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Obama’s Disastrous Handling of the Middle East
Posted By Joseph Puder On September 27, 2011 @ 12:05 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | 6 Comments
The victory of Republican Bob Turner in the solidly Democratic 9th Congressional District of New York, where Jews form a large percentage of the electorate, shocked the Democratic Party establishment. This upset, ending an 89-year district hold by the Democrats, sent a clear message to President Obama that many among the 78% of Jews who voted for him in 2008 recognize his failed policies in the Middle East, and his mismanagement of the domestic economy. The Washington Post called it a “referendum on Obama’s stewardship of the U.S. economy,” while for many of the Orthodox Jewish voters, it was a referendum on Obama’s treatment of Israel and his Middle East policies in general. In his victory speech on September 14, 2011, Turner said: “We have had it with your treatment of Israel.”
It is not, however, merely Obama and his administration’s disastrous handling of the Middle East, or his contemptuous regard for Israel and its prime minister that have shaken many Jews out of their slumber. It is also those citizens who are objective enough to recognize the transformation of the Middle East into a hostile and Islamist region is due, in part, to Obama’s appeasement of Islam and his perceived weakness by both Arab and Muslim leaders and their people.
Addressing the Muslim world from Al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo on June 4, 2009, Obama declared:
I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles – principles of justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.
Obama appears unwilling to understand that justice for Muslims means the liquidation of Israel as a Jewish State – contrary to his speech in the UN where he spoke of Israel’s security. Considering the wealth of available information, Obama should know that there is no tolerance for non-Muslim minorities in the Arab and Muslim world. As for progress, the Muslim Middle East constitutes societies and governments that are economically backward and repressive. One wonders what common principles Obama was referring to.
In March 2010, the Obama administration condemned Israel for building apartments in Jerusalem, precipitating rejection by the Palestinians of any talks with Israel, which has now led to the Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence — expected to be raised this week at the U.N. Had Obama not made an issue of the apartment building in Jerusalem (which is, in fact, totally legal) the Palestinians would not have had a built-in excuse to intensify their rejection of talks with Israel. The irony can be seen in a blogger’s headline: “Obama condemns Israel for building apartments in Jewish parts of Jerusalem, but not Ahmadinejad for building nukes.”
Responding to President Obama’s Middle East speech on May 19, 2011, ABC-TV contributor George Will commented:
Barack Obama thinks he must incessantly talk about Middle Eastern events that he can affect only marginally, if at all. But before firing up his teleprompter, he should have something helpful to say. Thursday, [May 19th] he did not.
‘We face an historic opportunity.’ ‘There will be good days and bad days.’ Consent is good, coercion is bad. Women should be emancipated … Syria’s President Assad ‘must’ do this or that? And if he does not?
Regarding the Arab Spring, the president should remember Burke’s axiom: Before we congratulate people on their freedom, we should see what use they make of it. Obama should have said nothing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, his prior statements (about Israel’s housing construction and a deadline for a peace settlement) having made matters worse.
George Will added, “Obama’s absentminded military intervention in a third Islamic nation — in the civil war in Libya’s tribal society, supposedly to protect civilians– has made his muted response to Syria’s massacre of civilians excruciatingly embarrassing.”
Now let us consider the results of Obama’s intervention in the Middle East. In the so-called “Arab Spring,” Obama supported the overthrow of a U.S. ally – President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. Instead of calling for Mubarak to enact reforms or alternatively for Egypt to have a phased transition of power, Obama basically supported a regime change and threw Mubarak “under the bus.” The Gulf Arabs and the Saudis in particular considered Obama’s action in Egypt as a betrayal of a friend, and when Bahrain, a Gulf Cooperation Council Member, was threatened by Shiite masses incited by Iran, the Saudis ignored Obama and acted swiftly with military force to bolster the Bahraini government.
Obama ignored the advice of his own State Department regarding Egypt, and failed to consult with its Israeli ally, which has been impacted immediately by the revolution in Egypt. Obama also overlooked the concerns of other friendly Arab states like Jordan and Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the regime change in Egypt. Moreover, Obama has declared his acceptance of having the Muslim Brotherhood share power in Egypt.
Reporting for the Los Angeles Times on January 31, 2011, Paul Richter and Peter Nicholas wrote, “U.S. open to a role for Islamists in new Egypt government.” The report went on to say that the “Obama administration said for the first time that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government.”
In the meantime, the Obama administration director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, when testifying on Capitol Hill before the House Intelligence Committee, said that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) “pursued social ends and a betterment of the political order.” Clapper also said, “The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ … is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”
The Obama administration has de facto designated Turkey as its sub-contractor in Syria, with Obama promoting Erdogan’s Islamist government as a “model” for the Muslim world. This, despite the fact that Turkey is allied with Iran and Syria and denied the U.S. the rights to fly over its airspace during the 2003 war in Iraq. Erdogan’s Turkey has also been making confrontational moves towards Israel, most recently by threatening to have Turkish naval vessels escort a Turkish flotilla to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Turkey, with its embrace of Hamas, has become one of the most anti-Israel force in the Middle East following Iran.
In Lebanon, Obama abandoned the forces behind the democratic Cedar Revolution, while passively observing the Hezbollah takeover of Lebanon. Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader who had previously supported the March 14th government of Saad Hariri, abandoned it because he sought to secure his people’s future by going with the “winner,” which is Iran/Hezbollah, and because he recognized that Obama was too weak to fight for Lebanese democracy.
Obama, seeking “engagement” with Iran, wasted precious time, which enabled the Islamic Republic to reach nuclear capability. And while sanctions have finally been imposed, it is a case of “too little and too late.” Moreover, the Obama administration has no strategy for confronting Iran’s expanding influence and meddling throughout the Middle East, while at the same time killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In Syria, the Obama administration pursued a policy that was doomed from the get go. It tried to pull Syria away from Iran, while the Assad regime increased its support for terrorism, meddled in Lebanese affairs and helped in killing Americans in Iraq.
Hamas was given indirect aid by the Obama administration through its generous aid package to the Palestinian Authority, and made no effort to remove the radical anti-American regime in Gaza. Obama’s administration also pressed Israel to minimize its sanctions against Hamas and has taken no actions to confront and/or deter Turkey’s embrace of this terrorist regime.
Finally, Obama’s decision the withdraw U.S. combat troops from Iraq, guarantees that Iraq will become an Iranian satellite, hostile to the U.S.
Obama’s misguided Middle East policies have put Israel in greater danger, reduced American influence in the region and put American interests in jeopardy. For many Americans, including those in the 9th Congressional District in New York, a clear message has been sent to Obama through their ballot.
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