During his victory speech, President-elect Donald Trump stressed the importance of unity. He said that his movement has always "comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people."
He went on to address the international community. He said America's interests would "always" come first from now on. But he insisted that the U.S. "will deal fairly with everyone."
It's a far cry from the militaristic rhetoric that characterized his campaign, from bans on Muslims, to some unprecedented hardline positions on regional powerhouses such as Saudi Arabia.
As the only U.S. president in history who has never held public office, it's very difficult to get a sense of what any of his policies will look like.
So StepFeed turned to two regional political analysts to give us a sense of the future of a war-torn region where the American president typically wields enormous (oftentimes catastrophic) influence.
Timothy Kaldas is an Egyptian-American and a non-resident fellow at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy. Rayan El-Amine is a Lebanese-American and serves as the assistant director at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.
It is widely believed that Trump's Middle East advisor will be far-right, Islamophobic Lebanese-American Walid Phares
Middle Eastern Affairs academic Walid Phares is an expert on terrorism for FOX News and has constantly come under fire from various Muslim advocacy groups for conflating Islam with terrorism.
He has spoken and written against the Islamic Sharia and often warned against secret Muslim groups seeking to establish Sharia in the U.S.
According to New Republic, Phares was called in as an expert witness for congressional hearings on the dangers of Sharia law. But New York Republican Representative Peter King soon withdrew his invitation based on complaints from Muslim groups.
Phares was Trump's counterterrorism advisor during the Republican nominee's campaign, and is widely believed to be nicely rewarded with a position in the White House that may very well determine the region's future. This means that Islamophobia may pave the Trump administrations path in the Middle East.
Assad will likely remain in power and refugees will suffer
Trump has consistently expressed admiration of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has, in the same breath, criticized the current U.S. policy towards Syria.
From what Trump has said, it would seem that he will defer to the Russian plan for Syria, according to Kaldas. This would likely see Assad remain in power.
Military strategies are, however, already in play when it comes to Syria. Trump won't easily put the brakes on military plans already set in motion under President Barack Obama's government, according to Amine.
When it comes to refugees, Trump has relentlessly said that he would halt the process of allowing refugees to enter the U.S. until a better "vetting" system could be implemented. But, Kaldas points out, the U.S. has "the most elaborate [refugee] vetting process in the world." It will be more difficult for Trump to undo than what meets the eye.
It also appears that Trump will step back from encouraging European countries to increase their intake of refugees, especially given the support he has received from far-right groups such as Nigel Farage's UKIP and Marine Le Pen's Front National.
Not much will change between the U.S. and the GCC
Ties between the U.S. and the Gulf have always been based on oil. This relationship will continue, with its ups and downs, according to Amine and Kaldas.
Trump's anti-Iran rhetoric may be a welcome change to Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC. The Gulf has been more than a little wary of the Obama administration's warming relations with Iran. Trump, has taken a very critical tone toward Obama's landmark Iran Deal, calling it "one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history."
Still, Trump is keen on rebuilding relations with Russia, a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, who is currently embroiled in a political crisis with Saudi Arabia. So, it is likely that Saudi Arabia will be dealing with President Trump with some caution.
"The era of the Palestinian state is over"
"He will definitely be pro-Israel," Amine said. The so-called special relationship between the U.S. and Israel has been the crux of regional foreign policy since the six day war of 1967, and this is unlikely to change according to our experts.
But, whereas Obama was willing to ignore Israel's complaints and seal a deal with Iran, Trump has voiced plans to pander further to Israeli demands.
As Kaldas pointed out, Trump's promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel goes against half a century of U.S. foreign policy. He also said it would deal a "fatal blow" to a two-state solution with Palestine and only serve to exacerbate the conflict.
Israel hardline education minister Naftalli Bennett has hailed Trump's election as the end of the two-state solution.
“This is the position of the President-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple. The era of a Palestinian state is over.”
Trump and Sisi will likely have a good relationship that centers on ISIS
Trump has no meaningful objection to Sisi's authoritarian style of government, according to Kaldas. He will likely step away from criticizing the government's human rights abuses. It's likely that Trump will have a positive relationship with any strongman government such as Sisi and Putin, Amine said.
Overall, besides a possibly closer personal relationship between the U.S. and Egyptian heads of state, official policy likely won't change a great deal, with the U.S. likely to continue its military assistance, especially since Trump is determined to defeat ISIS, Egypt's biggest national security threat at the moment. For this reason, the U.S. will likely continue its support of the International Monetary Fund's decision regarding a $12 billion loan for Egypt.
Trump has touted isolationist policies
Kaldas said Trump takes on a more serious tone when he speaks about his foreign policies. When it comes to foreign conflicts and economic policies, Trump has tried to position himself as more isolationist.
He wants to avoid spending resources on military conflicts abroad, Amine said. He wants to control costs, in the true spirit of a billionaire businessman.
But, the isolationist rhetoric could also just be an empty campaign promise. George W. Bush initially voiced isolationist policies in his presidential campaign, but once elected, he went on to invade and occupy Iraq and Afghanistan, Kaldas pointed out.
It's likely that the decision to elect Trump will have much greater repercussions domestically, in the U.S., than abroad, Amine said.
Muslims probably won't be banned from the US
Trump repeatedly promised to ban Muslim immigration to the U.S. But legal experts have repeatedly said the move may very well be unconstitutional. While there is debate about the issue, most agree that it would be unprecedented or exceedingly difficult to implement.
"Even the Republicans [Trump's party] opposed that policy," Kaldas said.
This position was rhetoric spouted during a divisive campaign and Amine pointed out that Trump's campaign has already begun softening its tone on that position. It's unlikely that a blanket ban is a real priority for Trump, and it is even less likely that it could move forward given the many legal and political hurdles.