December 19, 2017        Reading Time: 2 minutes

Your weekly digest of foreign policy commentary:

Reading Time: 2 min read

Shibley Telhami explains Washington’s shift in US policy on Jerusalem. Image credit – Sepavone / depositphotos.



China’s BRI Might Reshape the GCC’s Geostrategic Environment, Arab News, by Kerry Boyd Anderson, Political Risk Consultant

“There is significant potential for GCC states to benefit from the BRI …  but achieving that will require frequent adjustments in diplomacy and economic policy.”

  • Kerry Anderson explains the economic and strategic opportunities of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
    • BRI investments in GCC-allied countries could increase investment, trade and other opportunities for GCC countries. The GCC could offer its allies expertise in ports, logistics and energy development.
    • BRI investments in GCC allies like Pakistan and Egypt could strategically benefit the GCC, since China would also want to maintain political stability in those countries.
    • However, the BRI is also likely to benefit countries that the GCC has problematic relations with, for example, Iran. The GCC may therefore need to adjust its policies on those countries to fully realise the benefits of the BRI.



Why is Trump Undoing Decades of U.S. Policy on Jerusalem?, Brookings Institute, by Shibley Telhami, Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at Brookings.

“It is almost impossible to see the logic of the Trump administration’s expected recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.”

  • Shibley Telhami explains President Trump’s decision to (1) recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and (2) consider moving the US embassy there. He notes that:
    • This decision could stem from the Trump Administration’s (1) inability to deliver a peace deal involving Israel and Palestine, and (2) reliance on advisors with unprecedented levels of inexperience with the Middle East.
    • This move goes against the priorities of the US in the Middle East: fighting Islamist militancy and balancing Iranian influence.
    • Risks of this announcement could include, instability in American allies in the region, like Jordan, and the withdrawal of Palestine from negotiations with Israel. It could also help US opponents in the region mobilise support against the US and its allies.

Written by Divya Hundlani and edited by Anishka De Zylva.

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