Claude Salhani is the Opinion section editor of The Arab Weekly.

  • How Trump’s tweets affect relations with Iran , On: Sun, 19 Mar 2017

  • Why Bashar Assad survives the Syrian deluge , On: Sun, 12 Mar 2017

  • Much more than brute military force needed to defeat ISIS , On: Sun, 05 Mar 2017

  • War on ISIS more complicated than Trump says , On: Sun, 26 Feb 2017

  • The wider issue of travel bans goes beyond Trump , On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • Palestine — the forgotten cause, On: Sun, 12 Feb 2017

  • The failure to predict, On: Sun, 22 Jan 2017

  • What the future holds for the Middle East , On: Sun, 15 Jan 2017

  • A look ahead at the Middle East in 2017 , On: Sun, 08 Jan 2017

  • Why the UN Security Council vote on Syria is not the solution , On: Sun, 25 Dec 2016

  • The Syrian tango: One step forward, two steps back , On: Sun, 18 Dec 2016

  • How will history remember Assad? , On: Sun, 04 Dec 2016

  • The Kurds: Everyone’s ally and everyone’s foe, On: Sun, 27 Nov 2016

  • Israel should give peace a chance, On: Sun, 13 Nov 2016

  • What follows after ISIS retreat may be far worse , On: Sun, 13 Nov 2016

  • Michel Aoun: Machiavelli’s Prince or Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince? , On: Sun, 06 Nov 2016

  • Education is the only hope for the Middle East, On: Sun, 30 Oct 2016

  • The Syrian civil war irony: Russia, US reversal of roles? , On: Sun, 23 Oct 2016

  • Russia, US should be careful who they arm in Syria , On: Sun, 16 Oct 2016

  • Who holds the key to the Syrian enigma?, On: Sun, 09 Oct 2016

  • Israel’s lesson from the Lebanon 1982 invasion: Keep out, On: Sun, 25 Sep 2016

  • Iran seen provoking tensions with US at sea, On: Sun, 18 Sep 2016

  • What planet is Syria on? , On: Sun, 11 Sep 2016

  • Why the Islamic State is doomed and bound to collapse, On: Sun, 04 Sep 2016

  • Is Iran upping the Shia-Sunni divide?, On: Sun, 04 Sep 2016

  • Omran Daqneesh’s message , On: Sun, 21 Aug 2016

  • The culture of violence and death is self-defeating , On: Sun, 31 Jul 2016

  • ISIS on the rampage, On: Sun, 24 Jul 2016

  • France has become primary European target for ISIS , On: Sun, 17 Jul 2016

  • Europe’s camp of shame, On: Sun, 26 Jun 2016

  • A tribute to religious tolerance, On: Sun, 19 Jun 2016

  • The Syrian conundrum , On: Sun, 05 Jun 2016

  • Misunderstanding Islam , On: Sun, 29 May 2016

  • How prepared is the world for a cyberwar? , On: Sun, 22 May 2016

  • Hezbollah: From national heroes to regional villains , On: Sun, 22 May 2016

  • Iranians playing with fire in the Gulf , On: Sun, 08 May 2016

  • A glimmer of hope at the Islamic summit , On: Sun, 17 Apr 2016

  • The autocratic transformation of Erdogan, On: Fri, 08 Apr 2016

  • The debate about ISIS is far from over , On: Fri, 01 Apr 2016

  • How Trump’s tweets affect relations with Iran

    Trump administration’s modus operandi has been to deflect one potential crisis by creating another.


    2017/03/19 Issue: 98 Page: 6



    US President Donald Trump is undermin­ing his administra­tion by shooting from the hip with contradictory and often deceitful and misleading postings on Twitter. This very unpresidential behaviour will weigh against him in any nego­tiations he may have with foreign leaders, especially those mis­trustful of the United States for what they perceive to be biased policies.

    The Trump administration’s modus operandi has been to deflect one potential crisis by creating another in the hope that the media’s — and therefore the public’s — focus will shift from a potentially embarrassing outcome created by the fallout of the first crisis. The primary tool of choice has been the US president’s Twit­ter account, which has caused his presidency immense damage.

    New York Times columnist Charles Blow described Trump as “dangerous and unpredictable, gauche and greedy, temperamen­tally unsuited and emotionally unsound”. His Twitter episodes, Blow said, “make him look not only foolish but unhinged”. “Pres­idential credibility is American credibility,” Blow wrote.

    From January 20th to date, Trump’s tweets have time and again sent his White House staff members scrambling to defuse one live wire after another.

    During these weeks, the periodical barrage of tweets has harmed the president’s office, damaging its prestige and cred­ibility. Trump’s tweets have hurt the standing of the United States, probably more than all the accusa­tions thrown at it by the regime in Tehran.

    When the media kept pressuring the Trump administration to dis­close information about potential Russian involvement in his presi­dential campaign, Trump came up with the ludicrous allegations that former president Barack Obama had him wiretapped.

    US Representative Adam Schiff, D-California, who receives top intelligence briefings in his role as ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, expressed particular concern that Trump’s mischarac­terisation or fabrication of classi­fied information might affect the Iran nuclear deal.

    One week after Trump put out his accusatory tweets alleging that the former president had illegally wiretapped his phones inside the Trump Tower in New York, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer tried to downplay Trump’s dia­tribe by saying the president had used the word wiretap in quota­tions and did not mean he thought Obama personally wiretapped him

    Trump is coming under pressure from close advisers in the White House to get tougher on Iran, as tensions between the United States and the Islamic Republic reached new heights and face ad­ditional stumbling blocks.

    Several unrelated incidents have contributed to rising tensions between Washington and Tehran. During the first week of March, Is­lamic Revolutionary Guards Corps naval units hampered a US vessel sailing through the strategic Strait of Hormuz. Observers see the move as Iran’s testing Trump to see what it can get away with.

    Many within the administration want to see the nuclear deal be­tween Iran and the United States and other world powers renegoti­ated. They are not alone in not trusting the Islamic Republic.

    Besides imposing sanctions, however, US options are limited. Sanctions imposed by the United States in the past have achieved only limited success, given the ease with which Iran can import without hassle from Dubai, just across a narrow waterway, as it has been doing for centuries.

    Perhaps Trump would rather get into a tweeting feud with Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has apparently revived his Twitter account.

    Editors' Picks

    The Arab Weekly Newspaper reaches Western & Arabic audience that are influential as well as being affluent.

    From Europe to the Middle East,and North America, The Arab Weekly talks to opinion formers and influential figures, providing insight and comment on national, international and regional news through the focus of Arabic countries and community.

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Publisher and Group Executive Editor: Haitham El-Zobaidi, PhD

    Editor-in-Chief: Oussama Romdhani

    Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Dalal Saoud

    Senior Editor: John Hendel

    Chief Copy Editors: Jonathan Hemming and Richard Pretorius

    Analysis Section Editor: Ed Blanche

    Opinion Section Editor: Claude Salhani

    East/West Section Editor: Mark Habeeb

    Levant Section Editor: Jamal J. Halaby

    Gulf Section Editor: Mohammed Alkhereiji

    Society and Travel Sections Editor: Samar Kadi

    Senior Correspondents:

    Mahmud el-Shafey (London)

    Lamine Ghanmi (Tunis)

    Correspondents

    Saad Guerraoui (Casablanca)

    Dunia El-Zobeidi (London)

    Roua Khlifi (Tunis)

    Rasha Elass - Thomas Seibert (Washington)

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Contact editor at:editor@thearabweekly.com

    Subscription & Advertising: Ads@alarab.co.uk

    Tel 020 3667 7249

    Mohamed Al Mufti

    Marketing & Advertising Manager

    Tel (Main) +44 20 6702 3999

    Direct: +44 20 8742 9262

    www.alarab.co.uk

    Al Arab Publishing House

    Kensington Centre

    66 Hammersmith Road

    London W14 8UD, UK

    Tel: (+44) 20 7602 3999

    Fax: (+44) 20 7602 8778

    Follow Us
    © The Arab Weekly, All rights reserved