Dozens of foreign ministers and other leaders from all over the world were making their way to Warsaw on Wednesday evening to take part in a summit organized by the energetic U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The summit is officially dedicated to promoting peace and stability in the Middle East. In actuality, it has been convened to put together an anti-Iran bloc in the Middle East and its environs. The direct result will be a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu standing alongside several Arab foreign ministers. The indirect result will mean that the E.U. is now weaker.
In a classic divide-and-conquer move, Pompeo is holding the summit in Warsaw. Poland is the biggest of the European nations that are battling the decrees from Brussels. As such, Poland is, or at least wants to be, a counter-balance to well-known Western powers, including the two main actors in the E.U. these days, Germany and France. Pompeo is intentionally backing Poland, the rebel.
It’s no coincidence, therefore, that the German and French foreign ministers are skipping the summit. As is E.U. foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini, the architect of Europe’s plan to skirt American sanctions on Iran. Pompeo is putting Mogherini at a disadvantage mainly because of that plan.
However, the foreign secretary of Britain, which will soon be leaving the E.U., is attending. He knows that a small spat with Brussels is preferable to a major fallout with Washington.
Along with addressing the Iranian threat, issues that were addressed at the summit, called “The Ministerial Conference to Promote a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East,” included, but were not limited to, solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ending the crisis in Yemen.
Nevertheless, Mogherini isn’t sitting idly by.
Two weeks from now, she plans to convene an international summit in Sharm e-Sheikh, Egypt, that is designed to present a European show of force in the Middle East. Unlike the Warsaw summit, Israel will not be participating.
But it’s clear even to Mogherini that the E.U. is in trouble. Britain is about to leave. Italy and France are close to cutting off ties with one another. The migrant crisis continues to engulf the continent, and all eyes are on its May elections, which are expected to bolster extremist forces on both the left and the right and shake up the E.U., which isn’t very unified anymore.
Ariel Kahana is a diplomatic correspondent for Israel Hayom.