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Islam and the West ( 12 Nov 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Remaking The Middle East: How The US Grew Tired And Less Irrelevant: New Age Islam’s Selection From World Press, 13 November 2015

New Age Islam Edit Bureau

13 November 2015


Remaking the Middle East: How The US Grew Tired And Less Irrelevant

By Ramzy Baroud

Baghdad Is the Secret To ISIS Victory

By Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Rewriting Mideast History And Geography At Republican Debate

By Joyce Karam

Money Will Buy Israel Weapons But Not Security

By Yossi Mekelberg

Arab And South American Countries — A Stitch In Time

By Sabria S. Jawhar

PM Trudeau, Many Best Wishes From The Middle East

By Faisal J. Abbas

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau



Remaking the Middle East: How The US Grew Tired And Less Irrelevant

By Ramzy Baroud

12 November, 2015

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, is often perceived as one of the ‘good ones’ - the less hawkish of top American officials, who does not simply promote and defend his country’s military adventurism but reaches out to others, beyond polarizing rhetoric.

His unremitting efforts culminated partly in the Iran nuclear framework agreement in April, followed by a final deal, a few months later. Now, he is reportedly hard at work again to find some sort of consensus on a way out of the Syria war, a multi-party conflict that has killed over 300,000 people. His admirers see him as the diplomatic executor of a malleable and friendly US foreign policy agenda under President Obama.

In reality, this perception is misleading; not that Kerry is the warmonger as was George W. Bush’s top staff, such as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. The two were the very antithesis of any rational foreign policy such that even the elder George H. W. Bush described them with demeaning terminology, according to his biographer, quoted in the New York Times.

Cheney was an “Iron-ass”, who “had his own empire ... and marched to his own drummer,” H.W. Bush said, while calling Rumsfeld “an arrogant fellow” who lacked empathy.

Yet, considering that the elder Bush was rarely a peacemaker himself, one is left to ponder if the US foreign policy ailment is centered on failure to elect proper representatives and to enlist anyone other than psychopaths?

If one is to fairly examine US foreign policies in the Middle East, for example, comparing the conduct of the last three administrations, that of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, one would find that striking similarities are abundant. In principle, all three administrations’ foreign policy agendas were predicated on strong militaries and military interventions, although they applied soft power differently.

In essence, Obama carried on with much of what W. Bush had started in the Middle East, although he supplanted his country’s less active role in Iraq with new interventions in Libya and Syria. In fact, his Iraq policies were guided by Bush’s final act in that shattered country, where he ordered a surge in troops to pacify the resistance, thus paving the way for an eventual withdrawal. Of course, none of that plotting worked in their favor, with the rise of ISIS among others, but that is for another discussion.

Obama has even gone a step further when he recently decided to keep thousands of US troops in Afghanistan well into 2017, thus breaking US commitment to withdraw next year. 2017 is Obama’s last year in office, and the decision is partly motivated by his administration’s concern that future turmoil in that country could cost his Democratic Party heavily in the upcoming presidential elections.

In other words, US foreign policy continues unabated, often guided by the preponderant norm that ‘might makes right’, and by ill-advised personal ambitions and ideological illusions like those championed by neo-conservatives during W. Bush’s era.

Nevertheless, much has changed as well, simply because American ambitions to police the world, politics and the excess of $600 billion a year US defense budget are not the only variables that control events in the Middle East and everywhere else.

There are other undercurrents that cannot be wished away, and they too can dictate US foreign policy outlooks and behaviour.

Indeed, an American decline has been noted for many years, and Middle Eastern nations have been more aware of this decline than others. One could even argue that the W. Bush administration’s rush for war in Iraq in 2003 in an attempt at controlling the region’s resources, was a belated effort at staving off that unmistakable decay – whether in US ability to regulate rising global contenders or in its overall share of global economy.

The folly of W. Bush, Cheney and company is that they assumed that the Pentagon’s over $1.5 billion-a-day budget was enough to acquire the US the needed leverage to control every aspect of global affairs, including a burgeoning share of world economy. That misconception carries on to this day, where military spending is already accounting for about 54 percent of all federal discretionary spending, itself nearly a third of the country’s overall budget.

However, those who are blaming Obama for failing to leverage US military strength for political currency refuse to accept that Obama’s behavior hardly reflects a lack of appetite for war, but a pragmatic response to a situation that has largely spun out of US control.

The so-called ‘Arab Spring’, for example, was a major defining factor in the changes of US fortunes. And it all came at a particularly interesting time.

First, the Iraq war has destroyed whatever little credibility the US had in the region, a sentiment that also reverberated around the world.

Second, it was becoming clear that the US foreign policy in Central and South America - an obstinate continuation of the Monroe Doctrine of 1823, which laid the groundwork for US domination of that region – has also been challenged by more assertive leaders, armed with democratic initiatives, not military coups.

Third, China’s more forceful politics, at least around its immediate regional surroundings, signalled that the US traditional hegemony over most of East and South East Asia are also facing fierce competition.

Not only many Asian and other countries have flocked to China, lured by its constantly growing and seemingly more solid economic performance, if compared to the US, but others are also flocking to Russia, which is filling a political and, as of late, military vacuum left open.

The Russian military campaign in Syria, which was half-heartedly welcomed by the US. has signalled a historic shift in the Middle East. Even if Russia fails to turn its war into a major shift of political and economic clout, the mere fact that other contenders are now throwing their proverbial hats into the Middle East ring, is simply unprecedented since the British-French-Israeli Tripartite Aggression on Egypt in 1956.

The region’s historians must fully understand the repercussions of all of these factors, and that simply analyzing the US decline based on the performance of individuals – Condoleezza Rice’s hawkishness vs. John Kerry’s supposed sane diplomacy – is a trivial approach to understanding current shifts in global powers.

It will take years before a new power paradigm fully emerges, during which time US clients are likely to seek the protection of more dependable powers. In fact, the shopping for a new power is already under way, which also means that new alliances will be formed while others fold.

For now, the Middle East will continue to pass through this incredibly difficult and violent transition, for which the US is partly responsible.

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of His books include ‘Searching Jenin’, ‘The Second Palestinian Intifada’ and his latest ‘My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story’.


Baghdad Is the Secret To ISIS Victory

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

12 November 2015

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has controlled the city of Ramadi since May. It seized the city center after Iraqi troops fled. The assault included suicide bombings - 18 suicide car bombs reportedly went off at once.

The Iraqi command blamed the army for the city’s fall, and brought in Shiite militias called the Popular Mobilization Forces to retake Ramadi, but they also failed. The Americans refused to cooperate as they were well aware that they would become the target of citizens of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province.

Terrorism, extremism and chaos will continue as long as Baghdad is torn apart and politicians are confused.

Fighting returned to Anbar - which shares borders with Jordan and Saudi Arabia - after U.S. forces began participating in anti-ISIS operations. They are only fighting via the air force, and are directing Iraqi forces and Sunni tribes via consultants and intelligence. “The coalition forces wish to expel ISIS from Ramadi as soon as possible, but this may take a few weeks,” said a U.S. commander.


Even if they liberate Ramadi, the challenge is in the city of Mosul, the headquarters of ISIS’s command. “Battles there won’t be easy because ISIS will fiercely fight to defend it,” said the U.S. commander.

Why have all the above failed to defeat ISIS in Iraq, a country with a central government, army, oil exports, and a degree of stability? Not because ISIS is invincible, but because political leaders in Baghdad are incapable of overcoming their own problems.

The capital suffers from political chaos, the prime minister’s incapability, the interference of clerics, and an increase in Iranian influence over decision-making. This is in addition to former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s continuous incitement against his successor Haidar al-Abadi. If it had not been for international forces’ desire to fight ISIS due to fears of its expansion, it would have been close to Baghdad itself.

Once Baghdad corrects its practises, it can eliminate ISIS. However, we do not yet see such indications. Terrorism, extremism and chaos will continue as long as Baghdad is torn apart and politicians are confused.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.


Rewriting Mideast History and Geography At Republican Debate

By Joyce Karam

12 November 2015

"Russia flies in that zone at the invitation of, when you think it’s going to be a good idea to have a no fly zone over Iraq, realize that means you are saying we are going to shoot down Russian planes. If you’re ready for that, be ready to send your sons and daughters to another war in Iraq."

-Senator Rand Paul, the Republican debate in Wisconsin, 10 Nov. 2015.

The above quote illustrates the level of inaccuracy and hyperbole on foreign policy that went unchecked at the last Republican debate on Tuesday, hosted by Fox Business. With the exception of Senator Marco Rubio and former businesswoman Carly Fiorina, serious misstatements were made about the Middle East, substituting Syria for Iraq for example, or claiming that China is at war, or viewing Israel’s wall as a model to address illegal immigration in the United States.

While foreign policy is unlikely to be a make or break issue in the 2016 U.S. presidential race, discrepancies over current affairs and basic geography of the Middle East was all over the debate and should be a cause of concern for the GOP establishment. The higher likelihood of facing the Democratic party candidate Hillary Clinton in the general elections means bare minimum knowledge of the location of Syria, or of U.S. involvement in Iraq is important for winning a debate against the former Secretary of State.

Where is Syria

The biggest gaffe of the night was Rand Paul’s insisting four times that Russia is bombing Iraq, in an answer to a question about a No Fly Zone (NFZ) in Syria. Paul who comes from the isolationist wing of the Republican party, appeared to be isolated and detached himself from the Middle East political reality. His assumption that a NFZ in Iraq by the U.S. would drag Washington into “another war in Iraq” is so outlandish that it make Donald Trump’s Syrian proposal sounds rational. Moscow is neither bombing Iraq, nor has been invited to do so by the government in Baghdad. Washington, on the other hand, is still bombing Iraq 12 years after promising a bustling democracy in Baghdad.

As whimsical as Paul, was candidate Ben Carson suggesting that China is fighting in Syria. In an answer on the latest U.S. decision to deploy 50 Special Operations forces in Syria, Carson said “well, putting the special ops people in there is better than not having them there, because they — that’s why they’re called special ops”. Five seconds later Carson added “you know, the Chinese are there, as well as the Russians, and you have all kinds of factions there.” Carson is recently leading in the states of Iowa, North Carolina, Nevada, and Arizona. However, China is not a faction anywhere in the Middle East and the U.S. Special operations forces are part of a mission to train Kurdish and local forces.

Trump’s Wall and Jeb’s Lebanon

Another odd moment in Tuesday’s debate was Trump’s analogy of Israel’s security barrier as a model to his wall with Mexico, attempting to block the illegal immigration on the long border. Trump said “if you think walls don’t work, all you have to do is ask Israel” ignoring that Israel’s wall is against international law for being built on annexed Palestinian land and covers 650 kilometres compared to the 3110 kilometres needed on the U.S.-Mexican border.

Trump also praised Putin’s efforts in Syria, saying if Russia “wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%.” A small caveat here is that the majority of Russian strikes in Syria exclude ISIS. The U.S. State Department’s spokesman John Kirby estimated on October 17th that “greater than 90% of the strikes that we’ve seen them take to date have not been against ISIS or al-Qaida-affiliated terrorists.”

Another far cry from reality came from Jeb Bush stressing the threat of ISIS to a point that “if you’re a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or Iraq, or Syria, you’re going to be beheaded.” There hasn’t been any beheadings of Lebanese Christian civilians since ISIS declared its Caliphate on June 2014, albeit the minority feels more threatened in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Libya.

The debate had many valid attacks on Hillary Clinton’s record including her flip flopping on the keystone pipeline and the trade agreement issues, but one from Senator Ted Cruz did not. Cruz’s statement that Clinton and the Obama administration “abandoned the nation of Israel” is distortion. Coming on the week that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in Washington to secure an unprecedented $50 billion in military aid the next ten years, the U.S. approach is nowhere near abandonment.

Tuesday’s debate exposed a foreign policy disarray for the Republican Party in being torn between the Putin admirers and adversaries, and in offering a confused analysis over Syria’s war and geography. It’s a frightening reality for those who could potentially be on the receiving end in the Middle East, and perhaps puzzling for others in China or Mexico.

Joyce Karam is the Washington Correspondent for Al-Hayat Newspaper, an International Arabic Daily based in London. She has covered American politics extensively since 2004 with focus on U.S. policy towards the Middle East. Prior to that, she worked as a Journalist in Lebanon, covering the Post-war situation. Joyce holds a B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution. Twitter: @Joyce_Karam


Money Will Buy Israel Weapons But Not Security

By Yossi Mekelberg

12 November 2015

If proof was required that personal antipathies are secondary to political interests in the world of diplomacy, it was amply provided in the meeting on Monday between U.S. President Barak Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is hard to imagine a more awkward meeting in the history of relations between the two countries.

Obama could afford to be magnanimous in victory, and Netanyahu was forced to eat humble pie. After all, despite numerous blatant efforts by Israel to interfere in U.S. domestic politics, in its attempts to derail the nuclear deal with Iran, Obama prevailed.

Netanyahu cannot risk a deeper rupture with the United States, and in his typical insolence is requesting - almost demanding - that Israel be compensated for the risks derived, according to him, from the nuclear deal.

The U.S. administration takes a long strategic view of relations with Israel. It is resisting temptation to punish Israel for its intransigence, and for exploiting - even aggravating - rifts between Congress and Obama. Yet Washington seems reluctant to concede to all of Israel’s economic and military demands.

Iran Nuclear Deal

It was widely reported that Netanyahu arrived in Washington with a large shopping list that would have increased annual defence aid from $3 billion to $5 billion over the next decade. The Israeli argument is that an Iran free of sanctions will direct much of its increased revenues toward military expenditure, posing an ever-greater threat to Israel.

The assumption among decision-makers in Jerusalem is that Iran only agreed to the nuclear deal for tactical reasons. The agreement will ease sanctions and avert a military attack on its nuclear installations; both eventualities might have compromised the stability of the regime. Common wisdom among Israeli politicians and strategists is that Iran is cheating its way to obtaining a nuclear bomb.

Even the less pessimistic among them see the deal at best as no more than a 15-year hiatus for Iran to gain regional hegemony and eventually nuclear military capability. Under no circumstances are Israeli decision-makers capable of envisaging a political change in Tehran that would lead to it being less threatening.

Israel’s request for a substantial increase in military aid is as much about quality as quantity. The request apparently includes V-22 Osprey aircraft-helicopters, refuelling aircraft, and F-15SE stealth fighter jets, beyond the F-35 squadrons the Americans have already promised. This is an addition to a separate U.S. budget that funds the development of rocket and anti-ballistic missile defence systems.

Regional Instability

Amid regional instability, it is not shocking that Israel would like to maintain its technological superiority in order to deal with any eventuality. However, it reflects a collective psyche in which Israeli long-term security relies mainly on military might, with little room for diplomacy.

The United States consequently faces an arduous dilemma. Netanyahu and his advisors, who were viciously critical of the Obama administration and particularly the president, are banking Israeli security on their support. Despite the unwarranted Israeli questioning of Obama’s commitment to the wellbeing of the Jewish state, he kept pursuing a policy not that different from his predecessors in his support of Israel.

He justifiably, for the most part, has been more critical in public of Israel’s policies toward the occupied Palestinian territories and Iran. However, granting Netanyahu his wish to arm Israel to the teeth would reward behaviour that harms U.S. interests in the region and makes him even more inflexible, especially vis-à-vis the Palestinians.

On the other hand, in the troubled Middle East, a stable and powerful Israel is an asset to U.S. interests in the region. The almost impossible task for any American president is to keep Israel powerful enough to stay safe, but not intransigent so as to adversely affect U.S. interests. On the Iranian and Palestinian issues, Netanyahu’s government proved to be more an obstacle for Washington than an ally or an asset.

U.S. Domestic Politics

Add to this a domestic scene in the United States, especially during an election year, which requires any administration to overtly express in words and deeds its support for Israel. This leaves Obama with very limited room to manoeuvre in his policy toward Israel during his last year in office.

The meeting between Obama and Netanyahu was probably personally uncomfortable for both of them. Nevertheless, it represented a recognition on both sides that in the year or so left for Obama in the White House, their national and political interests demand some level of collaboration and civility.

Israel is very unlikely to see its entire arms shopping list approved, even if the triangle of the U.S. Congress, arms industry and Israeli lobby push for it very hard. Nevertheless, Obama has as good as abandoned his earlier years’ aspiration to go down in history as peace broker between the Israelis and Palestinians.

If this is the case, he would rather leave office not being perceived as someone who compromised Israeli security, or jeopardized the chances of a third consecutive Democratic term in the White House. Unfortunately, the immediate victims of this decision are Palestinian statehood and peace.

Yossi Mekelberg is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, where he is involved with projects and advisory work on conflict resolution, including Track II negotiations. He is also the Director of the International Relations and Social Sciences Program at Regent’s University in London, where he has taught since 1996. Previously, he was teaching at King’s College London and Tel Aviv University. Mekelberg’s fields of interest are international relations theory, international politics of the Middle East, human rights, and international relations and revolutions. He is a member of the London Committee of Human Rights Watch, serving on the Advocacy and Outreach committee. Mekelberg is a regular contributor to the international media on a wide range of international issues and you can find him on Twitter @YMekelberg.


Arab and South American Countries — A Stitch In Time

By Sabria S. Jawhar

12 November 2015

The 4th Summit of the Arab and South American Countries (ASPA) this week in Riyadh could not have occurred at a more critical time for the Gulf region. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has called on the Latin American countries to sign a free-trade agreement with Arab states.

All these meetings and deals are steps the Middle Eastern countries are taking to forge new alliances with other nations and doing away with their heavy reliance on the West.

Arab nations in the past couple of years have more or less felt like a free feast in a poor neighborhood of hungry people. They are attacked from every side and we often don’t know who are our enemies and who are our friends. We have been let down by our trusted allies, who happen to be world powers.

When the United States signed a nuclear arms agreement with Iran, it became clear that it was serving its own interests regardless of the countless warnings from Arab leaders that Iran is the leading source of instability in the region.

The evidence is overwhelming that Iran continues to scam western nations into thinking that it is ready to join the international community as a responsible player. Yet it continues to supply the Houthi rebels in Yemen with military equipment and supports rebels and militants in other parts of the Arab world. Iran would be only too happy to generate chaos in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia given the slightest opportunity.

Where does this leave Saudi Arabia and its neighbors? We are placed in a position to seek allies elsewhere and with countries that share the same values as Arabs. Arabs have much in common with Latin Americans. We are closer in culture and beliefs.

In South America, Peru and Uruguay have recognized Palestinian statehood. In Central America, Cuba, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras recognized Palestine’s right to exist as a state. Cuba, in fact, has actively supported the PLO by providing training and diplomatic and financial support.

Fidel Castro openly confronted Israel by declaring that it was practicing “Zionist fascism.” Such views reflected the strong feelings of Arabs.

As we reconsider our dependency on oil revenue and attempts to diversify our economy, we can look to the European Union as a model of strength for its economic policies relating to commerce (not European countries’ individual foreign policies). A similar union with Latin America would benefit both regions and would greatly strengthen the Gulf economies.

If we were to strengthen our ties with Latin America, it would behoove Saudis to also reconsider where it sends its university students enrolled in the King Abdullah Scholarship Program because Central and South American have many fine institutions. And it would also be vital if we teach Spanish as a language at the school level. As it stands, we only teach English as a foreign language because English is the international language and the language of business. Teaching Spanish is a natural step for Arabs since an estimated five percent of Latin America’s population is of Arab origin, and continues to grow at a rapid rate. It stands to reason that Spanish-speaking Arabs would only help enhance our relationship with the people of that region.

King Salman has demonstrated a deft foreign policy, as we wean ourselves from dependency on the United States and rethink our relationship with Russia. Saudi Arabia has been looking East to China for stronger economic ties, and now we are prepared to do the same with Latin America. These new relationships will help us overcome the betrayal of some of our western friends.


PM Trudeau, Many Best Wishes From The Middle East

By Faisal J. Abbas

 11 November 2015

Though it has only been a few days into his tenure, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seems to be on an impressive track of restoring Canada’s image as the fair, liberal, caring and proudly-diverse nation it was once perceived as, particularly among many in the Middle East.

Indeed, contrary to the extreme right, anti-immigration and dare I say quite racist (this aggregated article explains why) views and policies of his predecessor Stephen Harper, Trudeau is already being applauded for having formed Canada’s ‘first-gender balanced’ cabinet and ‘most-diverse’ government in the history of his nation.

Consisting of 15 women (and 15 men plus the PM) who include aboriginals and Canada’s first-ever Muslim minister (an honor which went to Afghan-born Maryam Monsef who is now Minister of Democratic Institutions), PM Trudeau was spot-on when he claimed that he formed a government that actually looks like Canada in 2015!

Canada's new Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains is congratulated by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AFP)

The newly elected PM has also created more positive reactions when he announced that he is fast-tracking the process for Canada to take in 25,0000 refugees before the New Year (that is a lot more than what some Arab countries took in in the past four years put together).

Now, while the issue of refugees is imminent and of paramount significance to the Middle East and the world at large - particularly as hundreds of thousands of homeless and hopeless people continue to flee war-torn countries such as Syria and Iraq; where the likes of Bashar al-Assad, ISIS and Iranian-backed militias continue to destroy homes and kill innocent men, women and children – it is of vital importance to note that it is not only refugees who are seeking to migrate to Canada.

Indeed, prior to the nine “hawkish” years under Harper, many highly-skilled, well-educated and internationally-minded Arabs favored Canada as a destination of choice since it had an extremely positive reputation of being fair, tolerant, kind and welcoming to those willing to contribute, work hard and/or invest.

Under Harper, many highly-skilled migrants complained that even if they made it through the various filters, it was still incredibly difficult for them to be able to enter or fairly compete in the Canadian job market.

Of course, this is not a call to open the gates and allow anyone in; nor will any rational person ever argue against the argument that security must come first and that there should be a zero-tolerance policy towards extremists and those who preach hatred or commit crimes.

However, this is not a reason to push most Arabs and Muslims in your country to feel that they are being painted with the same brush. It is also not a reason for any government to throw itself fully and embarrassingly into Israel’s lap, nor to upset major Gulf allies renowned for being moderate states, reasonable players and long-term friends of Canada; all of which Harper managed to achieve during his nine-year tenure.

Lessons from Obama

For many observers in the Middle East, Trudeau’s recent win bears much resemblance to Barack Obama’s rise to power back in 2008, and as such, there are definitely a few points worth noting.

The one thing we really don’t wish to see is for Mr. Trudeau to repeat President Obama’s fatal mistakes of over-promising and under-delivering

Indeed, just as Mr. Obama’s back-story, his personal achievements and charm helped restore belief in the ‘American Dream’ and in U.S. Foreign Policy after what was considered a disastrous era under President George W. Bush; PM Trudeau – with his political heritage, progressive thinking and the nation’s support - has a major opportunity to rebuild Canada’s global reputation and long-term role of being a peace broker and a fair player.

However, the one thing we really don’t wish to see is for Mr. Trudeau to repeat President Obama’s fatal mistakes of over-promising and under-delivering.

Following his highly-acclaimed Cairo Speech of 2009, Arab expectations went through the roof. However, only a few years later, the current administration’s hesitant foreign policy is being held responsible for Syria atrocities, for the spread of militant groups and for what could arguably be one of the worst periods in the relationship with many long-term Gulf allies.

As such, Mr. Trudeau will be well-advised to wait, observe carefully and consult with his country’s many friends in the region; particularly that most Arab states will definitely be more willing to work with a Canadian government that actually looks like the Canada… “Because it is 2015!”

Faisal J. Abbas is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya English, he is a renowned blogger and an award-winning journalist. Faisal covered the Middle East extensively working for Future Television of Lebanon and both Al-Hayat and Asharq Al-Awsat pan-Arab dailies. He blogs for The Huffington Post since 2008, and is a recipient of many media awards and a member of the British Society of Authors, National Union of Journalists, the John Adams Society as well as an associate member of the Cambridge Union Society. He can be reached on @FaisalJAbbas on Twitter.