MIDDLE EAST (World Breaking News) – Trump complained this week on Twitter of the millions of dollars that his country devotes in financial aid to the Palestinians, an aid that has few benefits for Washington and should be cut, according to the president.
However, aid to the Palestinians is only a very small fraction of what the United States spends in the Middle East every year to seek to maintain a favourable order in which many agree in describing it as the most explosive region in the world.
- “We will not be blackmailed”: the response of the Palestinians to the threat of Donald Trump to withdraw US aid.
The amount of money allocated in aid to the Palestinians that motivated the Presidential tweet was US $ 260 million in 2016 . Additionally, Washington is the main donor to the United Nations specialised agency for the support of Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, for which it allocated US $ 368 million in 2016.
The most favoured
However, according to data available on the website of the United States Agency for International Development, US AID, the United States devotes about six times more in financial aid to Israel, a country that receives more than US $ 3,000 million annually from Washington.
Almost all of this aid to Israel is contained in military support, with the Israeli government being one of the main recipients of US money in the world.
In addition to the need to support Washington’s closest ally in the region, this aid is usually supported by the Jewish community in the United States, which has traditionally mobilised its significant political power to ensure a steady flow of resources to Israel. and his military supremacy in a region where he does not lack enemies.
However, Israel is not the main beneficiary of US aid in the Middle East.
This position corresponds to Iraq, a country that 15 years after the beginning of the US invasion and the second Gulf War, still suffers from enormous problems of instability and insurgency.
The majority of US troops left during the previous Barack Obama administration, but the United States continues to invest more than US $5 billion annually in economic and military aid to Baghdad , seeking to prevent this strategic nation in the Middle East from disintegrating on behalf of the religious and political divisions that have given impetus to numerous insurgencies, including the most recent of the so-called Islamic State.
The list of large beneficiaries of the US budget in the Middle East continues with Egypt and Jordan, each of which receives more than US $1 billion annually, according to information from US AID.
Egypt became one of the main recipients of funds in Washington after the Camp David agreements of the late 1970s, when the then Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat took the historic step of making peace with Israel in a sponsored negotiation for Washington.
Before that, Egypt had been an important beneficiary of Soviet aid, but by the end of the Cold War it began to receive the most modern American military equipment.
US aid survived the political turbulence that Egypt experienced during the so-called Arab Spring, and despite the few democratic credentials that its opponents acknowledge to the current Abdel Fattah el-Sisi government in Cairo, the relationship has been maintained, although not no frights
In August of 2017, the Trump government temporarily suspended up to US $ 290 million in the aid package for concerns over the Egyptian government’s stance on human rights.
Jordan has also benefited from the millions of Americans.
In this case, the reigning monarchy is seen as pro-American and, in the words of the USAID website, it is “a voice of moderation, peace and reform in the Middle East”, which makes it worth US $ 1.2 billion a year. Washington funds.
As can be seen, the United States devotes more than US $ 10 billion annually in direct aid to Middle Eastern countries. And this does not include other expenses that the superpower makes to maintain a balance favorable to its interests in the region.
This includes the cost of maintaining the Fifth Fleet of the US Navy, with its headquarters in Bahrain, in charge of guaranteeing the free navigation of the Persian Gulf, one of the key routes of world oil.
And military bases like that of Al Udeid in Qatar, considered essential for the war effort against the Islamic State.
What does the United States get in exchange for all this spending?
The objectives of US policy in the region have always been multiple.
They include the guarantee of access by western countries to the oil resources of the area, the protection of traditional allies such as Israel, and in more recent years, the fight against terrorism and the containment of what the United States and its allies see as expansionism Iranian in the region.
Also, for many years, a central aspect of US policy was the search for a Palestinian-Israeli peace agreement. Trump himself has said that this is the great agreement that, if produced under his mandate, would seal his reputation as a “great negotiator”.
Although his recent measures, which include the announced cut to the Palestinian funds, and above all, the decision to move his embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, make many observers see that possibility increasingly distant.
In any case, the Palestinian problem is just one of those that motivate US diplomacy in the region, and if measured by the amount of money that Washington invested in supporting its authorities, is several positions down the ranks of the allies Key to the United States in the Middle East.