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Monday, February 13, 2017

The US-Arab Relationship in the “Age of Trump”

The US-Arab Relationship in the “Age of Trump”

by James J. Zogby     

As US President Donald Trump and Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei trade barbs, a nervous Arab world is caught in the middle.   
Earlier this week Iran’s Supreme Leader made headlines thanking President Trump for “revealing the true face of America.” While much of Ayatollah Khamenei’s criticism was directed at the Administration’s hardline policy and threat to “put Iran on notice,” he zeroed in on the disastrous White House Executive Order and its impact on refugees and immigrants and visitors from seven majority Muslim countries. At one point, in his remarks Khamenei, speaking of Trump, said “Now with everything he is doing—handcuffing a child as young as five at an airport—he is showing the reality of American human rights” (correction: a child of five was detained in the wake of President Trump’s Executive Order, but he was not handcuffed).    
This news item and the nasty and childish Twitter exchange and war of words between Iran’s religious leader and the president of the United States brought home the intimate connection between US domestic and foreign policies and encapsulated the dilemma that will be faced by America’s Arab allies in the “Age of Trump.” It reminded me of two stories from the first George W. Bush administration—both involving Saudi Arabia’s then Crown Prince Abdullah.

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