The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
What did Trump's SOTU say about the Middle East? Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

What did Trump's SOTU say about the Middle East?

Trump delivers first State of Union address [Getty]

Date of publication: 31 January, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
The president's 1 hour and 20 minute address was one of the longest State of the Union speeches in recent years.

President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union Address on Tuesday night touched on several Middle East issues – including the campaign against the Islamic State, detention policies, the Iran nuclear deal and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Speaking before Congress, Trump promised to continue the fight against the Islamic State “until ISIS is defeated” – the US president claimed that the group lost nearly 100 per cent of the territory it had previously held.

Trump also asked Congress to ensure it had all the funds needed to combat the group. “For this reason, I am asking Congress to end the dangerous defence sequester and fully fund our great military”, he added.

Trump also called for keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention facility open.

His predecessor, President Barack Obama, had repeatedly pledged to close the Guantanamo Bay prison during his campaign in 2008 – congressional Republicans resisted these efforts. One 2015 defence bill provision prohibited the use of funds to close or abandon Guantanamo.

Trump also addressed his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a move that bucked decades of US policy and proved controversial – angering Palestinian leaders.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the Jerusalem announcement the “slap of the century”.

A December United Nations resolution vote overwhelmingly rejected the US’ decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – it was the first time in six years the US exercised its veto power at the UN.

President Trump said the US provided $20 billion in aid to some of the 128 countries that voted for the measure.

“That is why tonight I am asking Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign assistance dollars always serve American interests and only go to friends of America, not enemies of America,” Trump added.

The president also called on Congress to reconsider the Iran nuclear deal, calling the country an “adversary” and a “corrupt dictatorship”.

Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, responded to Trump's address by saying it "confirmed his ignorance of Iran and region".

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More