Trump’s win is a loss for the Middle East

The Trump administration announced a deal this week between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, which was immediately hailed as “an historic day for peace in the Middle East” by Mike Pompeo’s State Department. A flurry of similar analyses framed the deal as “a big win for Trump,” and a “geopolitical earthquake.”

But that was exactly the point of this deal: a lot of publicity for the deal-makers, but not much substance to the deal. In fact, this “breakthrough” is mostly a PR boost for the three leaders involved: President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohamed bin Zayed, crown prince of Abu Dhabi. Meanwhile, the costs will be borne by the one party not involved in the arrangement, the Palestinians.

The leaders’ statements about the deal are revealing. In a tweet, President Trump announced that Israel and the UAE had “agreed to the full normalization of relations.” The joint statement particularly stressed Trump’s role in securing Israel’s agreement to “suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace.”

Bin Zayed, de facto ruler of the UAE also known as MBZ, was more measured. In English and in Arabic tweets, he described “setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship” and emphasized that Israel would “end annexation” of Palestinian territory in the West Bank.

Read the full article in POLITICO.