D.Donald Trump had appointed his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, as a special envoy to the Middle East, whose movements in the region were therefore closely followed by all interested parties. There ” vision ” from ” peace to prosperity that Kushner had developed in 2019 in Bahrain had also inspired the “Abrahamic Agreements” signed the following year between Israel and four Arab states, including Bahrain. The marital kinship and closeness shown to the American president could only strengthen Kushner’s weight in a region where decision makers are quick to exploit any blame between the White House tenant and his designated representative.

Before him, Dennis Ross had marked nearly two decades of American diplomacy in the Middle East, embodying, in the name of Bill Clinton, from 1993 to 2000, the American contribution to the Arab-Israeli “peace process”, then supporting the Invasion of Iraq by George W. Bush in 2003, before returning to the White House under Barack Obama from 2009 to 2011.

A veteran of the Trump administration

The contrast is flagrant between the media visibility of a Ross or a Kushner and the remarkable discretion of Brett McGurk, the current “coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa” ​​in the US presidency. Mr. McGurk, now 49, began his career under the Bush administration, working since 2004 in Baghdad, then in the office he now heads in the White House. He is neither a career diplomat nor a specialist in languages ​​or cultures of a region to which he approaches from the point of view world war on terror “. The difference is notable on this point with the” peace processors “who have followed one another alongside the American presidents, for whom priority has gone to the Arab-Israeli rapprochement.

Mr. McGurk established a relationship of trust with Joe Biden when the latter, Barack Obama’s vice president, assumed responsibility for the Iraqi file. Approached in 2012 to become ambassador to Baghdad, Brett McGurk was finally appointed, three years later, as White House special envoy for the US-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) organization.

McGurk believes that the US must maintain a military presence in Syria to counter a possible revival of IS, but also the growing influence of Iran

In this sensitive position, Mr. McGurk is expected to coordinate action in Syria and Iraq by several dozen states against the jihadist threat. While Russia has just intervened directly in Syria, he advocates the tacit task-sharing that reserves most of the fight against ISIS for the United States and its allies, allowing the Kremlin to focus its attacks on the anti-Assad opposition. . McGurk is also the cantor of the operational alliance between American forces and the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), even if it means creating serious tensions with President Erdogan’s Turkey. Mr. McGurk is smart enough to be kept in his place by Donald Trump, whose strategic rapprochement with Mohammed Bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia and Mohammed Bin Zayed’s United Arab Emirates. He contributes to the normalization of relations between Arabia and Iraq, hitherto considered by Riyadh too close to Iran. Mr. McGurk, much in court during the 2017-2019 offensives against the latest jihadist strongholds, believes that the United States must maintain a military presence in Syria, to counter not only a possible revival of IS, but also the growing influence of the ‘Iran.

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