Washington—The new US administration has not yet settled its policy towards the Middle East, and the current US tours to the region aim to determine the features of this policy, said Paul Salem, vice president for policy and research at the Middle East Institute in Washington.
Salem pointed out that US president Donald Trump’s expected visit to the Middle East will tackle terrorism, Iran, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the Syrian crisis.
In a press statement on the sidelines of the door-knocking delegation in Washington, he noted that Egypt and other countries should take into account that the White House does not make decisions on its own, as the congress and judiciary are main players in the political scene.
Salem noted that the congress may approve acting against Iran, but they may perhaps reject to cancelling the nuclear deal with Iran. Moreover, the US administration is cooperating with Iraq, which falls under Iran’s influence, in order to counter terrorism there, while the US works in Syria on removing the Iranian influence there.
He believes that the US administration is only concerned about facing militant groups. The US administration supports the moderate Egyptian model and welcomed the calls for the development of Al-Azhar to boost tolerance between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.
In regards to Qatar and Turkey’s role in supporting terrorism, Salem said that there is an extended dialogue with Doha and Ankara about what is happening in Syria.
He ruled out a significant change in Syria because of the difficulties facing the establishment of an independent Kurdish state, noting that Syria may establish a federal rule granting Kurds more authority in the management of their affairs.
Salem noted that Russia is mainly concerned with the stability of Syria more than it does the Assad regime, and no one knows the possible arrangements that may take place between Putin and Trump in this regard.
Regarding Libya, Salem said there is an international agreement on the UN’s management of the country, with the possibility of establishing a federal system.