Today, President Trump had what a majority of Americans would consider to be a successful foreign policy day. His tone when speaking about terrorism to the core of the Muslim world in the Middle East was generally approved; the left liked that he didn’t go off the rails and the right witnessed a breath of fresh air after eight years of failure to even acknowledge the problem.

Not everyone was excited by his message, but conservatives should be able to agree that he sounded exponentially better than President Obama. He didn’t call it “radical Islamic terrorism” but he wasn’t making excuses for them, either. Most importantly, he urged Muslim countries themselves to take the lead on expelling and extinguishing the threat; there were no Neocon or Establishment hawk leanings towards police action by America.

Now, his and the world’s attentions turn to Israel where he has the greatest foreign policy opportunity as well as the biggest potential letdown for those of us who consider Israel to be our most important strategic ally. His trip to the Jewish state will set in motion his agenda in the Middle East. After success in Saudi Arabia, any failure from a diplomatic perspective will be magnified. There are already people on the right attacking his implicit support for Saudi Arabia’s most heinous activities. If he doesn’t follow that up with an equally strong (or stronger) level of support for Israel, the comparisons to Obama’s policies on the Middle East will grow louder.

Will he move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? Preliminary reports tell us they won’t, but this is President Trump so you never know what will happen until it does.

Can he avoid public conflict over allegedly revealing sensitive Israeli intelligence to the Russians? We can assume any dismay from the Israelis or reassurances from the President will happen behind closed doors, so this is likely a non-topic during this trip as far as the public is concerned.

Pre-1967 borders have suddenly entered the equation since the White House released a video showing Israel without the “occupied” territories as part of their lands. This may be played off as an intern’s mistake or it may become an issue.

The BDS movement will be discussed. It’s an issue that should bring unification between the administration and Israeli leaders, particularly as he will undoubtedly point out how the movement hurts Muslims as much or more than it hurts Jews.

Lastly, will there be any talks of a two-state solution? If it happens during the Israel trip, it will push this portion of his agenda to the forefront and we can expect repercussions from many on the American right as well as an adversarial situation in Israel itself. This is unlikely, but again, it’s Trump so you never know.

If President Trump makes it out of Saudi Arabia and Israel with both allies feeling good about their relationship with America, Trump will be set up for success. If Israel turns south on the President, this could be the start of a foreign policy disaster that will likely spiral throughout his term(s).

This took Trump what Ten Days?

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, in a phone call on Sunday with U.S. President Donald Trump, agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, a White House statement said.

Trump, during his presidential campaign last year, had called for Gulf states to pay for establishing safe zones to protect Syrian refugees.

A statement after the phone call said the two leaders agreed on the importance of strengthening joint efforts to fight the spread of Islamic State militants.

“The president requested and the King agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, as well as supporting other ideas to help the many refugees who are displaced by the ongoing conflicts,” the statement said.

This is what you get when you have a president & administration of action vs one of hashtags.

Via the Conservative Treehouse who notes:

This is a jaw-dropping exhibition of the scope of President Trump’s strategic leverage. Remember how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson refused to take the bait from Senator Marco Rubio regarding Saudi Arabia? Put this outcome in the dividend column.

I have an odd feeling the press and protesters will have very little to say about this.

Update: Short Answer Yes.

Can anyone tell me what the Obama Administration and their team of the smartest people in the world have been doing these last 2 years?

Update 2: Don Surber

President Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman agreed on creating a safe zone for Muslim refugees within the Middle East, the New Indian Express (as well as Reuters and Bloomberg) reported.

Conservatives have long asked why America and Europe must take in refugees when their Arab Muslim neighbors have the money to help their fellow Muslims.

Trump is making it so.

I’m amazed that Surber doesn’t have an admin job yet.


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You know we really have it easy in the US. When our government lies to our faces about the Iranian Nuke deal we can pound our chests, talk about the debasement of democracy and how these poor decisions are making the middle east a less safe place knowing that in the end it will be a long hard slog for Iran to hit us with a nuke.

However if you are a nation actually IN the middle east and not half a world away from Iran this threat is not theoretical it’s happeing right in front of you and is cause some people to think twice about things that have always been:

Among Egyptian writers, the idea of regular dealings with Israel still excites fierce debate, even after nearly four decades of official peace. The owner of the prominent independent daily al-Masry al-Yawm outspokenly advocates pragmatic close bilateral ties, in Egypt’s own interest. But leading al-Ahram columnist Hassan Nafaa, in sharp contrast, argues strenuously against “free gifts” to Israel.

It is intriguing, however, that today even some Egyptian writers and academics most critical of ties to Israel acknowledge that the younger generation, turned against Iran, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood both by their own experience and by their government’s changing positions, is losing some of its animosity toward their Israeli neighbors. Examples of this discourse can be found in articles penned this year by Egyptian authors Muhammad Laithi in al-Watan and by Ahmed Hidji in al-Monitor, who cites three different Cairo professors lamenting their students’ growing openness to Israel.

and not just in Egypt but in Saudi Arabia too

Particularly noteworthy in this respect is a long article in the current issue of the popular and influential pan-Arab weekly al-Majallah, based in London but widely circulated and read in both print and online editions in the region.  This article not only reviews the long history of Arab-Israeli relations, but also cites statements about that by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer at great length.

Responses by Saudi writers are mixed, but some are very vocally in favor of dealing with Israel.  For example, Ahmed Adnan, writing in the alarab.co.uk website, even argues that Arabs should follow Turkey’s model:  “Ankara has ties with Israel, but no one can accuse Turkey of being biased against the Palestinians.”  His article was reprinted in the leading al-Arabiya website on August 8.

And this stuff isn’t just going on in Theory, it’s happening in practice:

After several decades of unremitting hostility, some of the fiercest opponents of Israel are starting to view the Jewish state very differently. Covert ties with Saudi Arabia are now becoming more open. Egypt, whose cold peace with Israel remained frozen in open hostility since Anwar Sadat’s assassination, has a government that is no longer shy about treating Israel as an ally if not a friend. Jerusalem’s relations with much of the Third World, especially African nations, are also warming up.

Oddly enough our liberal friends are not amused as the cause of this effect are the failing policies of Barack Obama.

those nations that are targeted most directly by Iran—Israel and Saudi Arabia—understand that U.S. appeasement of Iran advances the latter’s drive for regional hegemony as well as merely postponing the moment when it will achieve nuclear capability. The coming together of other Middle East nations in reaction to this travesty is evidence that those most at risk consider Obama’s false promises and his desire for a general U.S. retreat from the region a clear and present danger to the region.

Or to put it simply the realities of the world are asserting itself and the fictions that might be comfortable to the readers of the NYT are of scant comfort to those actually in the Middle east.

All of this is via Elder of Zyion which should be a regular stop if you wish to know what is going on in the Middle East.

 

 

MosqueBy John Ruberry

One of the five pillars of Islam is zakāt, that is, charitable giving.

It seems that the six Arabian Gulf States, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Obama, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia have, according to Amnesty International, “offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees.” These Muslim nations have been exposed as hypocrites, but none more than the Saudis, whose autocratic king counts Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques as one of his titles.

Images drive the news–and the sad photograph of a drowned three year-old Syrian boy that washed up on a Turkish beach caught the attention of many people across the world.

The record of Gulf States and other Muslim nations in regards to Arab refugees is a poor one. Nearly seventy years after Arab armies were defeated in Israel’s War of Independence, millions of Palestinian refugees–nearly all of them descended from the original refugees from that war–are stateless. Some estimates are that half of all Palestinians are officially stateless, although they exist as sub-citizens in some nations such as Kuwait. They are pawns in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If these refugees become citizens in a Gulf State–they’ll probably be less eager to return the their ancestral home.

While Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan are hosting large numbers of Syrian refugees–many of them don’t seem eager to stay there. The welfare benefits of the European Union are attracting those people who are fleeing the Civil War. The Pope is calling for each European parish to adopt a Syrian refugee family.

Where is the call from the Saudi king to have each mosque in his nation to host a Syrian family?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

There have been plenty in the media who have argued that the violence like the targeting of Pam Geller’s event in Garland TX or the threat to behead her out Boston anything more than the actions of a small minority and that those who claim Sharia law is something repressive simply do not understand Islam.

By that argument apparently the Government of Saudi Arabia, the keeper of Islam’s most holy sites, simply don’t understand Islam at all:

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on blogger Raif Badawi, despite a foreign outcry.

Speaking from Canada, his wife Ensaf Haidar told news agency AFP, “this is a final decision that is irrevocable.”

If ONLY someone who actually understands Islam like Chris Cuomo could go to Saudi Arabia and explain the true meaning of Islam to these guys.

Via Althouse

 

Duncan:  It doesn’t have to be public as long as everybody knows

Yes Minister:  Party Games 1984

 

This weekend everyone was all a twitter about the Saudi’s intention to arm themselves with Nuclear Weapons to answer the Obama enabled mullahs of Iran.

But unlike the Iranians who decided to develop their own program the Saudi’s being glutted with the wealth that comes from having only to poke a hole in the ground to find it are looking at a quicker route:

Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.

While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.

Now given the effect of Obama’s retreat in Iraq, and the results of the Ukrainian surrender of their nukes the Saudi move is a prudent one but there is an obvious question worth asking.

Since 1947 the arab nations of the area have insisted the Israel is the greatest danger to peace, an aggressor out to enslave arabs and until 1973 fought multiple wars in an attempt to destroy them.

While Israel did not publicly admit it, the entire Arab world suspected that Israel had the bomb , and the first unofficial confirmation came out in 1986 meaning that they have known Israel had nukes for at least 30 years.

Yet the knowledge that the scourge of humanity, the country that the UN condemns more than any other.  The state that Arabs the world over consider the ultimate aggressor at knowledge did not compel the Saudi’s to either develop or buy the bomb.

Why not?

There is lot of talk that comes from our friends on the left, about the threat of Israel but the only crisis that Israel nukes brought to the middle east was arresting of the potential of Arabs to slaughter Jews en masse.  And Arab nations for all their talk acted accordingly

Compare this to how Arab nations are reacting to a potential nuclear bomb.

Glenn Reynolds often says this Global Warming:  “I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who keep telling me it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.”

The Saudis/Arabs never acted like Israel with a bomb for 30+ years was a crisis because for all their talk they knew it was not.

Now with the Iranians about to get the bomb the Saudi’s are acting like it’s a crisis.

Reality always trumps rhetoric

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Here is a bit from a story in the Independent:

Just 24 hours ahead of a planned five-day truce in Yemen, the country’s capital Sanaa has been hit with one of the worst days of bombing since a Saudi-led coalition began their air campaign against Houthi rebels in late March.

In videos taken by residents in Sanaa massive explosions can be seen across the capital before a planned ceasefire to allow the UN to deliver essential aid into the beleaguered country begins today at 8pm GMT on Tuesday.

The Independent has videos of those attacks the story continues

According to the UN, over 1,400 people die as a result of the conflict in Yemen, with many more displaced by the fighting.

In war people die furthermore if you are going to fight a war in a location other than an open field you are going to get civilian casualties. It’s one of many reasons why war is to be avoided.

But Avi Meyer in Israel has is wondering why these Arab Casualties are producing sounds of silence from Activists all over the world:

Apparently arab lives don’t matter until they are killed by jews

These human rights activist remind me of the “Black Live Matter” crowd. The thousands of blacks slaughtered by other black men in the inner city didn’t create the #blacklivesmatter hashtag, but if a black man is killed by a policeman in the performance of their duty that’s a cause celeb worth rioting over.

So there is a simple solution. Want to get the activist crowd worried about those 1400 dead in Yemen, tell the world the Saudi aircraft doing the bombing runs are being piloted by Israeli pilots.

Do that and the will be no other story in the world worth reporting.

Update: It’s worth noting that at least one Syrian Paper is not only going there but doing one better

Why is Saudi Arabia so concerned over Israel? Not because they are Zionist.

It is because, you see, the Saudi royal family is really Jewish!

Jews who were fleeing persecution ended up in the Gulf and pretended to be Arabs, according to his version of the legend. They prayed with Muslims and buried their dead in Muslim cemeteries.

But those crafty Jews, who took over Arabia, created the Wahhabi faith in order to destroy Islam from within.

I haven’t seen such lame propaganda since the Clinton’s last attempt to explain their finances.

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Centurion:  You know the penalty laid down by Roman law for harboring a known criminal?
Matthias:No.
Centurion:Crucifixion!
Matthias: Oh.
Centurion: Nasty, eh?
Matthias:Could be worse.
Centurion: What you mean “Could be worse”?
Matthias:Well, you could be stabbed.
Centurion:Stabbed? Takes a second. Crucifixion lasts hours. It’s a slow, horrible death
Matthias:Well, at least it gets you out in the open air.

Monty Python Life of Brian 1979

We noted a while back how the feckless of the Obama administration helped forge informal ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Now as the Iranian Allies March through Yemen raising the possibility of a two front war for the Saudi’s as Iranian allies begin to encircle them they have decided to act.

A coalition of Arab states have launched air strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen who have forced the country’s president to flee.

The Iranian-backed rebels from the north of Yemen seized the capital last year and have been expanding their control ever since.

Operation “Storm of Resolve” is being led by Saudi Arabia, and includes countries from across the region.

What’s amazing about this Saudi force is not only what it involves

The Saudis also mobilized 150,000 troops, Al Arabiya said, raising the possibility of a ground offensive,. The Egyptian presidency issued a statement Thursday saying it was also prepared to send ground forces if necessary.

The Saudis and their allies don’t want to be drawn into a prolonged ground war, regional experts said. They are more likely hoping to force the Houthi rebels back to the negotiating table in a position of weakness.

But why they finally did it:

Two senior US Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, endorsed the attacks. But they also used the occasion to criticize what they called a lack of US leadership in the region.

“We understand why our Saudi and other Arab partners felt compelled to take action. The prospect of radical groups like Al-Qaeda, as well as Iranian-backed militants, finding safe haven on the border of Saudi Arabia was more than our Arab partners could withstand,” the senators said in a joint statement.

“Their action also stems from their perception of America’s disengagement from the region and absence of US leadership,” they wrote.

And the Saudi’s are not alone in this thought:

Decision makers in Israel have come to an understanding that the Americans have no intention of imposing demands on Iran with regards to halting military operations and even terrorist attacks in other countries as part of the agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program.

But Israel’s concerns regarding the Houthi takeover of Yemen are nothing compared to the profound discontent of Riyadh and other Arab countries, in light of Iran’s rampage throughout the Middle East and the blatant inaction on the part of the US.

The outcome of the Saudi military operation may not be decisive, but reflects much Saudi, Jordanian and Egyptian frustration. The anger of these regimes is not directed at Iran, which is more or less engaged in the kind of hostile activity expected of it, but mainly at Washington.

For all the talk of “US Coordination” if you think for one minute the Saudi’s are sharing intelligence with us as we continue to cozy up to Iran you are out of your mind.  That’s why the arab states finally decided that if Iran’s proxy’s are to be stopped they have to do it yourself.

And THAT is the bright side of it all.

It has always rubbed me and other the wrong way that at the same time they’ve been buying off terror groups to keep themselves from being targeted the Saudi Royal family has used our armed forces as a sort of a mercenary army to do the work they will not.  my while at the same time paying off the terror groups that are trying to kill us to keep them from targeting their family which is in easy reach.

But now we have reached a point where the Saudi’s consider us so unreliable that they are not only doing the fighting for themselves but are willing to risk the wrath of the radicals they fund to do it.

Granted it’s a small thing and there are risks, and yes it’s a very small sliver coin in a bucket of manure that has been the Obama foreign policy but after six years of smelling this garbage one has to take one’s consolations where one can.

 

 

MosqueBy John Ruberry

Here is a headline from earlier this month that caught my eye and it comes from, surprise, the Washington Post: At last, a Western country stands up to Saudi Arabia on human rights. Sweden’s foreign minister, Margot Wallstrom, had planned to speak at an Arab League event in Cairo and her office’s website published her speech beforehand. Wallstrom’s remarks included a call for expanding women’s rights and more democracy in the Islamic world. Even though Saudi Arabia wasn’t specifically mentioned, the Islamo-supremacist kingdom blocked Wallstrom from giving that address.

Meanwhile on the floor of the Swedish parliament, Wallstrom condemned the 1,000 lashes and ten-year prison sentence of Raif Badawi, a Saudi critic of Islam. He was received only 50 of those whippings–poor health has so far so far saved him from the other 950. The Saudis are merciful–who knew? Wallstrom calls this sentence, correctly, “medieval.”

The foreign minister, who promised a “feminist foreign policy” when she acceded to her post, has since made some make-nice comments about Islam. But that has not stopped the Saudis from recalling its ambassador from Stockholm and from pulling visas from Swedes.

Sweden has responded by cancelling a ten-year old arms agreement with the kingdom.

Not surprisingly, with the exception of the Washington Post, there has been little coverage of the Sweden-Saudi dispute by the American media, which surely causes great cognitive dissonance among the self-appointed gatekeepers of information who regularly promote feminist issues. But it seems with the Wallstrom story, moral relativism wins the day again.

I have a solution to this quandary. Stick to the facts and let the consumers of news decide what to think.

As for the Wallstrom, I have this to say: Keep up the good work.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

As you might have heard Egypt has decided to hit ISIS over the public murder of a bunch of its Christian citizens in addition to that strike there have been several developments:

On Monday, el-Sissi visited the main Coptic Cathedral of St. Mark in Cairo to offer his condolences on the Egyptians killed in Libya, according to state TV.

Combined with the his previous  visit with the Coptic pope which amazed Egyptian Christians and his blunt pronouncement that Islam must reform itself the government that overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood is taking unprecedented steps to recognize Egypt Christians as full members of the Egyptian community while pushing back against radical Islam.

That apparently hasn’t gone over well with some in the area:

Qatar recalled its ambassador to Egypt Thursday “for consultation” following a row over Cairo’s air strikes on jihadist targets in Libya, Qatari state media said.

A foreign ministry official said Doha was recalling its envoy over a statement made by Egypt’s delegate to the Arab League Tariq Adel, according to the QNA state news agency.

While there are attempts to minimize this Qatar relations are warming  with another key middle east nation

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman held talks in Riyadh Tuesday with Qatar’s emir, in what an analyst sees as part of a regional effort to strengthen ties against the Islamic State (IS) group.

Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is the latest Gulf leader to visit Riyadh this week, after Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the emir of Kuwait.

He and the Saudi monarch discussed the enhancement of their relations, as well as international developments, the official Saudi Press Agency said.

And it seems to be delighting some interesting folks:

The accession of King Salman in Saudi Arabia has caused glimmers of hope among Muslim Brotherhood exiles in Qatar that the Middle East’s political winds have started to shift in their favour, potentially giving the Islamist group more space to act.

King Salman is more sympathetic to religious conservatives than his predecessor Abdullah and is seen as less hostile to the group, but analysts and diplomats in Riyadh say any adjustment to Saudi policy towards the Brotherhood is likely to be minimal.

If we are seeing an actual divide among Arab nations between Islamists and non Islamists that could be huge for the region.

It will be interesting to see which side our administration decides to take.