Egyptian President al-Sisi arrives for meetings Monday with President Trump. Jordan’s King Abdullah is due on Wednesday. Last month, the Saudi King’s influential son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, showed up for what were hailed as breakthrough meetings with the president and administration officials.
Trump seems to be banking heavily on the Sunni states to play a major role in achieving his administration’s objectives in the region.
American and Sunni interests overlap on certain issues but are hardly identical across the board. And in any event, Arab states are looking for Washington to do most of the heavy lifting.
Indeed, based on past performance, Arab promises are likely to fall short of the President’s expectations.
While the Trump administration has emphasized the importance of defeating ISIS, that goal is not the highest priority for the Sunni Arabs.
Given his country’s small size, Jordan’s King Abdullah is one of the few Arab leaders who has played an outsized role in battling ISIS in Syria, largely through intelligence sharing and providing facilities. Jordan has also accepted hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.
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