Debunking Trump’s Middle East Claims – OpEd


In his nomination acceptance speech, President Trump dunned the costumes of an anti-war president, wildly claiming that his administration has ended costly Middle East wars. He also took credit for the recent Israel-UAE peace agreement, as well as for the elimination of ISIS terrorists and the “world’s number one terrorist, Ghasem Soleimani.”       

Conspicuously absent in his speech was any reference to US’ unilateral decision to “snapback” the UN sanctions on Iran, announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has set a date, September 20th, for these sanctions to automatically start kicking in. 

Nor did Trump bother to mention that his confrontational Iran policy has produced hardly any desired results and, in fact, brought US and Iran closer to the precipice of war, in light of his unabashed boast about killing Iran’s top general with the help of a US drone attack at Baghdad airport, condemned by a UN expert as “illegal” and violating Iraq’s sovereignty.  

Sadly, neither Trump nor Pompeo simply do not care about international law and norms, often treating international organizations such as UN with disdain. 

Trump if elected will likely continue the disastrous path, of fully catering to the interests of close US allies, namely Israel and Saudi Arabia, without any moral qualm regarding the Israeli oppression of Palestinians and or Saudi mayhem in Yemen. 

The only way a lasting, and honorable peace, in the Middle East is by a candid consideration of the destructive role of US allies in thwarting it, which is an impossibility given the powerful Israeli and Saudi lobbying power in Washington. 

Trump may have wished to be able to mention the Middle East peace process in his acceptance speech, but he wisely chose not to, simply because his initiative on this front, mortgaged in the hands of his pro-Zionist son-in-law, Jarred Kushner, has been soundly and emphatically rejected in the region, simply because it represents a major concession to Israel’s incessant land grab without an iota of real respect for the trampled Palestinian rights.    

Still, Trump’s speech was riddled with several Middle East inaccuracies, such as claiming that when he came to office, the Middle East was in total chaos. It still is and by some irrefutable and tangible evidence, even more so now than four years ago, thanks to the singular, one-sided commitment of Trump to his friends in Tel Aviv and Riyadh, thus contributing to the regional tensions and polarizations. 

As a result, today’s Middle East is rife with unresolved disputes and crises, with US unable or unwilling to rein in on unruly allies. 

Thus, for example, strong circumstantial evidence suggests that Israel was behind the “bomb attack” that decimated Beirut recently, yet no politician in US, or for that matter any Western capital, is willing to entertain even a mild criticism of Israel. 

By giving a blank check to the Israelis, the Trump administration has not helped the cause of peace in the volatile region, only sowing the seeds of the next war.

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi, Ph.D. is an Iranian-American political scientist and author specializing in Iran’s foreign and nuclear affairs, and author of several books.

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