''Trump's statement on Jerusalem provoking an Arab-Israeli armed conflict''

About how Donald Trump is destabilizing the Middle East. The column by Orientalist and political expert Gumer Isaev

''Trump's statement on Jerusalem provoking an Arab-Israeli armed conflict'' Photo: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen (whitehouse.gov)

US President Donald Trump has recently stated that the US government recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This decision has caused concern of country's leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Arab League has demanded Washington to cancel such a provocative decision. Riots have begun on the Palestinian territories as well. Gumer Isaev, a columnist for Realnoe Vremya, political analyst, in the newspaper column written for our newspaper tries to understand the reasons for the loud message from the White House and its impact.

Trump promised — Trump did

As a candidate for US President, Trump assured that in case of victory he would remain the best friend of the Jewish state. The recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital by the president of the world's only superpower — the best proof of this friendship and a wonderful gift to all those who share one of the key points of the Zionist doctrine which declares that Jerusalem is the capital of the state.

Delving into the history, it can be found that there are three rather complex issues associated with the Palestinian-Israeli settlement. The issue of the expelled refugees return, the issue of the occupied territories liberation and the issue of Jerusalem. The Jerusalem issue is the most difficult one because it is not just about the historic city, but the city that is important for representatives of the Abrahamic religions: the Jews, Christians and Muslims. The eastern part of Jerusalem went to Israel along with other Arab territories in the course of the aggression in 1967. In turn, the UN, beginning with the resolution No. 242, adopted immediately after the Six-Day War, demanded withdrawal of Israeli troops from the occupied territory and never recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

By the way, the United States itself, which traditionally declared itself the main defender of Israel's interests, was taking a tricky position on the status of Jerusalem. In 1995, the US Congress recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but American presidents were not in a hurry to put an end to it, believing that the final solution to the Jerusalem issue in favour of Israel would provoke a negative reaction from the Muslim countries. Like any colonial empire, the United States tried to control the bilateral conflict, playing along with both sides.

Uncle Sam's feeble efforts in the Middle East

There are many versions explaining why it is exactly right now Trump has decided to raise one of the most painful issues and to solve it in favour of Israel. Some relate to the inter-American subject matters — playing with the influential Israeli lobby, an attempt to divert attention from 'the Russian factor in the election', Trump's desire to show that he is capable of at least some decisive steps. Maybe it is really internal issues that are the main cause in making that decision. But I would focus on how the symbolic but very important step of the American president will affect the situation in the Middle East.

There is the impression that the actions of Trump's American administration in the region is aimed at destabilization as never. It is clear that Russian or Arab media accuse almost all American presidents of the desire to destroy integrity and stability in the Middle East. Bush destroyed Iraq, the Arab Spring started under Obama, the previous presidents also did not stand on ceremony with the Middle East. But almost every step of Trump tangles the Gordian knot of the Middle Eastern conflict up.

First, Trump from the outset urged to be tougher with Iran. It is clear that he did it in defiance of the efforts by Obama, who normalized the relations with the Islamic Republic. It is also clear that the strengthening of Iran in recent years do not satisfy Saudi Arabia and its allies, as well as the main American ally in the region, Israel. It seemed that Trump's intentions were serious — the Americans were ready to seriously besiege Iran using different tools and resources. The meeting of Trump and the monarchs of the Persian Gulf countries indicate that the United States support their actions against Iran. The unprecedented pressure on Qatar, the recognition in the Arab League of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, an attempt to oust Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri, a new round of tension in Yemen — all of this suggests that the Saudis and their allies are ready to actively counter Iran on all fronts. And they do it with the knowledge and blessing of the United States.

Second, in Syria the United States continue to work on destabilizing. They have openly supported the Syrian Kurds. In defiance of Iran and Assad, and Turkey. Despite the strange statements of the Russian military about the 'almost complete liberation of the territory of Syria', it is enough to look at the map to see that half of the country is not being controlled by the legitimate authorities. The north of Syria is being controlled by rebels from the Syrian democratic forces, where the Kurds play a major role. They do not recognize Assad as their president. They are trained and supplied with weapons of the United States. Most likely, it is American advisers who came up with the idea of taking the control of major oil resources of Syria, without which it will be very difficult to Assad, with the hands of the Kurds. The tense situation continues, the integrity of Syria is a fiction. Neighbouring with Syria countries continue to experience a tension, which also benefits to the US.

''Though Trump made a reservation that he was doing which was already obvious. But Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — far not obvious fact for the Arab countries. As well as for the UN.'' Photo: pixabay.com

New conflict

And finally, the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. It is obvious that the actions of Trump add fuel to the fire of already complex Arab-Israeli relations. Though Trump made a reservation that he was doing which was already obvious. But Jerusalem as the capital of Israel — far not obvious fact for the Arab countries. As well as for the UN.

But, actually, the situation is even more complicated than it seems. Only the lazy did not write about a secret union of Saudi Arabia and Israel against Iran. A number of media suggested that the actions of Saudi Arabia against Lebanon is part of a plan to destabilize the political system of the country and it will end with a military operation of Israel against Hezbollah, like it was in 2006. The Palestinian Hamas has already announced the beginning of a new intifada, while Israel stepped up security measures. In the case if Israel once again bombs Gaza, Hizbullah will have to intervene. Trump with his statement on Jerusalem is openly provoking a new armed conflict between the Arabs and the Israelis in the region, which is more than ever being torn by internal contradictions.

By Gumer Isaev