat to Washington’s traditional allies in our region. They viewed Trump’s victory as their own, simply based on the statements he made during his electoral campaign.

Results have shown that the opposite is true. Trump’s policy is the best thing to happen to Gulf countries in years and it has been a horrible nightmare to Iran.

Other wishful thinking from the opposing camp hoped that the Trump administration would abandon its stances on the Iran nuclear deal, fail to boycott Qatar and impose a solution and concessions in the war in Yemen. They also hoped that it would stop dealing with the Syrian and Iraqi crisis. After around two years, however, the result has been the complete opposite.

What about his current crisis? Nothing can be completely conclusive. It is likely that Trump will serve out the rest of his term. If he doesn’t, then it will be for reasons and in circumstances much greater than the ones we are hearing and witnessing now.

The US is a state of institutions and Trump’s opponents cannot get rid of him without enduring long procedures. Its presidential system differs from Europe’s parliamentary one, where the party usually takes the lead in getting rid of a head of state. This is what happened to Margaret Thatcher, who although she was one of the greatest British prime ministers, was ousted by her party, in wake of massive protests against the unpopular poll tax, before she could finish her third term in office.

The US president is higher than his party and he can only be removed from his post by impeachment or death. A sweeping majority is required for his impeachment, as well as the backing of two thirds of the Senate.

The Trump issue will remain a domestic US affair that will not alter and change the country’s major policies. The vice president and most Republicans adopt most of his foreign proposals, including those on the Middle East. Trump’s era will, therefore, go on, with or without him, until the end of 2020.

His policies of pressuring Iran in an unprecedented manner and supporting the legitimacy forces in Yemen in their war against the separatist militias will continue. This policy may even be stricter in Iraq and Syria against Iran and parties under its command.

Trump’s policies will consequently remain throughout the duration of this term. They will probably carry on to the succeeding term given that they have restored foreign policy to what it was before Obama’s flawed second presidential term.