The real Mideast deal

By Christopher Harper

Donald Trump has built the most effective strategy in the Middle East EVER.

Having covered the Middle East for many years as a reporter, I’ve never seen such successes. The administration has convinced the first Arab state in decades, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, to recognize Israel. Another predominantly Muslim country, Kosovo, has established diplomatic relations with Israel.

Although Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 for opening a dialogue with Muslim countries, he and Joe Biden frittered away eight years of watching the Middle East devolve into a region dominated by Sunni and Shia extremists.

Civil war raged in Libya and Syria. The Islamic State reared its ugly head in Iraq and Syria. Then the 2015 Iran nuclear deal compounded the problems.

Known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement was intended to delay Iran’s development of an atomic bomb. Instead, the lifting of economic sanctions emboldened Iran to expand its reach to solidify a Shia alliance that stretched through Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Terrorists launched operations across Europe, leaving hundreds dead.

That’s the landscape that Trump and his administration inherited.

Trump scuttled the nuclear deal with Iran. After that, a military coalition cut the Islamic State down to size. Although remnants of ISIS continue to exist, its leadership was left either dead or in disarray, with little income and land from which to launch terrorist attacks.

After that success, Trump and his team turned their attention toward the peace process that resulted in the agreements between Arabs and Israelis.

That process continues this week in Qatar as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are meeting with officials from Qatar to sign agreements on cultural and economic cooperation.

Qatar has had ongoing disputes with its Arab neighbors, particularly Saudi Arabia. This week’s agreements are seen as a way toward settling those arguments and perhaps bringing both countries toward official recognition of Israel. Simultaneously, the first face-to-face talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban began in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

The naysayers point to the lack of any new agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The Israel-Palestinian-first strategy has left the Middle East without any significant movement on peace and a spate of violence since the Oslo accords of 1993.

Trump’s new approach to the Middle East has created an environment in which the Palestinian leadership, who almost always miss an opportunity to gain more recognition of their rights, may start negotiating as they see their Arab backers make peace with Israel.

A Massachusetts Senate Game Changer?

A few days ago I wrote this concerning the Kevin O’Connor campaign:

 I can’t imagine what the left was thinking when they decided to hand this issue and police unions endorsements to the president, unless they are just afraid of their own base.

It would be bold to predict this will elect O’Conner to the US senate, particularly since MA has been spared BLM violence (Well done Gov Baker) but given Ed Markey link to the Democrats AOC wing it certainly can’t hurt his chances.

And then Ed Markey said this:

The Day after this.

And two days after this:

I don’t know whose running the Kevin O’Connor for Senate Campaign but if it was me I’d be in front of the cameras today, pointing to the timing of his hit on police:

Markey’s picking a very good moment to make this pitch, although some of his fellow Democrats might disagree. They’re choosing the rioters just before Americans choose their next set of elected representatives.  Forbes’ Seth Cohen warns Black Lives Matter organizers today that rioting in Lancaster over a completely justified shooting might cost Joe Biden Pennsylvania and the election:

and I’d be pushing two themes

  1. If this happened in Lancaster PA it can happen anywhere.
  2. You are either with the police or the Rioters and Markey has chosen his side

If I was Kevin O’Connor I would talk about nothing else till election day.

No charge (but tip jar hits always welcome)

Closing thought: While Ed Markey is particularly vulnerable to this because of his public statements, if I’m a Massachusetts Republican running for any office, I’m doing the exact same thing.