In a stunningly unexpected move, President Donald J. Trump rolled out not one but two historic peace deals in the past week between Israel and Arab nations: the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.
Just before the signing of these treaties at the White House, Trump stated that five other countries were in advanced negotiations with his administration for making their own deals with the Jewish nation.
“We’re very far down the road with five additional countries,” Trump stated, as he sat next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just minutes before the signing ceremony began.
There hadn’t been a major peace deal between Israel and any Arab nations for 25 years. After the first Oslo Accords were reached in 1993, in 1995, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed the second Oslo Accords treaty with Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) leader Yasser Arafat.
However, hopes for peace were dashed when Arafat ultimately walked away, convinced he could force more concessions from Israel by restarting the violent “intifada” demonstrations than by further negotiations.
Inevitable Scenario Suddenly Isn’t So Inevitable
For more than 20 years, the popular scenario for the Middle East, according to the experts in the Washington think tanks and at the Pentagon, has been that Iran under the mullahs would inevitably obtain nuclear weapons. Such a nuclear state backed by Russia and China would instantly garner an increasing amount of influence over the region. And that was going to be a massive problem for the rest of the world.
As the Washington Times‘ James Hackett put it in his “Iran in Focus” series in 2006:
“Some observers ask, why not just let Iran go nuclear? The answer is that nuclear weapons in the hands of the mullahs would be the most dangerous combination since the dawn of the nuclear age—a nuclear-armed state with ballistic missiles led by religious zealots. It would be a serious threat to world peace and to the very survival of the 6 million people, Jews and Arabs alike, who live in Israel.”
Iran’s leaders have many times openly stated their intent to use any nuclear weapons they acquire on the nation of Israel. Though some dismiss such genocidal pronouncements as just a bluff to be ignored, others, especially the nation of Israel itself, take these threats very seriously.
Beyond posing a very imminent threat to Israel, should Iran succeed in its goal of obtaining nuclear weapons, the resulting power imbalance would allow the mullahs to bully their non-nuclear neighbors into all kinds of otherwise unacceptable concessions.
Given the amount of trouble that Iran has caused the world since the overthrow of the shah in 1979, it takes little imagination to see just how much mayhem Tehran could spread globally as a nuclear power.
Even as a non-nuclear nation, Iran has developed extensive criminal networks around the globe. It’s had much success until now in using its terror, drug, weapons, and human trafficking networks to influence events far beyond its borders, as well as to steer lucrative revenue to Tehran.
The assumption driving all threat scenarios in the Middle East for the past 20 years has been that Iran gaining nuclear weapons is an inevitability, and the best that could be hoped for was to delay Tehran’s nuclear breakout by a couple of years. That was the stated goal of the Iran deal put together under former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
To counter the coming inevitable Iranian nuclear umbrella covering the entire region, the Pentagon, defense contractors, lobbyists, and think tank foreign policy wonks all envisioned a growing U.S. and Western military presence in the Gulf region.
Yes, it had been assumed for decades that only a U.S.-led coalition had the capability of being an effective counter to a nuclear Iran, because the local nations would be unable to offer any real deterrent to Iranian aggression. As with the Persian Gulf War of 1990 and then the subsequent Iraq War that began in 2003, it was posited that the United States must always be in the lead or nothing could be accomplished.
But now, it appears not only is Iran not going to be allowed to go nuclear on Trump’s watch, there’s a rising power in the region that can assume the role of countering Iran.
Arab League Multinational Military Force
Instead of outside military forces led by the United States having to counter the Iranian-Russian-Chinese axis, suddenly there’s a new, homegrown player that can provide the needed counterbalance in the Middle East. It’s a multinational military force made up of more than 20 Arab and Islamic nations.
In 2016, with the Northern Thunder military exercises, these allied nations were already training an estimated 350,000 troops to coordinate and function together in sea, air, and land operations. They were doing this intense multifaceted training in preparation for taking on and destroying the ISIS caliphate.
It’s a popular misconception that it was U.S. forces leading the way in the destruction of ISIS. That’s not what really happened.
Commander-in-chief Trump has been reducing the number of U.S. troops in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan for some time. Those who remain are in a support or advisory role only. It was the now fully trained and armed Arab League commandos of this new multinational force who were going house-to-house against ISIS in places such as Raqqa and Mosul, not U.S. troops.
This was the first stiff test for this new force, and it got the job done and is now ready to take on the role of providing security for their own homelands. Which means that the United States and others now can depart.
What This Means for the Swamp
The completely unforeseen development of an Arab multinational force in an alliance with Israel taking over the security of the Persian Gulf region is going to have very serious financial consequences for a whole lot of people in Washington and at the Pentagon. That’s because many within the political and military elite class literally have their entire careers invested in a nuclear threat from Iran, and a corresponding U.S. military buildup.
Those who invested years of time and millions, if not billions, of dollars based on the expected expansion of the U.S. military’s footprint in the Gulf region aren’t happy about where things are suddenly unexpectedly headed.
A huge paradigm shift is underway, and those heavily invested in the old paradigm—both philosophically and financially—are suddenly waking up to realize that the ground on which they are standing is moving in a direction they didn’t expect or plan for, and one they certainly don’t like.
Peace in the Middle East this way will be an absolute disaster for some. I’m certain that if they could have, Washington establishment elites in Congress, in the defense lobbying industry, in the Pentagon, and even inside the White House itself would’ve done their best to try to sabotage the peace negotiations, if only they’d known about them.
And that’s the key. No one in the Washington swamp could prevent these treaties from being made because no one outside of Trump and a select few others knew about the secret negotiations until it was too late.
From Trump’s inner circle, there are no real leaks, and there haven’t been for some time. That’s the only way Trump and his trusted right-hand man, son-in-law Jared Kushner, have been pulling off all the deals that have only come to light in recent weeks, such as the Serbia–Kosovo economic deal, or the Kurdish oil deal.
The political and military elite establishment, set in its own ways with its own goals, can’t stop what’s unfolding because they simply can’t figure out what Trump is up to until it’s far too late.
And that’s a beautiful thing.
Brian Cates is a writer based in South Texas and the author of “Nobody Asked For My Opinion … But Here It Is Anyway!” He can be reached on Twitter @drawandstrike.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.