Riyadh wants to stage regional leadership from Donald Trump

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US President Donald Trump (r) greets Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan (i) during his meeting at the White House, Washington, USA, on 15 May.

The Saudi Arabian monarchy wants to take advantage of US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh next May 20 and 21 to stage Saudi leadership in front of the Arab and Islamic countries.

Coinciding with his stay in the Saudi capital, Riyadh has organized a meeting of the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) with the head of the White House and a meeting with leaders of Arab and Muslim countries from Jordan or Egypt, To Kazakhstan or Indonesia.

During his visit to Riyadh, where Trump plans to deliver an “inspiring” speech on the “peaceful view of Islam,” Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz plans to announce an “Islamic NATO” for the fight against terrorism, of which the US Is considered the main leader.

This new organization would impel a new impetus to the already existing “Islamist anti-terrorist alliance” of a clearly Sunni character and which the Saudis announced in December 2015.

“This alliance will be Sunni by nature and will be ready to intervene when Shiite militias persist in their destructive policy against Arab territories,” the editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily Al-Jazeera, Munif al-Safuqi, told Efe.

For Al Safuqi, the challenge of the GCC countries (Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Baréin) is no longer so much the ever-retreating Jihadist Islamic State (EI) group as the “Shiite terrorist militias Which have spread to Iraq, Syria and Yemen. ”

This announcement, in the presence of Trump, is also intended to be a message to Shiite Iran, the other major pole in the region, and to which Gulf states accuse of continued interference in Arab countries, especially in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Bahrain.

In addition, the Saud House and its GCC partners want to take advantage of the Republican leader’s view and good rapport to try to move forward in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians and present themselves as influential partners in this issue, Which the fallen Egypt has traditionally exercised as mediator.

According to Luiz Pinto, associate researcher at the US research center Brooking in Doha, “unlike” what happened in the stage of former US President Barack Obama, Trump “has achieved leadership credibility among both the Gulf countries and With Israel “.

“This opens a very large space for a reopening of the process of negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians with (North) American mediation,” the analyst told Efe.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the GCC countries are willing to establish links with Israel in their telecommunication networks and allow the overflight of their aircraft, as well as lifting some trade restrictions, in exchange for Tel Aviv ceasing its policy of new settlements In the occupied Palestinian territories.

In this regard, Al Safuqi argues that the times of absolute refusal to maintain any kind of contact with Israel have lagged behind.

“The conditions of the leaders in the Gulf have changed and the total rejection of Israel is no longer as extreme as before because of the sectarian war launched by Iran in the region that has made the Gulf countries see Tehran as a Real threat to their presence, “said Al Safuqi.

For the Brooking Center expert, beyond the “political, military and strategic interest of the Gulf countries in the visit, Trump travels to fulfill his internal agenda, to ensure economic achievements.”

Pinto believes that the Saudi scale will allow Trump “to narrow personal ties with the important families of the Gulf and to collect the economic prize for having changed its position”, regarding his predecessor.

In this way, the visit will result in the purchase of “a massive package of arms, mainly by Saudi Arabia”, as well as in the investment commitment of the CGG “mainly in infrastructure projects in the United States, whose administration Aims to relaunch more strongly next semester.

“The US is going to consolidate as one of the main destinations of the Gulf capitals, not only official but also the investments of other funds from other GCC countries, such as Qatar, who want to diversify their investment focused on Europe,” he concludes Pinto.

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