By Paul McLeary with Adam Rawnsley
Reax to Trump possibly declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Hint: It’s not great. Everyone from the State Department to Saudi Arabia to NATO ally Turkey are warning that the expected announcement that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will spawn violence. But does it matter?
The State Department has warned embassies to heighten security before the expected Wednesday announcement.
“Any U.S. announcement on the status of Jerusalem prior to a final settlement would have a detrimental impact on the peace process and would heighten tensions in the region,” said Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Sunday that the move would “trigger anger across the Arab and Muslim world, fuel tension and jeopardize peace efforts.”
Turkish President President Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday “I am saddened by the reports that the U.S. is getting ready to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Mr. Trump, Jerusalem is the red line of Muslims. It is a violation of international law to take a decision supporting Israel while Palestinian society’s wounds are still bleeding.”
Hope springs eternal. Defense Secretary James Mattis met with Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Monday, telling him that Pakistan needs to “redouble its efforts to confront militants and terrorists operating within the country.” President Trump has taken a hard line on Pakistan — at least rhetorically — since announcing his Afghanistan strategy in August, admonishing the country for its role support for the taliban in Afghanistan.
Money train. The military buildup called for by President Donald Trump would cost $683 billion more than current spending plans over the next decade, according to a study released Monday by the Congressional Budget Office. The base budget would have to reach $688 billion by 2027 — more than 20 percent larger than peak defense spending during the 1980s — the CBO said. As of Tuesday, the budget approved by Congress remained on the president’s desk, as the administration and Capitol Hill struggle to avoid a shutdown of the federal government later this week.
Not so fast, Vlad. The White House says the Kremlin is declaring ‘mission accomplished’ in Syria entirely too soon, with three anonymous White House officials saying the insurgency against the Assad…