Like it or not,and unless you’re one of that recalcitrant 33% who believes that no good can come from a Trump administration,POTUS 45’s Middle East policy during his first two-plus years in office is proving to be tough, direct, and almost viscerally unerring.
What the Left Can’t Seem to Get Right About the Middle East
By – Robert Joseph Ahola
Like it or not, and unless you’re one of that recalcitrant 33% who believes that no good can come from a Trump administration,POTUS 45’s Middle East policy during his first two-plus years in office is proving to be tough, direct, and almost viscerally unerring. This is particularly true of his pro-Israel policy that has gone all the way to the wall with his movement of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and his endorsement of Israel’s permanent occupancy of the Golan Heights (which has been a staging point for every strike against Israel since its inception in 1948).
This, of course, is hemlock to the Arab block of nations in the UN where Israel is denounced on an almost weekly basis. And while every (ersatz) “Progressive” from Rashida Tlaib to Bernie Sanders bangs on Israel for “human rights violations” against Palestinians, few in the Democratic party ever bother denounce the persecution, imprisonment and expulsion of practicing Christians and Jews that continues in a spate of Muslim nations from Syria to the Horn of Africa, including Somalia and Sudan. If the Dems express any concern at all, they give it lip service and move on quickly, rather than risk having their expressions of concern for Christians and Jews be mistaken for “affiliation” with Evangelicals, who they consider to be radioactive.
Along the way, they have chosen to ignore the arc of history in the Middle East where there has been, since Israel’s UN incorporation in 1948, a concerted effort to eradicate a nation whose political DNA is interwoven with its faith and culture,and one that is the only pure democracy in the entire region.
By way of explanation, this throws us into a backstory that includes the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, the work of Sheikh Hassan Al-Banna and a pact made with Hitler’s Third Reich that carried all the way through WW II ,to emulate Nazi policies by blocking the repatriation to Palestine of nearly 1 million Jews seeking asylum from Austria, Hungary and Poland where many were rerouted back to the camps of Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen where they were annihilated.
Following the practices of Al-Banna, this commitment to the abortion of Israel as a nation was underscored by a 1948 Arab Union of Eight Nations that included Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, and Lebanon. This Union was joined in 1979 by the newly formed fundamentalist regime in Iran that has now become Israel’s Number 1 bette noir and the acknowledged fountainhead of Radical Jihad in the world.
One could fill a book (and many have) in praise of Israel’s rise to power and the fact that it has transformed a virtual wasteland into a garden spot and developed through the Israeli economic model,the twelfth most profitable economy on Planet Earth. One feels obligated to laud its egalitarian society and the 100% enfranchisement of Israeli women (while Palestinian women are still being subjected to honor killings).
None of this, of course, garners respectful coverage either by the media or the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) movement in the US, its principal funder George Soros or any of the progressives on the left-side aisles of Congress who support it. Not only does BDS back all initiatives by Hamas (a Muslim Mafia that profiteers from the sanctions on its own people) it also condemns Israel’s Balkanization of the West Bank as a “modern apartheid.” This condemnation glosses over the fact that Israeli cities and towns are still bombarded by more than 1200 IEDs and acts of terror (about three a day) every single year.
There is little doubt that the plight of Palestinians inside Israel has been somewhat diminished through legislation incurred by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And his policies have come under the scrutiny of a long list of critics, not the least of whom have been former POTUS Barack Obama and that elder statesman and last Christian fundamentalist Democrat to ever sit in the White house,Jimmy Carter.
And yet it is Carter who proves to be the Genesis of political chaos where the destabilization of the Middle East is concerned. That comes in the form of his evisceration of the US’s only other true historical ally in the Middle East, the Shah of Iran, followed by the installation of a radical fundamentalist Islamic regime that, to this day, is resolutely dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the eradication of Jewry from the Middle East.
Buoyed by the Paris Peace Accords where he garnered a Nobel Prize for securing a non-aggression pact between Egypt and Israel, Jimmy became the self-appointed moral compass to stop civil rights violations in the Middle East by focusing on Iran (of all places) and by using boycotts to bully longtime US ally Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi until he released 5000 longtime political prisoners including about 800 fundamentalist Islamic clerics openly dedicated to overthrowing the 40-year Monarchy. Not the least of these was a regional folk hero and Islamic scholar named the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (who happened to be living in lavish expatriate exile in Paris at the time).
Along the way, Khomeini had managed to beguile Jimmy Carter’s Iranian Ambassador William Sullivan and UN Ambassador Andrew Young, who both confided to Carter their belief that Khomeini was a Gandhi-like figure destined to become the face of modern Islam in the Middle East. So Carter, misperceiving Khomeini as a holy man in a grassroots revolution, proceeded to throw the Shah under the bus, basically endorsing his abdication in 1979 and bringing into power what soon became the most rapacious rogue nation in the history of Islam.
Carter’s reward for this bit of visionary political inflection was the infamous seizure of the US Embassy and the abduction of 144 Embassy personnel by the Khomeini regime, a Boxer Rebellion-like act that went a long way toward sabotaging Carter’s run for reelection in 1980, and the rise to power of Ronald Reagan whose positive relationship with Israel was both unequivocal and unerring.
The next chapter in “Death by Good Intentions” comes in the form of an American-inspired treaty between Palestine and Israel came with the Oslo Accords orchestrated by the Clinton Administration managed to bring Israeli Leaders Shimon Perez and Itzak Rabin together with part-time politician and full time Palestinian terrorist Yassir Arafat for a great photo-op where all three men were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and not a single concrete thing was accomplished. These were followed by the marginalization of and death of Arafat and the rise Hamas,a militant jihadist group with a political face that won the next Palestinian plebiscite and promptly ratcheted up terrorist acts against Israel to more than 2000 per anum by the year 2010.
In a way this was business as usual for events in the Middle East. And since we are examining true tectonic shifts in the rise of Radical Jihad in that part of the world, we move on the last eighteen years, sixteen of which were spent under two liberal US Presidents,George W. Bush and Barack Hussein Obama, who did more to destabilize the balance of power in the Arab corridor than all who had gone before them.
One might balk at our description of POTUS as liberal. In fact, he was. It’s hard to argue that a POTUS who tripled the size of the bureaucracy and turned a $5.6 trillion surplus left him by Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress into an $11 trillion deficit inside of eight years could be anything but and yet that was by no means his worst outrage. That came by way of his post 9/11 heroics followed by an obsession with taking town the regime of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the utterly trumped up yellow cake uranium, WMD premise for sending the US military into a $ 2 trillion ground war whose true costs in terms of calamity became interminable. By now we know the horrific numbers: 460,000 Iraqi lives lost, the body count of US Army, Marines and Special Forces that came to more than 4,400 with more than 32,000 wounded and maimed and triple that number returning home with PTSD, TBI or other combat-related syndromes. More egregious still was the Bush administration’s handling of a post-Saddam Iraq, the wholesale kleptocracy by Iraqi military leadership and the rise of the influence of the Ayatollah Ali al Sistani along with a repressive Shia minority that drove all Christians and Jews from the Mesopotamian basin.
Just now beginning to stabilize after 15 years, Iraq is still a hotbed of uncertainty, amplified by Barrack Obama’s removal of 90% of US troops by 2011 (that prompted the true rise to power of ISIS) which brings us to POTUS 44’s legacy of liberal meddling in the Middle East, one that took a quantum leap into the abyss of chaos.
Whereas George W. Bush’s blunders in Iraq had been a march of folly, Barack Obama’s foreign policy quickly revealed itself as an almost choreographed capitulation to Islam. Starting out with Valerie Jarrett and six hand-picked Muslim advisors, Obama began with part of his 2009 “apology tour” to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt (while deliberately skipping Israel) where he made a speech to the Turkish Parliament openly admitting to America’s past insensitivity to Arab-Islamic issues and promising the establishment of a Palestinian State.
Despite lip service paid to Israel, Obama over the next 8 years doubled down on his efforts to enhance the political cachet of the Palestinian State to the benefit of Hamas. And his parting shot finally came during his last month in office with UN Security Council Resolution 2334 delegitimizing Israeli settlements on the West Bank, thus condemning any Israeli claim to Jerusalem and de facto disenfranchising a sovereign nation’s territory inside its own borders.
In a UN Security Council vote to censure Israel, the US withheld its veto power and unleashed the hounds inside the UN General Assembly body that has been a rubber stamp policy toy for Arab petrodollars for the last 45 years. As it stood, it was the final Brutus dagger to delegitimize Israel’s claim for unmonitored autonomy.
Notwithstanding its showcase taking down of Osama Bin Laden (who had already been relegated to life inside a bunker) the Obama Administration has two black marks on its Middle East meddling that will stain his legacy perhaps without redemption.
First was its (hidden) manipulation of the infamous Arab Spring of 2011 that first broke out in protests across 14 nations in Northern Africa and the Middle East. Ignoring the Muslim Brotherhood’s prime directive to establish a global caliphate, Obama took to the airwaves to praise what he described as “a broad-based democratic revolution” against old guard authoritarian regimes from Algeria to Syria.
What the Arab Spring turned out to be was a move by the Muslim Brotherhood to further “Islamize” the entire region, using revolt and violent overthrow as hammers to bludgeon lay governments into adopting Sharia as the guiding law of the land. Nothing underscored this more than (alleged) US meddling in the deposing of Egyptian President and longtime US ally Hosni Mubarak and especially the overthrow and execution of Libya’s 50-year strongman Muammar Gaddafi acts that destabilized both countries virtually overnight, creating a religious fiat and military overthrow in Egypt inside of 18 months, and a form of Islamic tribal anarchy in Libya that, even after 8 years, has destroyed its economy and left it without coherent governance.
In fact, so disastrous was the Obama Administration’s handling of that run of 4 months worth of coups that future CIA Chief John Brennan later confessed to the folly: “We really blew it where the Arab Spring was concerned.” (A one-article interview never covered by the mass media.) And yet neither the Arab Spring nor the bitch slapping of Israel can compare to the Obama Administration’s unconscionable enablement of the Iran Nuclear deal in 2015.
As a little refresher, the Iran Nuclear talks were initiated by the US and five European nations (the P 5+1) in March 2015 to incentivize Iran to limit its nuclear power development for 15 years in return for which Iran would receive $150 billion in payments (including $1.8 billion in cash). Even those who supported it admitted that most of the funds would be going to Iran’s exportation of global jihadist terrorism and that Iran would be free to build nukes after 10 years. But they went ahead anyway, in a classic example of Churchill’s description of Appeasement that of “constantly feeding a crocodile in hopes of being eaten last.”
The premise was that the US would be dealing with “moderate” Iranian politicos, when behind the scenes the Obama administration and its chief architect John Kerry knew that Islamic radicals were front and center from the beginning. This was later revealed in a May 5thNew York Times interview with White House Deputy Foreign Policy Advisor Ben Rhodes. In that interview, Rhodes (a 29-year-old Harvard MBA with no foreign policy experience but referred to as Obama “foreign policy alter-ego”) arrogantly boasted that the Obama Administration had known Iran was intentionally negotiating in bad faith but had “deliberately deceived” the American people by creating a false narrative surrounding the terms and intentionally ventriloquizing the Washington media into becoming an “echo chamber” for Administration policies.
All the while, Iran’s most vociferous radicals took part, including the Ayatollah Khamenei himself, who showed up in between his daily “Death to America” rallies to make sure the US knuckled under and, once the negotiations were completed, immediately went out to a packed street crowd in Tehran to announce that, “We got everything we wanted!” In fact, they did.
Small wonder then that after eighteen months in office Donald Trump pulled out of the deal and doubled down on the US’s pre-2015 sanctions, citing as one of his reasons Iran’s ongoing pledge to destroy Israel, combined with its development of a sophisticated missile system to do just that. Despite cries of foul from Tehran, Trump did so to fulfill a campaign promise and keep his word to the American people,something too few politicos have done in the past.
Meanwhile, 45’s withdrawal from the no-win Iran deal has been met (under the covers) with high-fives from such surprising allies as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt. Like it or not, the political climate in Tehran and elsewhere seems to be the perfect fit for the Donald’s blunt, no-nonsense and often churlish approach to foreign policy. And it appears that the POTUS’s approach to the riddle of the Middle East comes close to that of Alexander the Great’s to the Gordian Knot. Rather than fiddling about trying to figure out how to unravel it, he has just taken out a sword and cut it.
And though it may be unsettling to many, that very pugnacity on a moment’s notice appears to be just the message that many understand.