Britain should avoid Trump’s ‘unpredictable’ Middle East policy, say Lords
A House of Lords International Relations Select Committee published a report claiming the UK can no longer assume the US is able to set the tone for foreign policy because of Trump’s controversial outlook on world affairs.
“In a world less automatically dominated by the US underpinning security in the region, it is no longer right to have a stance at every stage of ‘if we just get on with the US everything will be alright,’” chairman of the group and former Conservative cabinet minister Lord Howell said, according to the Guardian.
The UK needs a new set of policies that reflect the change in the Middle East, he added.
“We can no longer assume America will set the tone for the west’s relationship with the Middle East and the UK must give serious thought to how our own approach will need to change.”
The committee argued that the UK should support the Iran deal, lifting sanctions imposed in response to its nuclear program, as well as encourage efforts for a the United Nations’ two-state resolution for the Israel-Palestine conflict.
The committee urged the government to draw up new strategies to solve conflicts in the Middle East, as that of the US president could “destabilize further the region.”
“The mercurial and unpredictable nature of policy-making by President Trump has made it challenging for the UK government to influence US foreign policy so far, a challenge that is not likely to ease,” the report said.
The committee stressed it is in the UK’s interest as much as it is in the Middle East’s to find a viable approach to the conflict-worn region.
“From inward investment to the UK, the impact of refugees from the region and our continuing reliance on gas and oil exports, our interests will continue to be intertwined with those of the region and the government must ensure it has the right plan for our relationship with it.”
The report, the result of a six month inquiry, is seen as a warning to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who has put the Middle East at the heart of his department’s agenda.
He recently said the UK would find it hard to say no to a US request for military support in launching airstrikes against forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“The Middle East remains a foreign policy priority and the UK will continue to work with international partners to achieve security and prosperity,” a Foreign Office spokesman said, according to the Guardian.
The report also cautioned the government against trusting Saudi Arabia’s use of UK arms in the Yemeni war.
The committee called on the UK to stop the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia if the Gulf country fails to be more transparent on its use of UK arms.