In his January 29, 2002, State of the Union address, President George W. Bush inaugurated the phrase “Axis of Evil.” He described the regimes of Iran Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and North Korea as such. Bush stated that, “…Our second goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction. Some of these regimes have been pretty quiet since September 11, but we know their true nature. (Kim Jong-il’s) North Korea is a regime arming with missiles and weapons of mass destruction, while starving its citizens. Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom. Iraq continues to flaunt its hostility toward America and to support terror. The Iraqi regime has plotted to develop anthrax and nerve gas and nuclear weapons for over a decade. This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens, leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections, then kicked out the inspectors. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world.”
The butchery in Syria has exposed a new team in the “Axis of Evil” including the Bashar Assad regime, Iran, Russia, and Turkey’s maniacal president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Together, they have killed half a million Syrians, mostly civilians, and caused another 11 million civilians to flee and become refugees. They dropped barrel bombs and used poisoned gas on innocent civilians, including women and children. Together, they have devastated large cities such as Aleppo, and smaller ones like Afrin, once held by Kurds and bombed by the Turks. Syrian and Russian war planes have targeted hospitals, churches, mosques, and other public places where people might seek shelter. Iran’s proxy, the Hezbollah terrorist organization, has starved entire cities into submission. What is common to all of them is that they head dictatorial regimes.
North Korea’s cruel dictatorship that starves its people and intimidates the international community with nuclear weapons, especially South Korea, is still a solid member of the “Axis of Evil.” If however North Korea denuclearizes as a result of a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and its “Rocket Man,” Kim Jong-Un, North Korea might be able to exit from the “honor” of being part of the “Axis of Evil.”
With Saddam Hussein gone, Iraq today is under the leadership of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has exited the “Axis of Evil” club. Nonetheless, the dictatorship of Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are seeking to subvert the nascent Iraqi experiment with democracy. PM Abadi is subjected to powerful Shiite militia leaders agitating on behalf of Iran. Abadi would like to stay neutral in the Iran-Saudi (Shiite-Sunni) rivalry and benefit from both. His people are predominantly Arab, but the majority of his support comes from his fellow Shiites, who identify with non-Arab Shiite Iran.
Gary Osen, in a Newsmax piece, pointed out that “Iran has emerged as the dominant regional power in the Middle East. With Russia’s assistance, it now controls four Arab capitals, (Baghdad, Beirut, Damascus, and Sanaa) and is within striking distance of destroying the security architecture America carefully constructed over the past seventy years.” The Islamic Republic of Iran evil is not however limited to its imperialistic machinations, it is a cruel and evil regime that oppresses its own people, and persecutes its ethnic and religious minorities. Its nuclear ambitions, coupled with its messianic and apocalyptic designs of its leadership, endangers world peace, the security of its neighbors, and the world.
Delivering a dramatic speech from the White House (May 8, 2018) on the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), President Trump stated that “The Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terror. It exports dangerous missiles, fuels conflicts across the Middle East, and supports terrorist proxies and militias such as Hezbollah, the Taliban, and al-Qaeda (and Hamas in Gaza).
Over the years, Iran and its proxies have bombed American embassies and military installations, murdered American servicemen, and kidnapped, imprisoned, and tortured American citizens. The Iranian regime has funded its long reign of chaos and terror by plundering the wealth of its own people. No action taken by the regime has been more dangerous than its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.”
President Trump went on to say, “Today, we have definitive proof that this Iranian promise (to abstain from developing its nuclear program) was a lie. Last week, Israel published intelligence documents long concealed by Iran, conclusively showing the Iranian regime and its history of pursuing nuclear weapons. Not only does the deal fail to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but it also fails to address the regime’s development of ballistic missiles that could deliver nuclear warheads. Finally, the deal does nothing to constrain Iran’s destabilizing activities, including support for terrorism. Since the (2015) agreement, Iran’s bloody ambitions have grown only more brazen.
In the years since the deal was reached, Iran’s military budget has grown by almost 40%, while its economy is doing very badly. After the sanctions were lifted, the dictatorship used its new funds to build nuclear-capable missiles, support terrorism, and cause havoc throughout the Middle East and beyond.”
Putin’s Russia allied with Iran, the Assad regime, and apparently Erdogan’s Turkey, has used the same rationale that Hitler used to annex first the Sudetenland and then the entirety of Czechoslovakia in October, 1938 and March, 1939. Putin annexed Ukrainian Crimea into Russia, and sent Russian-speaking proxies to detach sections of Eastern Ukraine from the sovereign Ukrainian state. Putin’s rationale was similar to Hitler’s in claiming that this act of aggression meant to “correct a historical wrong.” Today, Russia is complicit in the destruction of Syria, and the mass killing of its civilian population, along with the Assad regime and Iran. Putin’s dream is to re-create the Soviet Union, and restore its status as a superpower.
An unholy alliance has recently emerged between Russia, Iran and Erdogan’s Turkey. Turkey has been drawn into this alliance because it wants to crush the U.S. backed Kurdish forces. President Erdogan recently signed a $2.5 billion arms deal with Russia for S-400 sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, which raised deep concerns among NATO allies. Erdogan’s unrelenting assaults on the Kurdish people in his own country as well as in Syria, killing civilians under the pretext of combatting “terror,” is just one side of the new partner in the “Axis of Evil.” Erdogan’s has transformed Turkey from a secular, democratic state into another Islamist dictatorship with mass arrests, curtailment of press freedom, and human rights abuses. His illusions of grandeur seeks to restore the “glories” of the Ottoman Empire and the leadership of the Sunni-Muslim world.
While Syria’s Bashar Assad is merely an instrument to be used, Iran, Russia and Turkey are dangerous actors in the global arena. Together they constitute the new “Axis of Evil.”