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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Enterprise coverage of Middle East Institute discussion on sidelines of AmCham Doorknock mission

Is Donald Trump Middle East-bound? Enterprise paid a visit to the non-profit Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, as part of a media delegation on the sidelines of the AmCham Doorknock mission that kicked off Monday. We sat with Paul Salem, MEI’s vice president for policy and research, and Gerald M. Feierstein, director of the MEI’s Center for Gulf Affairs. Key takeaways from the briefing:

  • US President Donald Trump could do a regional tour in the coming months;
  • The US is very interested in seeing Egypt serve as a hub for exports to Africa, but we face tough competition from Morocco and Algeria;
  • It is unclear whether US non-military aid to Egypt will be trimmed as part of the Trump administration’s cutbacks on foreign assistance;
  • The Trump administration places a higher premium on security coordination than did the Obama White House. The new administration will be more willing to lift restrictions on security assistance, but the view in Congress could differ, given concerns including on the ability of opposition voices to be heard and the effectiveness of counterterrorism efforts;
  • Good news for the Egyptian Defence Ministry: The Trump administration is more interested in dealing with the security situation in Libya, a key foreign policy concern for Egypt. This contrasts with the Obama’s focus on a political solution through the formation of coalition government in Tripoli;
  • There is no more talk about designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization;
  • The US has retreated from the idea of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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