When news of the latest inter-Arab feud broke on 5 June 2017, it was not the first time that Qatar’s neighbours in the Gulf had lost patience with that stand-alone kingdom. Back in January 2014 underlying tensions, brewing for years, suddenly surfaced, and Gulf states tried to induce Qatar to sign an agreement undertaking not to support extremist groups, not to interfere in the affairs of other Gulf states, and to cooperate on regional issues.
Author Archive: Neville Teller
Broad goals such as “America First” and “Make America Great Again” set the tone of President Donald Trump’s administration, but viable domestic policy objectives are hard to discern. The Muslim travel ban, the Mexican wall and the healthcare reforms were challenged from the first, and as yet are not being fully implemented. Whether withdrawing from the Paris climate change treaty yields the US positive results only time will tell.
At the heart of the constitution of the United States lies the principle of the separation of powers. Conceived as a way to prevent the abuse of power generally, it has been used mainly to stop excessive power accumulating in the hands of the President. Ex-President Obama is on the record as finding the system “frustrating”. As for Donald Trump, from the moment he assumed office he has been challenged by the legislature and the judiciary. He spent his first 100 days seeing some of his main electoral promises being foiled – from repealing the nation’s health care law to…
US President Donald Trump left Israel on Tuesday afternoon, 23 May 2017, after a visit lasting just 28 hours. In the words of the leader in the Jerusalem Post the next morning, “his major contribution to the peace process so far has been his successful resuscitation of non-cynical discourse on the prospects of peace. But the truly hard work has barely begun.”
The 20th of May 2017 was a red letter day for Middle East politics. Not only was Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, re-elected by a substantial majority to a second term of office, but it was the day that US President Trump, on the opening leg of his first foreign tour, landed in Saudi Arabia to a right royal reception and, within hours, was signing a multi-billion dollar deal with his hosts.
A year ago, in May 2016, Britain’s House of Lords decided to establish a new International Relations Committee. On 2 May 2017, after six months deliberation, the committee issued its second report: “The Middle East: Time for New Realism”. It is, quite frankly, an astonishing document, imbued with unconcealed hostility towards, and distrust of, US President Donald Trump, with the anti-Brexit rhetoric of much of the British establishment, and with downright naïve recommendations, reflecting the consensus of the politically correct, concerning Saudi Arabia, the Iran nuclear deal, and Palestinian sovereignty.
US President Donald Trump has one attribute that his greatest friends and most impassioned enemies are agreed on – he is a great deal-maker. Deal-making has been the key to his business success, which has been considerable. And way back in the 1980s he co-authored “The Art of the Deal” which reached number 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list, and stayed there for 13 weeks.
Lebanon’s president, Michel Aoun, is a fervent Hezbollah supporter; Lebanon’s prime minister, Saad Hariri, most certainly is not. Hariri’s position is scarcely surprising, since he has every reason to believe that back in 2005 his father, Rafik, was brutally assassinated by Hezbollah operatives, acting on the orders of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
The news from Turkey following the referendum on 16 April is worrying. The coup attempt on 20 July 2016, in which rogue troops commandeered fighter jets and tanks to bomb parliament, led the Turkish cabinet to declare a six-month state of emergency. On 19 January, as the six months drew to a close, the state of emergency was extended for a further three months. Now, following the referendum, the Turkish cabinet has once again added three months to the extraordinary powers permitted the president and his government under the terms of the emergency legislation.