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Cold War in the Islamic WorldSaudi Arabia, Iran and the Struggle for Supremacy$
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Dilip Hiro

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190944650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190944650.001.0001

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Trump Fuels Gulf Rivals’ Cold War

Trump Fuels Gulf Rivals’ Cold War

(p.313) 14 Trump Fuels Gulf Rivals’ Cold War
Cold War in the Islamic World

Dilip Hiro

Oxford University Press

In his 21 May 2017speech to the Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh, US President Donald Trump conflated Shia radicalism with Sunni jihadism. His thesis fell apart on 7 June when ISIS suicide bombers attacked Iran’s parliament. Undeterred, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman led a diplomatic and commercial boycott of Qatar for maintaining normal relations with Tehran. His move drew Qatar and Iran closer. After declaring Lebanese Hizbollah a terrorist organization, Bin Salman pressured Saad Hariri, the Sunni prime minister, to dismiss the two Hizbollah ministers in his cabinet. When Hariri dithered, he was summoned to Riyadh where he announced his resignation under duress. Fearing destabilization of Lebanon, holding one million Syrian refugees, America and France pressed Bin Salman to let Hariri return to Beirut, where he withdrew his resignation. On 6 December, Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, thus legitimizing the annexation of East Jerusalem after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War in violation of international law. As Organization of Islamic Cooperation president, Turkey called a summit in Istanbul to denounce Trump’s move. King Salman was not among the fifty-odd heads of state or government attendees. With that, Saudi Arabia forfeited its claim to be primus inter pares among Muslim nations.

Keywords:   Donald Trump, ISIS suicide bombers, Muhammad bin Salman, Qatar, Lebanese Hizbollah, Saad Hariri, Jerusalem, OIC summit, Turkey, King Salman

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