One of the *accomplishments* which the Trump administration loved to tout in reelection ads is how it negotiated a wonderful peace in the Middle East, a peace that previously passeth the understanding of mere diplomats in other lesser administrations, but which the expertise of son-in-law Jared Kushner was able to bring about effortlessly and before cocktail hour — at least that’s the fable. Kushner didn’t put together a peace plan. He put together a set of terms that the Palestinians had no input on and basically didn’t have any choice but to accept. It was not an accord by the normal understanding of that term.
A Palestinian state was established, but it’s a state that can’t have it’s own army, so it’s not really a state. And the plan allowed for Israel to keep occupied settlements. That was the no no that all other administrations, both Democratic and Republican, going back to the 60’s, wouldn’t go for, the annexing of occupied land, including holy sites, to become part of Jerusalem. That precondition was due in large part to a moral decision on the part of the United States and so it makes perfect sense that the no morals Trump administration would be the one to abandon it. Jared, for his part, felt like quite the cat with the canary. His words were when asked what if the Palestinians reject the plan, “they’re going to screw up another opportunity, like they’ve screwed up every other opportunity that they’ve ever had in their existence.”
So that was Jared’s great vision, which did nothing for the Palestinians, except force them into a corner, while the Arabs looked the other way, because they never really cared to begin with. They’re too busy squabbling amongst themselves. Meanwhile, the Israelis and Sunnis are negotiating an alliance, while the Sunnis and the Shiites hate each other more, and so that means that Hamas and Hezbollah militias are only getting stirred up. But then again, the Arab states may not like each other or Israel very much, but they really hate Iran. And Qatar is in bed with Iran, or at least that’s what the Arabs say. Plus, Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated a few days ago, reportedly by Israel — and this is the tinderbox into which Boy Wonder Jared is flying to meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Qatari Emir Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, because he’s BFFs with both, we are told, and he’ll fix everything. Bear in mind, the Saudi-Qatar situation has been going on since 2017, but Kushner is going to fix it now, during a lame duck presidency. This is James Bond on LSD. Axios:
Driving the news: Kushner’s trip comes a week after a secret meeting between MBS and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
- The trip also comes days after the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. While the Qataris condemned the assassination, the Saudis remained silent.
Kushner’s relations with MBS proved crucial over the last few months as the Trump administration moved forward with the Abraham Accords, which led to normalization between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan.
- The Saudis have not agreed to normalization, but they did agree to let Israeli airlines use Saudi airspace for the first time, and they gave Bahrain a green light for normalization with Israel. The decision by MBS to meet with Netanyahu was another significant step.
- The Trump administration is still trying to push forward more potential normalization agreements before January.
What’s next: Kushner hopes to convince the Saudi and Qatari leaders to reconcile and reach a deal on several outstanding issues, U.S. officials tell me.
That’s on one front. But complicating the matter, make no mistake, is the assassination of Fakrizadeh.
The big picture: The physicist Fakhrizade was to the Iranian nuclear program what
Soleimani was to Iran’s covert activity in the region. Taking him out could
have a similar effect.
- Iranian army commander Mohammed Bagheri admitted the assassination was a huge blow to the Iranian defense establishment.
- Israeli officials briefed several media outlets in Israel that without Fakhrizade it will be hard for Iran to continue its nuclear program.
Between the lines: The killing of Fakhrizadeh comes as part of what seems as an effort by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government to use the time left until President-elect Joe Biden assumes office for more pressure on Iran.
The Trump administration hasn’t concealed its ambition to make it harder for Biden to renew talks with Iran and rejoin the 2015 nuclear deal. Sanctions, covert operations and threats for military strikes are part of this effort.
The trilateral meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia on Sunday was also part of the effort to raise the pressure on Iran and send a message to the Biden administration.
These relations are twisted and labyrinthine and they were that way long before the neophyte know nothings of the Trump administration got involved. Kushner has been played by Bin Salman the entire time and he’s too stupid and egotistical to know it, and the judgement of the evangelical wingnut grifter secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is not exactly to be trusted. Pompeo is like Trump. He’s out for Pompeo’s interests, not America’s. And don’t forget John Bolton off in the shadows, calling for a pre-emptive strike on Iran. Former CIA chief John Brennan said, “Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage and to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits.”
It will be so nice when the circus leaves town and the adults go back to work.