On April 29, 2018, Mike Pompeo made his first visit to Israel as Secretary of State. This is how Prime Minister Netanyahu started off their joint press conference:
“Secretary Pompeo, it’s wonderful to welcome you.
“This is your first visit to Israel as Secretary of State. I think it’s significant that you chose, as did the President, to include Israel on this important itinerary. I think it’s symbolic of our friendship, which is deep and getting even deeper and stronger.
From the very beginning of his presidency Mr. Trump’s principal foreign policy target was the Iran nuclear deal, described by many as his predecessor’s “signature achievement”.
Thus, the US announced its withdrawal from the JCPOA on May 8, 2018. A month later, on June 12, 2018 Mr. Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore. Following the summit, he held a press conference and said, “My meeting with Chairman Kim was honest, direct, and productive. We got to know each other well in a very confined period of time, under very strong, strong circumstance. We’re prepared to start a new history and we’re ready to write a new chapter between our nations.”
The three paragraphs below were among the conclusions I had drawn from the first Trump-Kim summit held in Singapore on June 12, 2018 (*):
The Singapore summit marks the relaunching, under more favorable circumstances and with a lot of theater, of decades of diplomatic negotiations with Pyongyang on denuclearization. However, the DPRK is now an established nuclear power. Thus, there is a long road ahead and a US president with little patience.
One may conclude therefore that in the negotiations soon to be launched, the Trump White House would insist on rapid denuclearization and Kim Jong Un on the need to normalize relations and at least a gradual lifting of sanctions.
It seems that under Mr. Trump conventional diplomacy will give way to one-to-one deal-making with no mention of agreements, treaties and multilateralism.
With endless displays of camaraderie underling a special relationship between the two leaders and the two countries the Trump-Macron summit was a rather unconventional one, at least in terms of body language. But President Macron’s desire to forge such a relationship has a past. Okumaya devam et →
On September 19, President Trump addressed the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly. He called the Iran nuclear deal an embarrassment to the US and said, “I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it – believe me.”
Yesterday, the Washington Post reported that President Trump is expected to announce next week that he will “decertify” the international nuclear deal with Iran, saying it is not in the national interest of the United States and kicking the issue to a reluctant Congress. According to the Washington Post, Mr. Trump would hold off on recommending that Congress re-impose sanctions, which would constitute a clearer break from the pact. The decision would amount to a middle ground of sorts between Trump, who has long wanted to withdraw from the agreement completely, and many congressional leaders and senior diplomatic, military and national security advisers, who say the deal is worth preserving with changes if possible. Okumaya devam et →
Following his first meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago on April 7, President Trump said, “… the relationship developed by President Xi and myself I think is outstanding…”
On July 30, a disappointed President Trump launched a Twitter assault on Peking saying, “I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet… they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”Okumaya devam et →
July 24, 2017
The competition between Tehran and Riyadh for regional supremacy attracts a lot of international attention. Precision forecasts in today’s turbulent and unpredictable Middle East remain risky. However, in retrospect, one cannot but observe that the trend has been Iran’s ascendancy particularly since the coming to power of President Rouhani and his choice of Javad Zarif as foreign minister. Okumaya devam et →
It was a few months before the 2008 US Presidential election. I was talking to my American colleague at UNESCO. I said to her that since American presidents’ decisions have global implications, democratic countries should also have the opportunity vote in those elections within a reasonable quota to be shared among them. She responded, “an interesting idea…”. We both laughed. It was a joke but the premise was not entirely without logic.
Now that we are only months away from the end of President Obama’s second term in office, pundits have started to express opinions regarding his legacy. I feel that without voices from the Middle East the portrayal President Obama’s legacy would be incomplete. Okumaya devam et →
Western media reported that upon arrival in Riyadh on April 20, 2016 for the US-GCC summit President Obama was greeted at the airport by the governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar Al Saud and the event was not broadcast live on Saudi TV, as is routine with visiting heads of state, quickly generating talk of a “snub” because King Salman personally welcomed the GCC leaders personally on the tarmac.
The previous US-GCC summit was held at Camp David on May 14, 2015. And only four days before the summit Saudi Arabia announced that King Salman would not attend the meeting. This triggered the first round of speculation about a “snub”. The situation was further complicated with the news that only Kuwait and Qatar will attend the summit at head-of-state level. And, this is exactly what happened. UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sultan Qaboos of Oman and King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain chose to stay away for different reasons. Nonetheless, on September 4, 2015, King Salman arrived at Andrews Airbase for a bilateral visit to the US. He was greeted there by Secretary of State John Kerry. Okumaya devam et →
During the weeks preceding “implementation day” for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), world’s attention focused once again on the Iran nuclear deal. Different aspects of the agreement negotiated between Iran and the “P5+1” or “the US and five other nations” were re-examined. Some analysts saw the deal as a landmark development and expressed optimism that it could end three decades of hostility between Tehran and Washington and usher in an era of cooperation in Middle East conflicts. Others appeared more reserved. And, some continued to reject it as a “bad deal”. Two observations can be made with regard to this debate:
Firstly, the “five other nations” referred to are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany. In other words, Iran’s counterparts at the table were the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, world’s governing body plus Germany, EU’s “primus inter pares”. This in itself is a measure of the achievement which Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described as a “golden page” in his country’s history opening new windows for Iran’s engagement with the world. Okumaya devam et →