US President’s Vision For A New World Order Of Israel, Sunnis Gulf States vs. Iran

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Donald Trump talks with Saudi King Salman

While Russia has been busy influencing the republican President Donald Trump’s policy, it has not been alone in this endeavor. The countries of Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia and other Sunnis gulf states have been hard at work to influence US policy against the Shia Muslim/ Persian country of Iran.

The one fly in the ointment is that Russia and Iran have been long term allies.This is why foreign policy experts suffer no belief that Russia will honor any of its commitments to oust Iran from Syria in exchange for President Trump agreeing to withdraw US military troops from Syria. There is concern that President Trump will attempt this agreement at the upcoming July 16, 2018 summit between the two leaders.

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Here is the rest of the story…

On June 18, 2018 Adam Entous of the New Yorker penned the following report, “Donald Trump’s New World Order” (“How the President, Israel, and the Gulf states plan to fight Iran—and leave the Palestinians and the Obama years behind.”)

Excerpts:

“On the afternoon of December 14, 2016, Ron Dermer, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, rode from his Embassy to the White House to attend a Hanukkah party. The Obama Administration was in its final days, and among the guests were some of the President’s most ardent Jewish supporters, who were there to bid him farewell. But Dermer, like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, did not share their sense of loss. For the Israeli leadership, the Trump Presidency could not come soon enough.”

“Netanyahu believed that Barack Obama had “no special feeling” for the Jewish state, as one of his aides once put it, and he resented Obama’s argument that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians was a violation of basic human rights and an obstacle to security, not least for Israel itself. He also believed that Obama’s attempt to foster a kind of balance of power between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the Middle East was naïve, and that it underestimated the depth of Iran’s malign intentions throughout the region.”

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DERMER/ NETANYAHU

“Obama was hardly anti-Israel. His Administration had provided the country with immense military and intelligence support. He had also protected Netanyahu in the United Nations Security Council, when, in 2011, he issued his only veto, blocking a resolution condemning Jewish settlement building. And Obama opposed efforts by the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court, after Netanyahu shouted over the telephone to the President’s advisers that “this is a nuclear warhead aimed at my crotch!” (Netanyahu’s office disputes the American account of the call.)”

“Over time, Obama and his advisers came to believe that Netanyahu had been playing them, occasionally feigning interest in a two-state solution while expanding settlements in the West Bank, thus making the creation of a viable Palestinian state increasingly difficult to conceive. By Obama’s second term, his aides no longer bothered to mask their frustration with the Israelis. “They were never sincere in their commitment to peace,” Benjamin Rhodes, one of Obama’s closest foreign-policy advisers, told me. “They used us as cover, to make it look like they were in a peace process. They were running a play, killing time, waiting out the Administration.”

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OBAMA/ NETANYAHU

“The relationship between Obama and Netanyahu grew more poisonous every year. In 2012, Obama’s team suspected that the Israeli leadership backed Mitt Romney’s Presidential campaign. Tensions between Susan Rice, Obama’s national-security adviser, and Ron Dermer were so fierce that they never met alone. The Administration became convinced that Netanyahu, after years of threatening to use force against Iran, was bluffing, that he was really trying to goad the Americans into taking a harder line and even launching strikes of their own. One of Obama’s advisers was quoted as calling Netanyahu a “chickenshit,” causing a diplomatic uproar.”

“An era seemed to be ending. The 1993 Oslo Accords and subsequent negotiations had raised hopes among Palestinians that they would get a state comprising Gaza, the West Bank, and, as a capital, some part of East Jerusalem. But after years of settlement building, a second intifada, instability throughout the region, and the rise of absolutism on both sides, a paralyzing mistrust took hold. Although around half of Israelis and Palestinians still want two states, neither side believes the other will move forward in good faith.”

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KERRY/ NETANYAHU

“Late in Obama’s second term, Secretary of State John Kerry brought to the White House a stack of maps of the West Bank that were prepared by the State Department and vetted by U.S. intelligence agencies. Kerry spread out the maps on a large coffee table. As Frank Lowenstein, one of Kerry’s top advisers, put it to me, the maps allowed him to see “the forest for the trees.” When the settlement zones, the illegal outposts, and the other areas off limits to Palestinian development were consolidated, they covered almost sixty per cent of the West Bank. “It looked like a brain tumor,” an official who attended the session told me. “No matter what metric you’re using—existing blocs, new settlements, illegal outposts—you’re confronting the end of the two-state solution.”

“Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, had lost all faith in the Administration’s efforts. A former official recalled Abbas saying ti Kerry during one tense exchange, “You can’t deliver the Israelis.”

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ABBAS

“In late September, 2016, Obama flew to Israel for the funeral of Shimon Peres, the former Prime Minister, who shared the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize with Yasir Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin for his part in the Oslo Accords. The signs of a shifting political climate were clear. Abbas attended the funeral, but he wasn’t acknowledged by any of the Israeli leaders in their remarks. After the service, veterans of the negotiations gathered on the terrace of the King David Hotel, in Jerusalem, for an impromptu lunch. Martin Indyk, the former U.S. special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, told the group, “This is the wake for the Oslo process.”

“When Obama and the American delegation arrived back in the U.S., they learned that the Israeli government had approved the building of a new settlement in the West Bank. A top Obama adviser said that the move amounted to an unmistakable “F.U.”

“And so, unlike the melancholy well-wishers who shouted “We love you, Mr. President!” to Obama at the White House Hanukkah party, Dermer saw the election of Donald Trump as an opportunity. Later that day, Dermer went to another Hanukkah party, where he was far more welcome, just down Pennsylvania Avenue, at the Trump International Hotel. As Dermer told me, “We saw light at the end of the tunnel.”

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“The Israelis did have one lingering fear. They worried that, before Obama left office, his Administration would attempt to punish them at the U.N. Security Council. Israeli spy agencies had picked up on discussions about possible Security Council resolutions, ranging from a condemnation of settlements to a measure that would enshrine in international law so-called “final status” parameters, locking in Obama’s position on the two-state solution. Israeli officials say that intelligence reports submitted to Netanyahu showed that Obama and his team were secretly orchestrating the U.N. resolutions—a charge that the Americans later denied. Just after Trump’s election victory, Dermer expressed his anxieties about a possible resolution to Vice-President Joe Biden and told Denis McDonough, Obama’s chief of staff, “Don’t go to the U.N. It will force us into a confrontation. It will force us to reach out to the other side.” The “other side,” in this case, was the President-elect. (McDonough declined to comment, but officials close to him disputed Dermer’s account.)”

The Israelis already had ties to the Trump family: Netanyahu had a long friendship with Charles Kushner, the father of Ivanka Trump’s husband, Jared Kushner. In recent years, the Kushners, Orthodox Jews who made their fortune in the real-estate business and hold conservative views on Israel, have donated large sums of money to Israeli causes and charities. When Netanyahu visited the Kushners at their home in New Jersey, he sometimes stayed overnight.”

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“Dermer, who grew up in a political family in Miami Beach and moved to Israel in 1996, recalled accompanying Netanyahu to Trump Tower, in New York, in the early aughts for a meeting with Donald Trump. Dermer and Trump met again in 2014, at an alumni dinner at the Wharton School of Business. Dermer, who had become Ambassador to the U.S. the year before, gave a speech in which he said that he had chosen Wharton after reading Trump’s book “The Art of the Deal.”  In March, 2016, Dermer was introduced to Jared Kushner by Gary Ginsberg, an executive at Time-Warner who had helped write speeches for Netanyahu. Dermer and Kushner stayed in close touch throughout the campaign and the transition.”

“These relationships paid off during the U.N. battle and beyond. In late December, 2016, Egypt, on behalf of the Palestinians, began circulating among Security Council members a draft settlements resolution, causing alarm in the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem. After consulting with Netanyahu, Dermer called Kushner and told him that the Obama Administration was leading the efforts at the United Nations. Dermer asked for the transition team’s help in blunting the work of the sitting President.”

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KUSHNER/ NETANYAHU

“This was an audacious move, particularly for a client state. The President-elect customarily follows the principle known as “one President at a time.” Obama’s aides thought of the U.N. settlements resolution as largely symbolic, but Netanyahu behaved as though Israel were in mortal danger. He feared that a second, more far-reaching resolution setting out the parameters of a Palestinian state would soon reach the Security Council. The Israelis found the Trump circle easy to persuade. They had no government or diplomatic experience, and were eager to please their staunchly pro-Israel and pro-Likud base. American and Israeli officials told me that the Israeli government’s use of its intelligence capabilities to pit the President-elect against the sitting President had no modern precedent. What’s more, Trump and his team seemed more trusting of a foreign leader and his intelligence than they were of the President of the United States and American intelligence agencies.”

“Under pressure from Netanyahu and Trump, Egypt withdrew its sponsorship of the resolution, but 4 other Security Council members picked it up and pushed for a vote. Kushner had asked Obama’s aides for a “heads-up” if a resolution was in the works, so when he heard a vote was coming he felt that the Trump team had been deceived. As Obama was making his final moves at the United Nations, Kushner told aides, “They had their turn. They failed. Kushner called Michael Flynn, the choice for national-security adviser, and Steve Bannon, Trump’s strategic adviser. Bannon had grown so fond of Dermer that he sometimes referred to him as “my wingman.” The decision was made to press Security Council members to delay the ballot or defeat the resolution. Flynn got off the phone with Kushner and told aides that this was Trump’s “No. 1 priority.”

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“The Trump transition team proved woefully unprepared to carry out its task, scrambling just to get telephone numbers for the ambassadors and foreign ministers they’d need to lobby. Flynn did know how to find one of them: Sergey Kislyak, the Russian Ambassador. (Flynn and Kislyak had been in contact, including during the transition, and their communications later became a focus of the investigation undertaken by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The F.B.I. had been monitoring Kislyak’s communications as part of its routine surveillance of foreign spies and diplomats.) But even that connection didn’t help. Instead of issuing a veto, Obama abstained. The settlements resolution passed, with support from the Russians. A second resolution never materialized.”

“A few weeks after Trump’s Inauguration, Dermer and other Israeli officials visited the White House to share a summary of Israel’s intelligence documenting the alleged role of Obama Administration officials in the settlements resolution. The Israelis also provided the Americans, through “intelligence channels,” with some of their underlying intelligence reports on the U.S. role. U.S. officials consider Israel to be one of the United States’ biggest counterintelligence threats.”

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DERMER

“With Obama finally out of the way, Netanyahu could concentrate on getting the Trump team to embrace his grand strategy for transforming the direction of Middle Eastern politics. His overarching ambition was to diminish the Palestinian cause as a focus of world attention and to form a coalition with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to combat Iran, which had long supported Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and had taken strategic advantage of the American folly in Iraq and the war in Syria.”

“Obama had not been at all naïve about Iran’s behavior, but he felt that the nuclear agreement would limit its power. Trying to topple the Iranian regime seemed to Obama dangerously in line with previous adventures in the Middle East, in which dreams of democratic revolution backed by force ended in nightmare. What’s more, Obama was wary of efforts by the Saudis, who were hardly champions of democracy and human rights, to pull him deeper into regional conflicts.”

“But the Israelis, the Gulf states, and now Trump believed the opposite—that Iran was the principal enemy in the region and that the nuclear pact showed weakness, and only fuelled Iranian expansionism. Before the Inauguration, Netanyahu had taken the bold step of quietly dispatching Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad, Israel’s foreign-intelligence agency, to Washington. Cohen briefed Flynn on the Iranian threat, in an attempt to insure that the two governments would be closely aligned in their approach. (Intelligence veterans said that Cohen’s visit was a breach of protocol.)”

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FLYNN/ KISLYAK

“On Inauguration Day, State Department buses carried members of the diplomatic corps to the Capitol. The ambassadors in attendance had radically different perspectives on the incoming Administration. The French Ambassador, Gérard Araud, had tweeted after the election, “A world is collapsing before our eyes. Vertigo.” The presence of Kislyak took some observers by surprise. One of the European ambassadors at the ceremony said to Kislyak, “You are the most important ambassador here today!” Kislyak smiled and gestured at Ron Dermer. Actually, Kislyak said, “he is the most important ambassador here today.”

“There was one other Middle Eastern ambassador who had extraordinary access to the new President’s team: Yousef Al Otaiba, of the United Arab Emirates. Otaiba had been introduced to Kushner during the campaign by Thomas Barrack, a Lebanese-American billionaire who was raising money for Trump and was friendly with Otaiba’s father. Barrack knew that Kushner was already working closely with Dermer, and he thought Trump’s team needed to hear the Gulf Arab perspective.”
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MBZ

“Traditionally, Gulf leaders frowned on contact with Israeli government officials, but Otaiba’s boss, Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, the most politically important of the emirates, took a different view. Bin Zayed, known as M.B.Z., believed that the Gulf states and Israel shared a common enemy: Iran. Like Netanyahu, M.B.Z. considered Iran to be the primary threat to his country.”

Link to entire lengthy report: Donald Trump’s New World Order | The New Yorker

2 comments

  1. Gronda, there is so much inconsistency in any tactics used by the US President. I dare not use strategy as that would require planning, due diligence, consistency and clear messaging.

    If it is OK to talk with North Korea, why is not OK to talk with Iran and improve an imperfect agreement as requested by the six other parties to the agreement?

    Same question goes for Cuba, where we had already made the tougher step to open the door? Why close it some?

    As for the Middle East, the western world and even leaders in the region do not have a firm grasp on what makes sense to do. In some countries we are on the side of Shia and Kurds other countries we are on the side of the Sunnis. The word of the US has been questionable in the minds of Middle Eastern leaders well before Trump. He has not improved that lot.

    It is also conflicted by these proxy wars being fought. What is the best thing to do in the Middle East? It is anyone’s guess. But, I do not feel confident in the US leadership to reach any profound conclusion. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      President Trump has virtually no knowledge about US and World history to where he is bound to make poor, chaotic foreign policy decisions.He doesn’t compensate well for his level of ignorance.

      As best as I can figure out, he is a Russian asset to where he favors Russia whenever possible. He has been influenced by Israel to side with Sunnis countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE and others against Iran, the Shia Persian country and any country that deals with Iran like Qatar.

      The flies in the foreign policy ointment is that Russia is friendly with Iran, China, and N Korea.The president has to finesse these connections.

      Hugs, Gronda

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