Can Donald Trump solve the Middle East’s many crises?
(CNN) — Civil wars, proxy wars, energy wars and a war on ISIS. When US President-elect Donald Trump, takes office in January, he will face numerous challenges in the Middle East.
In this series of videos, CNN’s Connect the World explores the key challenges awaiting Trump in this turbulent region.
War in Syria
First is Syria, the site of one of the bloodiest wars since World War II. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in the past five years, and millions more have been displaced.
The US is supporting some rebel groups fighting to oust Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and any change to that will be vehemently contested by Arab and European allies, who want the Syrian leader out.
But Trump has said that he would rather focus on fighting extremist groups like ISIS, in what seems to be in tune with Assad, whose regime is backed by Russia and Iran.
The uneasy alliance with Saudi Arabia
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz was one of the first Arab leaders to congratulate Trump. But can the two work to repair US-Saudi ties that have plunged to new lows over Saudi concerns about the Iran nuclear deal and the passing of legislation that would allow families of 9/11 victims to take Riyadh to court?
Iran’s nuclear crisis
The Iran nuclear deal has been one of Barack Obama’s main foreign policy achievements. Culminating after years of exhaustive diplomacy, it curtailed the country’s nuclear program and brought it back into the fold of the international community. But all of that could unravel if incoming Trump makes good on his promise to “rip the deal” apart. What options does he have to undermine the deal and what impact would that have on Iran?
Unrest in Iraq
Many Iraqis could barely contain their joy when Saddam Hussein was overthrown almost 10 years ago, but they had no idea it was only the beginning of years of misery and suffering.
Following the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, violence erupted across the country and extremists found a place in the war-ridden territories, making it impossible for American troops to pull out.
The US is now supporting Iraqi forces battling ISIS in the strategic city of Mosul and with Trump talking about deploying tens of thousands back into Iraq, the withdrawal is set to take way longer than what the American people were initially promised.
No American president can ignore it, but none of them can solve it. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been ongoing for decades.
The past two years have seen a wave of stabbings by Palestinians as well as a shooting and vehicular attacks. All this comes against a backdrop of Israel’s expansion of settlements and — more broadly — of what many Palestinians view as unending Israeli occupation.
How Trump will attempt to find a solution to this complex conflict — where his predecessors failed — remains to be seen.