The White House hosted a conference with the participation of representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, the apparatus of the Quartet of international mediators for the Middle East settlement (Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the EU), and “also 20 countries, including Israel and many Arab states” from the deteriorating humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip. The conference was organized by the senior adviser and son-in-law of President Jared Kushner, the spokesman for the administration in international negotiations, Jason Grinblatt, members of the National Security Council at the White House and the State Department. On the sidelines, the main theses of this plan were discussed and the majority of Arab leaders did not receive approval.
In favor of the postponement of the summit and the latest in time events in Gaza. Against their backdrop, the united position of the Arab leaders on the issue of the prospects of the second-tier banks emerged. The essence was indicated by the King of Saudi Arabia Salman in a telephone conversation with Trump. The Saudi monarch noted the unchanged position of the kingdom on the Palestinian question and the legitimacy of the rights of the Palestinian people to the creation of an independent state with the capital in East Jerusalem. He stressed the need to promote the peace process in the Middle East. This is the answer to Kouchner’s initiatives, whose central place is the creation of the capital of a Palestinian state in the suburbs of Jerusalem. The attempt of the Americans to solve the humanitarian problems of Gaza under the new “Marshall Plan” for the Palestinian territories in exchange for the adoption of the American settlement option did not work.
The administration of the president of the United States decided, as a first step, to achieve a visible reconciliation of the “Arab four” and the Doha on a single anti-Iranian platform. At the same time Qatar, according to some sources, finances a number of Shiite militias in Iraq in response to similar advances from Riyadh. It is doubtful that an attempt by the Americans will succeed – it is difficult to expect the transfer of assurances in friendship into a practical plane. This means the end of regional rivalry from the Horn of Africa to Sinai and Libya, which is very unlikely.
The issues of combating ISIS have nothing to do with it. Doha has refused for a long time from its sponsorship and support in Iraq and Syria. But at Sinai the Qatar-Turkish support of the “Vilayet Sinai” group will continue. The confrontation of the “Arab four” with Qatar and Turkey behind it has deep roots, tied to global regional rivalry. Talk about “friendship” and the need to jointly resist “Iranian expansion” this situation can not be corrected. For the UAE and Egypt, unlike the KSA and Bahrain, the threat from the Muslim Brotherhood is much more significant than the Iranian aggression.
The UAE, during the period of sanctions against Iran, provided trading platforms for financial transactions and large-scale smuggling of goods. Such operations are still going on. In the military concept of the United Arab Emirates, Iran is not indicated as a source of military aggression, the probability of which is estimated as “extremely small”, despite the territorial dispute. The same is true of Cairo. For the latter, the guerrilla war in Sinai and terrorist activity inside the country are incomparably more important than Iranian intrigues. The issue of intra-Arab confrontation in this case is much more extensive. This is primarily economic rivalry, which is associated with the establishment of control over the majority of ports in the Red Sea, the region of the Horn of Africa and part of the Indian Ocean. Recently, competition has begun to actively manifest itself in Africa. Confrontation is not only along the axis of the “Arab Four” – Turkey – Qatar, but also between the CSA and the UAE, on the side of which the Egyptians play. In this regard, the efforts of the US administration can lead to a general meeting, but not to a consensus. Qatar will not stop supporting loyal troops in Libya and Sinai in opposition to the UAE and Egypt, will not close Al Jazeera and withdraw Turkish troops. In order to reach a compromise, it is necessary that Qatar publicly refuse to bet on the Muslim Brotherhood as a global instrument for spreading influence in the Muslim world. This undermines his position in the Arab countries, where the “Brothers” are incorporated into power. Plus, it will affect the alliance with Turkey, where this ideology is pro-government. The main thing is not clear why this is Qatar. He successfully succeeded in many respects because of the warming of relations with Iran, overcame the attempts of the “Arab four” to strangle the emirate with a blockade and increasing its opposition in all directions.
It is difficult to say whether this is understood in the White House. There, the real motives and the main threats to national security for all parties to the conflict are clearly misunderstood. Washington is convinced of the universality of the slogan of the Iranian threat as a tool for the re-creation of Arab solidarity. This is a very primitive view of things: the main threat to it is the Arabs, not the Persians. In this regard, Washington’s attempts to create a pan-Arab anti-Iranian bloc are doomed to failure. Iran and the Shiites are not considered in the Arab world (except for KSA and Bahrain) as an absolute evil. And in the foreign policy of the KSA and Qatar, tendencies to depart from the narrowly confessional approach to the choice of potential allies in the Arab world, which is especially evident in the case of Iraq, where Riyadh intensified contacts with the Shiite leaders.
It is worth noting that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action was approved by UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and any changes to it should be approved. Without the connection of Russia and China, they will be invalid. Americans probably will not pedal the consultation process. The main intermediary role in this issue was assumed by Paris. The French are trying to persuade Tehran to share the SVAP and the missile program. Earlier in Iran, it was stated that the imposition of sanctions would automatically mean the elimination of a nuclear deal. Paris’s activity in this matter is clear: he puts forward the option of “saving the face” of Trump and thereby tries to return to the Saudi market of military-technical cooperation, from where the United States ousted France.
We venture to assume that her efforts will not lead to a compromise agreement between Washington and Tehran. Moreover, the other members of the SVAP took a wait and see attitude and, it seems, determined their reaction to the US exit from the deal. The most real scenario for the development of events will be the US withdrawal in May from the SVPD. At the same time, Washington will not impose any sanctions (at least tangible) on the EU. Thus, Trump retains his face, and the EU – economic interest. At the same time, the deal will remain in place, and the United States will unsuccessfully try to revise Iran’s missile program, which does not fall under UN Security Council resolutions. Otherwise, this, following American steel duties, will mark another round of economic warfare, when Europeans will transfer their companies under EU jurisdiction as a priority source of law, which they have done more than once.
Apparently, the decision to withdraw “European companies from possible sanctions” was discussed by French President E. Macron during his visit to the US. Thus, Total corporation will seek permission to operate the South Pars field in Iran, even in the case of US sanctions against this country. This was stated by the head of the corporation Patrick Puyanne. It is doubtful that the French will leave unless they receive permission from the US. Repayment from Washington in the form of a share of the Arabian arms market in that case should be incommensurable. They did not leave Russia after the introduction of appropriate sanctions, and Berlin did not abandon the Nord Stream-2 project. When it comes to economics, the EU becomes a very persistent player. However events develop, they play on Russia and China, since they either remove competitors from the market, and Moscow receives guarantees to maintain the stability of its exports due to the refusal of the EU and a number of countries from Iranian hydrocarbons, or they leave the deal in effect and thereby create a crisis the EU-US line.