At an emergency meeting of the League of Arab States, the introduction of sanctions against the United States as a response to the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was discussed. The idea was supported by a number of countries, but it did not enter into the final resolution. What sanctions would Arab countries be able to "intimidate" America and how realistic is the adoption of such measures in the future?
The Arab world continues to show its extreme outrage at the decision of US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In particular, on Sunday, Lebanon, at a ministerial meeting of the League of Arab States (LAS), called for sanctions against the United States in connection with their statement on Jerusalem.
It is necessary to revive the common Arab policy in order to respond to the decision of any country to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gibran Basile said. "Preventive measures should be taken against such a decision ... beginning with diplomatic measures, then political, after - economic and financial sanctions," he stressed.
On Wednesday, Trump announced the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the intention to transfer there from Tel Aviv an American embassy. At the same time, he did not specify whether West Jerusalem (which belongs to no one in the world for its disputes in the world) or the entire city as a whole is meant. As the newspaper VZGLYAD wrote, the decision of the US president aroused sharp criticism even from the side of loyal allies, in particular the countries of the European Union and even of Great Britain. Even in Israel itself, many have critically apprehended the statement of the American leader because of his apparent inconsistency, calling it another "bomb" dropped by America into the Middle East.
The Arab and Muslim countries did, in fact, burst out not only with condemning statements, but also with mass protests of the population, primarily in front of US embassies. Anti-American demonstrations took place on the streets of the capitals of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Malaysia. In Palestine itself (in different parts of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip), such actions were called "day of wrath" on Friday and turned into mass riots and clashes with Israeli security forces, resulting in injuring 1,1 thousand people.
How can Arab countries "punish" the US?
It was in this connection that an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of the LAS countries was convened, at which the Lebanese proposal for sanctions was voiced. Beirut was also supported by several other countries. The initiative is certainly loud, especially considering that we are talking about diplomatic, political and even economic and financial measures. How can Arab countries "punish" the United States?
"The very fact that tough actions are discussed is bad news for Washington," Dmitry Abzalov, president of the Center for Strategic Communications, told the newspaper VIEW, adding that if any hostile actions were taken, they would be primarily diplomatic or political character.
"For example, you can limit your diplomatic missions in the US. Or, on the contrary, restrict the activities of American diplomatic missions to the territories of countries that adhere to this position, "the source said. "You can support Palestine and, for example, announce the transfer of the embassy to the eastern part of Jerusalem, which Palestine considers its", he added.
The United States as a whole will become much more difficult to conduct a dialogue with the Arab states, especially on any disputable issues, as they will try to use the current situation to strengthen their negotiating positions, Abzalov said. Also, in his opinion, in addition to the Arab states, Turkey will take advantage of the moment, which has a number of serious contradictions with the United States.
Palestine itself has already gone to the introduction of separate measures. They intend to apply to the international court in connection with the statement of Trump. The Palestinians also stressed that they no longer consider Washington a mediator in the settlement of the conflict with Israel. Moreover, on Sunday it became known that the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas refused a scheduled meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence.
In addition, a significant part of all US military bases is concentrated in the Middle East, Abzalov recalled. "There is an opportunity, for example, to complicate their functioning, for example, increasing rents, restricting the activities of servicemen on the territory of these countries," he said.
"This can intensify the interaction of Arab and Muslim countries with other centers of power. Will look for alternatives, "- said Abzalov. "They have already shifted the emphasis on cooperation with the Russian Federation. The Saudi King traveled to us, Egypt intensified cooperation, we work together for Libya, Turkey interacts with us on a variety of issues, the same is engaged in Jordan, Lebanon, a number of other countries. In principle, interest in Moscow will intensify, taking into account the imbalance that Trump has now caused due to this recognition, "the expert said. "In addition to everything, this is good news for China. He can seriously strengthen his position in the region, which Beijing is already doing, "he added.
"You can hypothetically limit operations in dollars"
A similar bias may occur in the economic sphere. "China actually already replaces Washington in a number of strategic directions in the Middle East," Abzalov stressed. In his opinion, discontent with Washington's actions could lead to the fact that Beijing and Moscow will strengthen their positions and expand representation of their companies in the region.
Partial replacement of American products can occur on the arms market, especially since Russia has been cooperating with many countries of the region in this area. "Let's take Turkey, for example. She took and bought C-400, while they have "Patriots" standing. Saudi Arabia also purchases our individual weapons - small arms and others, "the expert said. According to him, it can be achieved that the Saudis will acquire some other types of weapons, for example helicopters or missile defense systems.
In addition, Arab countries can refuse to supply various American products or curtail a number of projects. "The Saudis have a contract for the supply of Boeing, for example. There is a project for the UAE to create a supersonic transport system Hyperloop, which will be used in the cargo segment, "- said Abzalov.
"We can hypothetically limit operations in dollars and sell oil, say, in dinars or in yuan,
- suggested the expert. "Interaction in the energy sphere may be limited. In the Middle East, it is represented by various American companies such as Chevron, Exxon and so on, "he said.
Once the countries of OPEC, as well as Syria and Egypt have already imposed sanctions against the US and its allies (in particular, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan). In response to the support of America and its satellites in the Yom Kippur War, these states imposed an oil embargo against them in October 1973, provoking an oil crisis.
However, until the new such boycott is still unlikely to come. "It can bring down the market, and so far nobody is interested in it," Abzalov stressed.
"Last time it ended only because America, after experiencing some economic crisis, very seriously developed oil and gas trades in itself, in Canada, in Mexico, and the Arab monarchs received a huge amount of additional money," the president of the Institute of the Middle East Yevgeny Satanovsky, adding that this did not help the Arab countries to radically change anything.
"This is from an area of beyond fantasy"
At the same time, the loud statements of the representatives of the Arab countries do not yet mean the actual application of any measures. Most of the LAS countries still did not support the Lebanese initiative, and the final communiqué of the ministerial meeting of the League does not say a word about any sanctions.
Yes, of course, this is not the last meeting of the representatives of the LAS states, and just one month later, another such summit is scheduled, dedicated to the same Trump as a statement on Jerusalem. And, naturally, a number of Arab countries will continue to promote the idea of sanctions. However, the probability of their adoption still remains low.
"All these countries in the United States are funded, including through concessional loans or direct financial support. Also, most of the weapons that Saudi Arabia consumes, for example, are American. And you use your armament, depend on that country, "Abzalov stressed.
The political scientist, head of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy Fyodor Lukyanov also noted that to introduce some real measures, these countries have too much dependence on the United States.
"They depend on America more than vice versa. In addition, the Palestinian question, if we remove rhetoric and wringing hands, Arab countries are concerned only as a topic of pressure and reminders of themselves. None of them will go because of this on the deterioration of relations with the United States,
- he told the newspaper VIEW.
In addition, Lukyanov stressed that most Arab countries do not have special opportunities for influence, Egypt, for example, is the same. In his words, theoretically something could be done, for example, Saudi Arabia, due to very large financial ties and the presence of a significant number of American bonds, or Qatar, where a large American base is located and one could theoretically raise the issue of its stay there. "But this is from the realm of beyond fantasy, this will never happen," he summed up.
"I do not think that any sanctions will be imposed. Despite all these disorders, everything will be limited to demonstrations, burning flags, political statements. In my opinion, these are purely populist statements, they have no serious mechanisms, "Anton Mardasov, head of the department for studies of the Middle East conflicts of the Institute for Innovative Development, told the newspaper VIEW. "This conflict is needed for many countries to imitate diplomatic efforts. To say that the US conducts the wrong policy, and demand from them some kind of big deal, "he stressed.
Another nuance is that all the Arab countries are very different and do not get along very well. "The Arab world is so torn to shreds, it is not so much that it will not be one, it is so dependent on the West that the introduction of a boycott can be exceptionally symbolic. For example, someone will forbid the film "The Hobbit". LAG for dozens of years of its existence nothing for anything failed to agree, except how to take another anti-Israeli resolution, "- said Yevgeny Satanovsky.