Trump is making history in the Middle East

by Phil Schneider

Bahrain, United Arab Emirates. Who’s next? Are these deals truly breakthroughs? Nobody can deny that these are major breakthroughs. Perhaps it is the speed that it is transpiring that is so impressive. Israel and more Arab countries are not just sitting down to discuss peace initiatives – they are creating embassies and major economic ties between their countries and Israel. Who deserves the credit? That is a good question.

President Trump will certainly claim enormous amounts of credit for bringing peace into the Middle East. But, it is not just his accomplishment. Each of the leaders of the Arab countries that has established diplomatic relations with Israel has taken a brave stance against millions of Arabs who think that this is a horrible decision to accept Israel’s existence. When Anwar Sadat, the leader of Egypt made peace with Menachem Begin and Israel, he was targeted by the more radical elements in his country. Ultimately, a few years later, he was indeed assassinated. The peace agreement did hold out, but it has been a rather cold peace. Is that better than no peace? Yes. Israel has not fought any wars with Egypt since 1973. Before the peace agreement, Israel had fought four wars with Egypt between 1948 and 1973. So, the leaders of these Arab countries deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

The other leader who deserves enormous credit is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. His fixation on the existential threat that Israel faces from Iran has helped him think out of the box of ways to contain the Iranian threat. It led him to decide that any Arab country that is also threatened by Iran should become an ally with Israel. That is why he was more than happy to engage in quiet negotiations with these countries. He is basically building an anti-Iran coalition in the Middle East with the more moderate countries. Thereby, he is sidelining Iran and strengthening the Western influence in the region. This containment strategy is excellent, and the leader of this has been Netanyahu. This is indeed a historical agreement.

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