Mr Trump and the Middle East: reactions and scenarios

Mr Donald Trump’s election has positively surprised many key Middle Eastern political players : as the names of his team come to light, what role will the next US administration play in Middle Eastern crisis?

Mr Trump and the Middle East: reactions and scenarios -

Mr Trump’s programme concerning American foreign policy in the Middle East is not revealed yet, but if  the positions expressed during the electoral campaign are carried out, a major shift in American role in the region will take place. From this perspective, the major actors  of the Egyptian, Syrian, and Iranian establishments have reasons to rejoice.

General Al-Sisi in Egypt has never hidden too well his dislike for Mr Obama and Hillary Clinton, especially after their tough position against Al-Sisi’s police operations to curb the protests and the limitation of human rights. In this sense, the Egyptian government has not lost time to congratulate Mr Trump and looks forward to building a stronger bond.

In a similar way, Mr Bashar Al-Assad in Syria and Mr Vladimir Putin in Russia have openly welcomed Mr Trump’s comment that in Syria the problem is ISIS, not Assad. In this sense, if the next American administration decided to play a minor role in this crisis , space for a broader role in Iraq and Syria would be left to Russia and Iran.

This scenario though is strongly opposed by Saudi Arabia, for which the containment of Iranian influence in the area is a strategic need and asset. It would not be surprising then, if there were a request to the Americans of an increased military and security aid by the Saudis.

Will Mr Trump re-open the negotiations concerning the nuclear deal with Iran? His entourage  at the moment say he will keep the path anticipated during the presidential campaign, but the next president has already changed his mind a few times, therefore it is still too early to say what he will do.

Whatever the situation though, Iran is set on a comfortable position. If Mr Trump decides to leave the agreement the way it is, Iran will continue with his present programme. If instead he  decides to re-open it, then they will always be able to blame the Americans for not abiding by the rules.

Among Israelis and Palestinians the reactions are very controversial. While the extremists on both sides see Mr Trump’s claimed agenda as directly and indirectly favourable to their long term plans, the moderate sectors of their respective political societies are hoping for some more conciliatory terms.

It is too early to have a clear idea of what position and role Mr Trump’s administration will play in the region, but if the positions of the electoral campaign  are to be kept, then more instability will fuel a region already enough unstable.