Source: China Daily Published: 2019-01-02
Editor's Note: 2018 has come to an end and 2019 has arrived. Hua Liming, a senior fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, is one of the experts interviewed to summarize series of incidents last year whose influence will be felt this year.
Confrontation, stalemate and imbalance best describe the situation in the Middle East in 2018. The US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May and moved its embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in June.
By pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, US President Donald Trump has nullified the foreign policy achievement of his predecessor Barack Obama, and triggered what could be a destructive arms race in the Middle East.
The US has re-imposed sanctions on Iran, including those lifted under the historic Iran nuclear deal, driving Teheran into a corner.
The intensifying conflict between Washington and Teheran is now the greatest concern in the Middle East. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is becoming increasingly marginalized.
The goal of the US and Israel is clear: to marginalize Iran. Iran is now involved in nearly all serious conflicts in the Middle East, almost always on the side of those the US considers enemies. So the US and Israel will do whatever it takes to portray Iran as an enemy of the Arab world.
And although Trump is not always predictable, his moves suggest he is trying to woo voters in the US, because irrespective of the midterm election results, he is keen on seeking re-election in 2020.
Hua Liming is a former Chinese ambassador to Iran, and currently a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.