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Felice Friedson
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The Arab Gulf Between The U.S., Russia, And China

Al-Khaleej al-Jadid, UAE, May 21

When two airliners struck the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11, 2001 the world changed forever. Arab-American relations would never be the same—until this very day. The rise of global terrorism meant that other areas of concern, like the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or Iran’s nuclear program could be temporarily overlooked. Indeed, Israeli officials began using terrorism as an excuse to maintain their belligerent policies against the Palestinians, while the Iranians made an effort to distinguish themselves, as Shi’ites, from the radical Sunni ideology that swept the world. The pressure of appeasing and pacifying the United States shifted to Gulf states, which had to prove their unwavering loyalty to America’s War on Terrorism. Gulf leaders were forced to embrace America’s stance on the Palestinian issue and adopt the American narrative on the way to move forward in the Middle East. However, Arab leaders ought to remember that Washington is not the only actor in the chaotic regional arena. What we have seen in recent years is a growing Russian and Chinese involvement, with both powers having interests that often compete with, if not totally run counter to, American ones. Therefore, Gulf leaders cannot afford to blindly follow President Trump just for the sake of demonstrating their loyalty and winning over American support. There are greater dynamics at play that must be taken into account. Trump might offer short-term benefits, but what is important is our long-term victory. – Abd al-Wahab Badarkhan

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