Trump's Middle East policy: Allies, analysts puzzled by U.S. decisions
Updated 16:50, 10-Jan-2019
By Nayan Seth, Li Jingyi
What exactly is Trump's Middle-East policy and how has it impacted the region? 
The Middle East is a region in which the U.S. has interfered, waged wars, and struck deals.
Critics have blamed the country for creating a mess to further its geopolitical goals.
For decades, a change in administration in Washington didn't significantly alter its Middle East policy.
But since January 2017, Trump's decisions have left his own party surprised, allies frustrated, and analysts puzzled.
In December 2017, Donald Trump did what past U.S. presidents had shied away from: recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and relocating the U.S. embassy.
Expectedly, Israel welcomed the move, Palestinians protested against the move, and the U.S. Middle Eastern allies were left perplexed.
Trump's next target Iran. He repeatedly criticized the 2015 Iran nuclear deal during his election campaign, calling it one of the worst deals in U.S. history.
After taking over, the U.S. president did walk the talk.
On May 8 last year, Trump overturned Barack Obama's biggest foreign policy decision by announcing the United States' withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear Deal.
Economic sanctions were re-imposed despite opposition from all the stakeholders, including U.S. allies.
Iran protested the move and accused the U.S. of going back on its word.
Actions against Iran meant Trump was completely dependent on Saudi Arabia to drive its foreign policy in the region. Saudis bought arms and promised investments.
The relationship faced its biggest test in October, when journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Despite pressure from his own party and the U.S. Senate, Trump publicly backed the Saudis.
But this failed to persuade Saudi Arabia to formally end its military operation in Yemen.
But experts say the biggest surprise was Trump's decision to pull out troops from Syria after a phone conversation with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in December.
On the second day of 2019, Trump offered a stark take on Syria, saying its "sand and death".
Analysts believe Trump's Syria move and the subsequent retreat symbolize his ever-changing Middle East policy. They say it defies logic and lacks clarity.