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SAGA CORNER

West Asia waiting for Trump’ s policywith Anxiety

“West Asia is awaiting with a considerable anxiety the US President elect Donald Trump’s policy for the region mainly because of his divisive and hateful utterances against  Muslims,  anti-immigration rhetoric  and use of force  in the run up to his election campaign.
His election as the 45thPresident of theUnited Stateshas created a sense of uncertainty and fear in theWest Asiaregion because of his statements like surveillance of mosques and tracking of Muslims, restrictions on the entry of Muslims into the US, removal of Syrian migrants from the country, and the harshest possible reprisals against terrorists and their family members.There is anxiety in the Arab World about what the new US policies would be with regard to conflicts in Iraq, Syria and Yemen. Generally people feel that Trump has treated the Arab World with astonishing contempt.His naming of retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser; Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, R-Alabama, as attorney general; and Rep. Michael Pompeo, R-Kansas, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency has heightened the fear as all three have hardline views that support Trump’s agenda on the Muslim community, immigration as also use of force.Although official reactions to Trump’s election was expectedly diplomatic, with all countries in the West Asia region hoping of have good ties with his regime , but there is frenetic  deliberations in the corridors of power to understand what his presidency portents for the region, given his unclear, varied and often contradictory statements on theMiddle East.Given Trump’s statement in the run up to the presidential election that “there is nobody more pro-Israeli than I am”,  and his promise to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem , which Arabs say has been occupied by Israel, apparently to win Jewish votes, Arab anxiety is understandable.  He even showed support for continuing Israeli expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank.Trump appeared to be hard onIranas he had called theUSnegotiated deal onTeheran’s nuclear program “a disaster” and “the worst” ever negotiated. He has promised to scrap the agreement, which according to him would lead to a “nuclear holocaust.” The deal was negotiated by US President Barack Obama to control Iran’s nuclear program.  The collapse of the deal will not only batter Iran’s economy once again but would also give the hardliners in the country opportunity to take to the streets with their “”death toAmerica”” slogan again.Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, Mike Pompeo, recently wrote on Twitter: “I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.” Most countries have overwhelmingly supported the deal and that US President Barack Obama pledged to veto Republican attempts to undo the monumental diplomatic achievement. Iran has dismantled and limited key aspects of its nuclear programme in exchange for an easing of sanctions. Any move to undo the deal may  put the US in a confrontation with Russia, China and Europe — not just on Iran, but on other issues where Trump will need their cooperation, like the Syrian war.While taking any final call Trump would definitely by watching Iran if it adheres to its commitment to stop supporting terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah.Israel, which is delighted by Trump’s victory, is obviously happy with his stand so far on Iran’s nuclear programme as its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vehemently against the nuclear agreement. While calling Trump as “a true friend of Israel” Benjamin has said he is looking forward to working with him to advance security, stability and peace in the region.Middle East observers feel that Trump would possibly not get involved into the wider regional crisis mainly in Syria and Yemen where the Gulf countries would like the US to defend their interests.  Trump has talked tough against the Jehadist group ISIS promising to “bomb the hell out of them” and but observers say that he is silent on the civil war in Syria where an estimated 400,000 people have died in the last five years.His pulling back from the ongoing interest in ending the civil war may have disastrous impact in Syria and Iraq where ISIS is very active, they said.However, Josh Kraushar, Politics Editor of the US-based National Journal,  sees the induction of Flynn, Pompeo and  Mattis as the biggest shift from US President Barack Obama to his successor  ‘’will be an increased urgency in defeating ISIS, both rhetorically and in its overseas engagement.Their appointment “also means that the new administration will be taking a much harder line with Iran, viewing very sceptically the nuclear  deal President Obama struck”,”he is quoted as saying by the journal.(M. Shakeel Ahmed is a Delhi-based freelance journalist. Earlier, he was posted in Bahrain as PTI’s West Asia and Gulf Correspondent.) “

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

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