What President Trump Can Accomplish on His Trip to the Middle East

As President Trump prepares to visit both Saudi Arabia and Israel, and thereafter to attend a NATO meeting in Brussels, Robert Satloff has some suggestions for what he can bring to America’s traditional allies:

First, the president should take advantage of his meeting with Muslim leaders in Riyadh to propose a new partnership to roll back the twin forms of Islamist extremism that threaten global peace and security: the Sunni jihadism of Islamic State (IS), al-Qaeda, and like-minded sub-state actors, movements, and groups, and the Iranian-led consortium of radical states, militias, and proxies. . . . Such a partnership—less than a full-fledged treaty but more than just a vague communiqué—would have many component parts, from military, political, and diplomatic to economic, educational, and cultural. . . .

Second, the president should link his Riyadh and Brussels meetings to secure promises from his Arab hosts and his NATO partners for a coordinated, all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure stability, security, and reasonably effective governance in the lands soon to be liberated from IS domination in eastern Syria and western Iraq. . . .

[In addition], the president should use his considerable political leverage to advance a secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians. . . . With Palestinians, he should pick up a theme George W. Bush championed fifteen years ago as a requirement of U.S. partnership and then dropped in the tumult of the Iraq war: an insistence on internal reform, on everything from fighting corruption to stamping out incitement to ending the odious practice of paying terrorists and their families.

Read more at New York Daily News

More about: Middle East, NATO, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy

 

To Defeat the Legacy of Islamic State, Start Rebuilding the Communities It Destroyed

Now that the borders of Islamic State (IS) are slowly contracting, argues Alberto Fernandez, there is a moral and strategic imperative to reconstruct some of the non-Muslim communities that it has destroyed—and the U.S. should encourage local government to help:

Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate is crumbling, if all too slowly. Sadly, though, its ultimate collapse will not be the end of the story. It will leave behind a still-lethal insurgency that will almost certainly attempt to stage terrorist attacks around the world as well as a wide swath of physical destruction and devastated lives stretching from Aleppo to Ramadi.

And yet, even while the Islamic State is “losing,” there is no denying that it has also “won” some things. It has created grim facts on the ground. It has wiped out communities that will never rise again. Many Yazidi villages and towns within its orbit are destined to remain permanently empty because of slaughter and the flight of despairing survivors. IS jihadists also succeeded in destroying the ancient Christian community of Mosul, whose surviving members were robbed of everything they had when they were expelled from the city in July 2014. Many of the survivors of these same minority groups remain scattered around the region, and some still haven’t decided whether they should stay, with all the risks that it would entail, or leave forever. Islamic State has torn a hole in the fabric of the region’s millennia-old diversity that can never be fully repaired. . . .

But we should consider fresh ways for Muslim leaders to show concrete support for restoring what IS sought to exterminate. Even the resurrection of a single community would be a powerful message of solidarity and diversity in a Middle East that is becoming increasingly monochrome. . . .

In . . . Israel, one kibbutz incorporated and commemorated survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and other Jewish partisans. Imagine the resurrection of a non-Muslim community that the Islamic State sought to exterminate. What a powerful message that would send. And the message would resonate even more strongly if the work were to be done with the support of Muslim states.

Read more at Washington Post

More about: ISIS, Middle East Christianity, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy, Yazidis