Trump’s policy shift over the Golan Heights will stir the pot in volatile Syria

Fig leaves that masked the nastier realities of US power – especially with regard to its actions in the Middle East – are being discarded

Patrick Cockburn
Friday 22 March 2019 18:39 GMT
Mike Pompeo says it is 'possible' that God send Trump to save Jewish people

The Trump wrecking ball strikes again as he recognises Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights in Syria. The unexpected and arbitrary nature of the decision makes the world feel a more anarchic and dangerous place where territorial land grabs are abruptly legitimised.

Trump is tearing up the international rule book which has been largely devised by the US since 1945 and of which Washington was the main beneficiary. The alliances and multilateral institutions through which the US once asserted its superpower status are contemptuously discarded.

Why did the president do it? The obvious short term motive is to strengthen Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the eve of Israel’s elections on 9 April. A feature of Trump’s way of operating, which is to support populist nationalist right-wing leaders wherever they emerge – from Sao Paulo to Tel Aviv and Manilla.

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