Tasnim – An American political scientist said the Trump administration’s secret plan to nuclearize Saudi Arabia and its recognition of Israel’s ‘sovereignty’ over Golan are both parts of a major plot to set up an alliance against Iran in the region.
“It is clear that with its consolidation of military presence in oil and gas-rich eastern Syria, its backing of Israel’s Golan Heights ‘security’ (and water) claims and its effort ‘to nuclearize’ Saudi Arabia, the Trump Administration is setting up its alliance for an attack on Iran,” Beau Grosscup, California State University Professor Emeritus of Political Science, told Tasnim.
Following is the full text of the interview.
Tasnim: US President Donald Trump on Monday formally recognized the occupied Golan Heights as Israel’s territory. What’s your take on this?
Grosscup: It’s clear President Trump’s decision to formally recognize the Golan Heights as now part of Israel is to accept Prime Minister Netanyahu’s argument that it is imperative for Israel’s security to do so. US and Israeli officials argue that Iran, Syria and Russia have designs on the area, thus it is imperative to solidify Israeli control of this strategic area, (thus ironically setting up the 20,000 Israeli settlers a ‘human shield.’) In essence, with his numerous other moves, most importantly the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem and the closure of the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, Trump has explicitly made the US a partner in support of Israel’s goal of a ‘greater Israel.’ In terms of Israeli politics, the Golan Heights move also helps Netanyahu’s election chances as it sets the Prime Minister apart from his right-wing opponents (all of who agree with the move) because as Prime Minister and Defense Minister he can take actions that they cannot, thus separating himself as ‘the man of action.’ Plus, it shows that Netanyahu has influence with the US President, while they do not.
Tasnim: How should the international community particularly the UN react to this?
Grosscup: The international community and the UN are already on record as condemning past Israeli actions with regard to its occupation of the Golan Heights. UN Resolution 497 says the “The Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.” UN Resolution 242 makes it clear that the acquisition of territory by war is not legal. The UN Security Council and US allies, in particular, the European Union have already registered their objections to the Trump/Netanyahu claim that the Golan Heights area formal part of Israel. They should continue to rally political and public support for the enforcement of both existing UN resolutions. Without enforcement power, and the US backing of Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights, the UN and the international community have few options unless they are prepared to go to war.
Tasnim: Reports suggest that Trump will recognize West Bank as Israeli territory in his next move. Do you believe so?
Grosscup: It is clear that with Trump’s support of Israel’s claims on the Golan Heights, that the veil of the US as a ‘neutral party’ or ‘honest broker’ in the Palestinian/Israeli peace process has been shredded. The US is now explicitly in support of Israel’s longstanding goal of a ‘Greater Israel’ and return to it’s self-proclaimed ‘historic’ borders. Thus, I expect President Trump will recognize any move the Israelis make concerning the West Bank, in particular Area C (60 percent of the West Bank). The same can be said of the Gaza Strip that is now virtually an Israeli prison. In essence, President Trump and the US Security State is in lockstep with Israel’s policy in the occupied territories.
Tasnim: How do you think the decision by Trump could scuttle other ongoing peace-making efforts in the region?
Grosscup: There is the possibility President Trump’s decision to support Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights will strengthen the resolve of Russia, Iran and Turkey for a diplomatic peace agreement on the Syrian conflict as a way to set up a formal counter-alliance to the US/Saudi/Israel effort to attack Iran. It is more likely that the move on the Golan Heights is a signal to the Middle East Arab states and European allies that the US is not interested in diplomatic efforts to reach peace, and that only raw military power now matters. It is clear that with its consolidation of military presence in oil and gas-rich eastern Syria, its backing of Israel’s Golan Heights ‘security’ (and water) claims and its effort ‘to nuclearize’ Saudi Arabia, the Trump Administration is setting up its alliance for an attack on Iran.