Where Barack Obama failed in seeking peace in the Middle East, President Donald Trump has succeeded — and political commentators are taking notice of his major win.
According to National Review‘s Mario Loyola, the normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is “a milestone for peace in the Middle East” that demonstrates the success of Trump’s foreign policy in the region.
A “triumph for peace”
Last week, the United Arab Emirates became the third Arab state in history to normalize relations with Israel since its inception in 1948, the BBC reported. Previously, Israel had normalized relations with Egypt and Jordan.
As part of the deal, Israel agreed to suspend plans to annex territories in the West Bank, according to Reuters. Brokered by the Trump administration, the new deal was widely recognized as a historic breakthrough that may merit a Nobel Peace Prize for the Donald, as the New York Post reported.
Looking back on a history of conflict between Israel and Arab states, Loyola similarly hailed the agreement as the next step forward in the region and a stepping stone to diplomacy between Israel and Saudi Arabia, America’s ally.
“President Trump took a major step toward that future today. It is triumph for peace in the Middle East, and it will pay dividends for decades to come,” he wrote for National Review Thursday.
Success where Obama failed
Trump has been criticized for failing to negotiate a replacement to the Iran deal, and the administration’s peace plan for Israel and Palestine foundered amid criticism that it was slanted toward Israel, Reuters notes.
But the Israel–UAE deal demonstrates that Trump’s strongly pro-Israel policy is working, according to Loyola.
Reversing Obama, Trump has forged a closer bond with Israel while pursuing a campaign of “maximum pressure” against Iran that has included crippling sanctions and the targeted killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as CNBC notes. The UAE, importantly, also views Iran as a threat.
Despite criticism of Trump’s policies, it was these actions that emboldened Israel to make concessions it might not otherwise consider — something that Obama, no friend of Israel, failed to understand.
“Where Obama cozied up to Iran and cooled towards Israel, President Trump has unabashedly supported Israel while confronting Iran,” Loyola wrote Thursday. “This peace agreement has come, not in spite of the U.S. moving its embassy to Jerusalem and killing Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, but precisely because of those moves.”
However Trump got here, there’s little doubt that he is continuing to defy expectations of his presidency.