President Donald Trump meets with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and highlights the message that the ongoing goal of Israeli-Palestinian peace remains vital to regional stability.
CTH readers are entirely clear-eyed as to the scope of the challenge. No-one amid our association is naive to the seemingly impossible scale against the backdrop of history. It may be that their task is impossible. Yet, if they do not try then how will we know it can’t be done? And if they do not try, it most certainly won’t be done…
There is absolutely no doubt of the work that has been going on for months, quietly, mostly under the radar. National media are completely deficient for not covering the ongoing events and the diplomacy that has been taking place all year.
We are living in a time amid a remarkable confluence of events.
The reality of President Obama’s expressed foreign policy of regime change -regardless of cost or consequence- has left millions of Mid-East communities in peril; far worse off today than they were nine years ago.
The Egyptian people, in no way a populist entity favorable to Israel, suffered through two years of brutal dictatorship from the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohammed Morsi. Their very survival only due to a successful return of cultural and economic stability at the hands of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
The Syrian people, again holding no favorable disposition toward Israel writ large, only just now coming out of the shadows of a horrific five-year civil war and seeing sunlight for the first time in half a decade. Perhaps breathing room.
The Libyan people, caught amid an ongoing crisis of regional and tribal strife suffering through ongoing extremist violence that has taken them into the depths of economic and social chaos. And before the fighting is even over, Europe is outlining demands of the North African gates.
The Jordanian people, again a tenuous and precarious Muslim nation, who has watched the most barbaric and horrific consequences from extremist violence in their lifetimes.
At no moment in history has the choking consequence of a decade-long ideological war left a larger population of people so exhausted than at this very moment.
Think of the nationalist possibility. ♦ Fattah al-Sisi (Egypt), ♦ King Abdullah II (Jordan), ♦ Benjamin Netanyahu (Israel), ♦ Mahmoud Abbas (Palestinian Authority), and ♦ U.S. President Donald Trump have a remarkable canvas.
Egyptian President al-Sisi already secured the Sinai border region. Under-reported in Western media, during the fall/winter of 2014 and spring/summer of 2015 al-Sisi removed every Hamas/Gaza tunnel and relocated thousands of homes to create a miles-wide buffer zone no longer useful by terrorists.
The scope of what Egypt did to secure the Southern and Eastern border of Israel/Gaza is quite remarkable, and they have paid a high price battling extremists every inch of the way.
Simultaneously, as his Egyptian forces were removing the most significant security threat, al-Sisi brokered a peace deal between Abbas and Netanyahu and forced the Palestinian Authority to speak with one voice. That’s why Egypt was so furious when John Kerry insisted on poking his nose into the agreement.
After the peace deal, and after he constructed the border security zone, Fattah al-Sisi then set up the construct for a Joint Arab Intervention Force. It was into this regional backdrop of ongoing activity that President Trump arrived, surreptitious timing.
More than any other Arab leader Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has led the way in confronting Islamic terrorism. It was President al-Sisi who exiled the Muslim Brotherhood and formed a coalition of Arab nations to confront the extremist elements promoting violence.
President al-Sisi’s call to confront extremism was joined by King Abdullah II (Jordan) in 2014; and that eventually led to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States uniting and forming an anti-extremism Arab coalition. [Backstory Here]
President al-Sisi delivered a 2015 New Year speech to the the most influential Islamic scholars and faith leaders calling upon internal reform to confront the radical elements within the Muslim faith. Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz honored President al-Sisi for his efforts at creating a stable coalition for peace just prior to his death a few weeks later in late January 2015.
After taking power in 2015 Saudi King Salman took up the cause for al-Sisi’s peace coalition, and that was the beginning of a series of events that culminated in this 2017 Arab Islamic American Summit. If regional peace is achieved, history will show how significant Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was in that result.
Allow us to highlight some of the actionable items that showcase a man of action behind his words. Since reluctantly taking power in 2013 Fatah al-Sisi has:
◾Disbanded the Muslim Brotherhood as a political terror entity. (link) (link)
◾Arrested those who burned churches and attacked Coptic Christians. (link) (link)
◾Jailed or banished the extremist forces. (link)
◾Supported Israel’s right to exist and defend it’s borders. (link) (link)
◾Defeated Hamas in the border region. (link) (link)
◾Destroyed the border terror tunnels used by Hamas (link) (link)
◾Pressured Hamas and the PA to negotiate the ceasefire, and forced the PA and Hamas to assemble ONE negotiating group for their interests. (link) (link)
◾Fought extremism in the Sinai region, and fought against ISIS infiltration.
◾Fought the Libyan new al-Qaeda network “Libyan Dawn”. (link)
◾Charged and prosecuted the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, who fled to Qatar. (link)
◾Followed the MB to Qatar and initiated sanctions against Qatar until they stopped financing and harboring terror. (link)
◾Formed a coalition against Qatar including the UAE and Saudi Arabia who withdrew their ambassadors and isolated Qatar in the region. (link) (link)
◾Won reelection with almost 70% of the vote. (link) (link ) (link)
◾Holds an 80%+ job approval rating among ALL Egyptians. (link)
◾Shut down Qatar financed Al Jazerra propaganda machine. (link)
◾Supported the framework for a new constitution which supports minority protections. (link)
◾Won a victory against Qatar as they finally conceded and stopped safeguarding terrorists. Sending the MB leadership to the new safe harbor of Turkey. (link)
◾United the moderate (non violent) Arab coalition, the Gulf Security Council, and constructed a unity principle that supports the safety of Jordan and formed a coalition to defend if needed. (link)
◾Faced down and quietly defeated Turkey’s bid for a security council seat in the United Nations. (link) (link)
◾Negotiated a safe passage coalition for Israel and Greece to form an energy based economic trade agreement.
◾Continues to fight the Islamist extremists inside Libya. (link) (link)
◾Continues to fight ISIS in the Northern Sinai region. (link) (link) (link)
◾Expanded the border safety zone with Gaza to insure greater control and protection from weapons smuggling. (link)
These efforts, and specifically the removal of the Gaza ‘terror tunnels’, are what has eventually led to Hamas acquiescing to the political representation of President Abbas.
There’s a long way to go if any regional long-term stability is to take place. However, in the past three decades the collective interests and participants in the discussions have never been closer to each other than right now.