France fills void left by the West in the Middle East

France’s President Emmanuel Macron is on his first official state visit to the US, where he has met with President Donald Trump after having claimed that he recently “convinced” the US president to maintain a long-term stance in Syria.

A joint-coalition between France, the US and the UK bombed Syria on April 14th, thrusting the bloc of Western allies back into a show of defiance in the eight-year war, despite President Trump saying earlier that the US was readying to pull out.

Macron’s US visit will underscore his juxtaposed positioning in the Middle East vis-a-vis the rest of the West. During a time when the US and the UK have been preaching about a more hands-off approach, France has dived in.

Macron will be urging the US to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump plans to quit as part of a campaign promise.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Macron has made it a paramount part of his diplomatic mission to fill the void of Western voices, hosting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last December in Paris following the US’s decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem.

In Saudi Arabia, Macron made an impromptu visit last year to vouch for political stability in Lebanon. He is likely to continue pushing Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to ease tensions with Qatar and Yemen.