Although Washington and Riyadh have clear common interests, they share few values. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. It is the cradle of Wahhabism, a particularly closed form of fundamentalist Islam. It has an abysmal human-rights record, denying its subjects and citizens civil and religious liberties. Such issues may be internal, but they have serious implications for America and the rest of the world.
At an Israeli Independence Day event in Washington, D.C. on May 2, on the eve of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s meeting at the White House, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster referred to U.S. President Donald Trump as “not a super patient man,” who “does not have time to debate over doctrine.”
McMaster then said that those who call Trump “disruptive” are right, “and this is good… because we can no longer afford to invest in policies that do not advance the interests and values of the United States and our allies.”
This was echoed by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates days before Trump embarked on his first foreign trip to Riyadh, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Vatican — albeit in relation to Pyongyang. In an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on May 14, Gates said:
“There is a need for disruption. We’ve had three administrations follow a pretty consistent policy toward North Korea, and it really hasn’t gotten us anywhere… [T]he tough talk on North Korea, the military deployments, sending the missile defense system to South Korea … [Trump has] gotten China’s attention to a degree that his predecessors have not.”
However, Gates cautioned, “[T]here’s the risk of being too spontaneous and too disruptive where you end up doing more harm than damage. And figuring out that balance is where having strong people around you matters.”
In the first place, although Washington and Riyadh have clear common interests — one realizes that although preventing Iran’s imperialist expansion and nuclear program is of paramount importance — it is crucial to remember that they share few values. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. It is the cradle of Wahhabism, a particularly closed form of fundamentalist Islam. It has an abysmal human-rights record, denying its subjects and citizens civil and religious liberties. Such issues may be internal, but they have serious implications for America and the rest of the world.
Secondly, uncritical and unconditional U.S. support for the Saudis cause many Arab and Muslim states to accuse Washington of double standards — accepting from Riyadh what it claims to reject from other Middle East regimes. It also leads them to view Saudi Arabia as a hypocritical American proxy in the Islamic world. The kingdom is unable to make the ideological argument against terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, as according to its own religious ideology, the Quran prohibits Muslims from allying with non-Muslims.
Further, although Saudi Arabia is considered, even by Israeli officials, as a leading moderate Arab country, its version of Islam and its political regime are fiercely radical, suppressive, and xenophobic. It was ironic that Trump’s address to the Arab Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh on May 21 was devoted to combating practices in which the House of Saud itself engages.
|U.S. President Donald Trump and other Arab leaders attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 21, 2017. (Image source: Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty Images)|
This is where the “disruptive” approach comes in, but it is neither needed nor recommended in relation to consensus issues, such as stopping Iran’s nuclear program and restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Instead, “disruption” should be used by the U.S. to encourage Saudi normalization with Israel; to minimize Saudi interference in the domestic affairs of its neighbors, and to curb its hawkish ambition to become a regional superpower.
It is precisely this type of “disruption” that is required to overcome the policy of previous American administrations, which — in the words of McMaster — “do not advance the interests and values of the United States and our allies.”
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
Feb 02, 2020 0The remarks from the US official came in wake of the Palestinian decision to reject the administration’s peace plan. US PRESIDENT Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to...
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.