Only less than two months before having to leave the White House, Trump's chief Mideast Advisor Jared Kushner and his son-in-law who's reportedly best friends with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, is expected to pay the Middle East one last visit as a US senior official, and the visit is expected to bring the region too many changes.
Jared Kushner will be in Noem, Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week; it's a continued bid to ease tensions in region, per admin officials. He's traveling with @aviberkow45, @AdamUSDFC and Brian Hook, an ex State official who's now an unpaid adviser on Mideast.https://t.co/8U8mlAhtfA— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) November 29, 2020
This morning, Reuters and several other US sources have reported news of a Middle East trip Kushner is making to at least Saudi Arabia and Qatar, unleashing numerous speculations over the outcome of his visit.
Kushner is reportedly headed to the Middle East accompanied by former policy advisor Brian Hook, the CEO of the newly created international development finance corporation Adam Boehler, in addition to the special representative for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz.
The visit comes amid heightened tensions in the region, following the assignation of Iranian top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh near Tehran and a secret visit of the Israeli Prime Minister to the Saudi city of Neom, one that was only reported by the press with no Israeli official comments yet.
Jared Kushner is heading to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week in a last-ditch attempt to secure more diplomatic agreements in the Middle East before the Trump administration leaves office in January, according to U.S. and Gulf officials https://t.co/ypqV5iwS1R— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 29, 2020
However, the fact that the announcement included both Saudi Arabia and Qatar on the agenda suggested that the US delegation is probably crafting an agreement between Saudi Arabia and its regional allies with Qatar, after more than three years of their major dispute that resulted in cutting all ties between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt on one side, and Qatar on the other.
The 2017 Gulf crack had been linked to the Trump administration's efforts to indirectly encourage Saudi Arabia and the UAE towards isolating Qatar in exchange for $1 billion worth of business contracts with Saudi and the UAE. Additionally, the timing of the GCC rift was linked to Trump's only visit to the Middle East in May 2017, during which he met with leaders of many countries in the region, including those of GCC states.
To push Saudi Arabia and Qatar to normalise relations with Israel under Trump Watch ? ?— Randa HABIB (@RandaHabib) November 30, 2020
Trump senior aid Jared Kushner and his team heading to #SaudiArabia and #Qatar this week https://t.co/ibGJFHk6cR
While many experts are expecting Kushner's visit to witness the signing of an agreement to end the GCC crisis, some also linked the fact that Kushner's visit is scheduled to the Saudi city of Neom, the closest geographical spot to Israel and the city that hosted the most recent 'secret' meeting between the Israeli Prime Minister and the Saudi heir to the throne last week, to possible US efforts to include Israel in the upcoming agreement.
Despite it being mere speculations, political analysts are referring to the Trump administration's efforts to score a major Middle East breakthrough before leaving the White House next January, to boost their chances in case President Donald Trump or other members of his family decide to run again for office in upcoming races.
There’s lots of buzz in Israel about more Arab countries signing normalization deals soon. https://t.co/wFYnntAHXh— Mairav Zonszein מרב זונשיין (@MairavZ) November 30, 2020
Last September, the Trump administration brokered the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain, which paved the way for full diplomatic ties between them. In October, he also announced plans to sign a similar agreement between Israel and Sudan. Since then, Trump has talked about "several other Arab states interested in normalization with Israel."
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