In Saudi Arabia, Trump Reaches Out to Sunni Nations, at Iran’s Expense

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – As voters in Iran were dancing in the streets, celebrating the re-election of a moderate as president, Trump’s president was facing a gathering of leaders from around the Muslim world and called them to isolate a nation he said he had “Fueled the fire of sectarian conflict and terror.” This country was Iran. Using the leading direction of his first overseas trip as president to declare his commitment to the Sunni Arab countries, M. Trump has marked a return to US policy based on alliances with Arab autocrats regardless of their political records or human rights Sometimes they run counter to US interests. At the same time, he rejected the path taken by his predecessor, Barack Obama. Obama has committed to Iran to achieve a nuclear advance agreement that the administration of M. Trump acknowledged that Iran continues. Trump introduces change as reinvestment in historical alliances with friendly countries to fight against extremism and terrorism. But the juxtaposition of the Iranian elections and the meeting in Saudi Arabia seems to highlight a Middle East reality whose presidents have struggled for a long time: how to elect partners and seek interests in a region torn apart by sectarian divisions in the United States and competing agendas. And their allies have actually found the US side in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq, while in Syria they were opponents in their support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Saudi Arabia sometimes has “We chose a side in this geopolitical struggle, and there is very little room for gray,” said Frédéric Wehrey, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Middle East Program. “Sectarianism is a byproduct of this geopolitical rivalry, and we inadvertently choose sides in this sectarian struggle.”

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