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Mon, 27 Jan 2020 06:22 GMT

How the US Mid-Term Elections will Affect Middle East Policy


Meriam H. Helal - 7Dnews Washington DC

Tue, 06 Nov 2018 17:57 GMT

It is an important question to ask as the world is watching the gruelling and costly race between Democrats and Republicans across the United States: how the result of this race will have an impact on the Trump administration’s Middle East policy.

Paul Salem, president of the Middle East Institute says, “If Democrats secure a majority in the House of Representatives in this mid-term elections, it would have an impact - but only quite limited - on the administration's Middle East policy.” 

He explains, “Foreign policy remains largely the prerogative of the president, and past presidents like Barack Obama and George W Bush have continued on their foreign policy trajectories even after mid-term losses. In addition, in this election, Middle East policy issues have not figured highly in voters' minds.”

However, Salem adds, “A House majority would give Democrats chairmanship of key committees such as Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Intelligence. It also would enable them to launch investigations, with subpoena power, that could harass the administration. Based on the results of the report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, they could possibly begin impeachment proceedings against the president as well.”

He explains, “A Democratic majority might oppose strong secondary Iran sanctions on allies in Europe and Asia, and might try to restore some assistance to the Palestinians. It also might not be supportive of an open-ended US military presence in Syria.”

The biggest difference might be over the relationship with Saudi Arabia, and in particular US cooperation in the war on Yemen. The administration already tried to get ahead of this issue last week when the secretaries of State and Defence called for an end to the fighting in Yemen.

In the end, Paul Salem concludes that the foreign policy trajectory of the Trump administration is likely to continue in its broad outlines, regardless of what happens on Tuesday.

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