Trump would work for Palestinian-Israeli peace, adviser says
New York - Donald Trump, despite seeming inconsistencies and often harsh comments regarding the Middle East, was not disparaging Islam and the region overall but referring to extremist elements in some of his most notorious statements, said Walid Phares, an adviser to Trump campaign for president.
Trump has staked out a nationalistic position in regards to immigrants, promising to build a wall along the US-Mexican border and threatening to bar — for a time at least — the entry into the United States of refugees from the Middle East.
Regarding Trump’s shifting statements about Islam and the Arab world, Phares said: “He [Trump] is essentially a business man. He has said more than once that he will reach out to both the Arab world and Muslim world. He has many friends in the Arab world and he will be a strategic partner to some Arab countries.”
He added: “Trump did not talk about Islam in general, not the doctrinal aspects of Islam. He was referring to extremist Islamic movements. All of his advisers support the Arab populations in their fight against extremists.”
Rather than force Middle Eastern issues to the sideline, the adviser said Trump would likely use his deal-making background to find solutions to some of the region’s most intractable problems, such as the Palestinian- Israeli stalemate.
“Trump is someone who’s used to making deals,” Phares said. “He likes to always take centre seat and when he becomes president of the United States, he will sit at the centre in negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.”
Phares revealed that Trump was in contact with representatives of the Palestinian Authority as well as the Israelis.
Phares said Western ideas of a “new Middle East” are “fantasies” and that “Trump himself does not believe in them.”
Phares insisted that the time of regime changes by force in the Arab world is gone as people now demand the right to choose their destinies. Phares criticised Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton’s collaboration with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt while she was secretary of State. Under Clinton, according to Phares, the US State Department refused to work with certain groups but welcomed some others.
Phares pointed out that many Muslims in Michigan support Trump because they know he is not against Islam. Phares claimed “there is a media campaign focusing on Trump as a person to smear him politically” and that “80% of the American media oppose him”.
He continued: “Trump did not talk about Islam in general, not the doctrinal aspects of Islam. He was referring to extremist Islamic movements. All of his advisers support the Arab populations in their fight against extremists.”
Phares said US President Barack Obama’s policies towards Iran was “childish and led to Iran’s control of Iraq and the emergence of [the Islamic State] ISIS.” Phares said Trump “has reservations on the nuclear deal with Iran and wants the relation to be more affirmative and that there should be a wider participation by Arab allies”.
Phares pointed out that “Trump has said nothing about Qatar and Turkey and this means that, when he becomes president, the subject of both countries will be brought up.” He said that “Trump did mention the Muslim Brotherhood and we must keep in mind that when we talk of the Brotherhood’s supporters, we refer to Qatar and Turkey. This means that the Muslim Brotherhood has a problem now and must be dealt with once and for all.”
Concerning the Republican Party’s economic agenda, Phares said: “Trump’s original idea in the context of the economy and on a personal level is that for everyone in America to become rich by achieving a higher economic growth for everybody. He was talking about the vast majority of Americans… [Clinton] wants to take from the rich to give to the poor, which is an outdated idea.”
Concerning terrorism and fighting the Islamic State (ISIS), Phares said: “The issue does not deserve all of this time.” He said Trump is in favour of an Arab- Kurdish alliance such that “the Sunni Arab zones will not be under the control of other sectarian parties.”
Another point on which the Republican candidate has been criticised concerns his assertion that US allies should reimburse the United States for defending them. Phares said that “the idea is not new and this is exactly what was happening all the time but it was not publicised. The US administration was able to get military bases or defend US interests in many other ways.” He said it should never be a question of money but that there should be real partnerships between the United States and its allies.