6 Dec 2017 – THE CYPHER BRIEF – Today, the Trump administration will announce that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that is likely to inflame tensions in the region. President Donald Trump will also direct the State Department to start making plans to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but senior administration officials say this will take “years, not months.”
We asked our experts to weigh in: John Bennett, former Director, CIA National Clandestine Service: “Undoubtedly there will be anti-American demonstrations, but how large and for how long? How many Arabs will be truly shocked or believed that the U.S. did not ’tilt’ towards Israel? Will the Gulf States reimpose their oil embargo? That would matter.”
- Emile Nakhleh, former member of the CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service: “Coming on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Trump’s Muslim travel ban, the Jerusalem announcement would be doubly devastating for America’s relations with the Muslim world.”
- James Jeffrey, former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Turkey: “This is not going to be the ‘end of days,’ as some commentators are arguing, particularly if it’s just an announcement in principle and isn’t followed up by concrete steps. The problem is, the number one issue in the Middle East right now is not Israel and not the Palestinians; it’s Iran on the march.”
Read more of our experts’ take on the upcoming administration announcement.