By Tibi Zohar
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He is frequently interviewed in the Israeli, Arab and international media. Dr. Kedar served for twenty-five years in IDF military intelligence, specializing in Syria, Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic organizations and Israeli Arabs. Dr. Kedar is one of Israel’s leading figures in understanding the Arab world and radical Islam. He lectures around the globe and advises states and companies about general issues in the Middle East, regime stability, Islamic leadership and jihadist movements. Dr. Kedar is co-founder and president of the Jerusalem based think tank, Middle East Research Alliance.
Kedar will speak on February 15 at Chabad of Oceanside. We spoke with Kedar last month about President Trump, Syria, and the future of Israel
L’CHAIM Magazine: How do people in the Arab world see Donald Trump?
Moredechai Kedar: Many in the Arab world are shaking and shivering out of fear. He looks powerful and – unlike Obama – and is ready and ready to use force.
L’CHAIM: How do Israelis view him, especially after moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem?
MK: That depends upon whom you ask. The majority of conservative people here voted for Trump by using his power and might send a message to Iran. The minority of liberal people in Israel tend to reject him.
L’CHAIM: What do you think will be the future of Syria in the near future?
MK: Syria will fall apart to several ethnic or religiously divided groups, and in the best case it will look like the Yugoslavia of the mid-1990s.
L’CHAIM: What are some ways to revive the relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia?
MK: The relations between the U.S. and the Saudi ruling family are determined by the US-Iranian relations and especially the nuclear deal. [The Saudis] feel betrayed by the U.S. and this feeling projects on the official relations with the U.S.
L’CHAIM: How do you see the future of the nuclear agreement with Iran?
MK: No doubt, Trump will try to change some things in the agreement, but there are some questions which only Trump knows the answer to, like 1) What will Putin’s position be, vis-à-vis Iran and the deal; 2) what will the Europeans do; 3) What will Putin do if Trump withdraws from the deal; and 4) How can the US benefit from the billions which Iran will use to renew its infrastructure?
L’CHAIM: How would you describe the division of roles between Russia and the U.S., or rather between Putin and Trump?
MK: Trump said during the last year that he will not send American soldiers to get killed for other countries. If this will be Trump’s motto, he will let Putin do whatever Putin sees as needed for the world, including devastating a whole city like Aleppo.
L’CHAIM: What are the prospects of the Two-State Solution or any other solution between Israel and the Palestinians?
MK: The Two-State Solution was born dead because it was based on the wrong people. Instead of bringing the local leadership to the center and giving them the authority, Israel brought in a group of strangers led by an arch-terrorist named Arafat, hoping that he would change his positions regarding Israel. The only viable solution is the Palestinian Emirates solution, [a plan I developed that allows for 1.8 million Arab Palestinians in Judea & Samaria, the West Bank, to become citizens of the seven independent city-states], described in palestinianemirates.com
L’CHAIM: How do you see the relations between the U.S. and Egypt?
MK: The Egyptian president, Sisi, welcomed Trump happily. Apparently, he knows something about Trump’s plans regarding Egypt, e.g. Trump will not try to put the Muslim Brotherhood on the president’s chair.
L’CHAIM: What can we expect for Islam and the U.S. under Trump?
MK: Listening to Trump, no doubt the attitude to Muslims will be totally different: Islamic immigration will be seen as a potential threat, Islam will be again viewed as a reason for terrorism and violence and Muslims who live in the U.S. will sense the change in the overall attitude toward them.
L’CHAIM: How do you see the issue of Syrian refugees in the U.S.?
MK: Trump already declared that he will “reconsider” this issue, meaning that he will dramatically reduce the number of Syrian refugees in the U.S., and that is that.
To learn more about Dr. Mordechai Kedar, visit mordechaikedar.com. To find out more
about the Middle East Research Alliance, go to MERA.net.