The Knesset Finance Committee, headed by MK Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism), on Monday approved the transfer of an additional $80 million to the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, mainly for the purpose of finding housing solutions for elderly immigrants.
Some of the funds are designated for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants from France, Belgium, and Ukraine.
Of the amount allotted, about $68 million are designated for housing solutions for elderly immigrants; $4 million for encouraging entrepreneurship among new immigrants, including employment fairs and seminars for new immigrants, coupons for Hebrew lessons, absorption-related activities in local authorities, encouraging Aliyah abroad by strengthening the professional capabilities of potential olim, and adding more operators to the information call center for those interested in making Aliyah; $2 million for the implementation of the government’s decision to allow members of the Bnei Menashe community entry into Israel, and $1.3 million are designated for increasing the assistance provided to immigrant soldiers who are recognized by the IDF as lone soldiers or as soldiers who are eligible for family stipends.
A key feature of “Trump truth” is Donald Trump’s unvarnished, attention-grabbing imprecision when he frames contentious statements.
In the latest iteration, Trump said something even Obama’s biggest enemies in conservative media would not have said, at least not in those exact terms. Emphasis added:
After lamenting the “mistake” the US made by going to war in Iraq — a conflict he repeatedly says that he opposed, despite evidence to the contrary — Trump then criticized Obama’s attempts to “clean up.”
“Normally you want to clean up; he made a bigger mess out of it. He made such a mess. And then you had Hillary with Libya, so sad,” Trump said.
“In fact, in many respects, you know they honor president Obama. ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS, OK? He’s the founder. He founded ISIS.”
He then said that the “co-founder” of ISIS was Clinton.
Critics of Obama’s policies have long argued that those policies (pulling out of Iraq, arming rebel groups in Syria with little vetting) allowed ISIS to form and flourish. But critics who think of themselves as serious and responsible haven’t called Obama the founder of ISIS.
The responsible critics also haven’t made any headway in gaining public traction for their concerns. The leftosphere – including the MSM – has succeeded in obfuscating the whole question by burying it in a specious comparison of “Obama’s blame” with “Bush’s blame.”
This debate tactic ignores the defining fact about ISIS’s rise, which is that its main impetus was not the breakdown of security in Iraq, but the chaos from the Arab Spring, especially (although not only) in Syria. Everything was different, and uniquely Obama’s problem, after the first half of 2011. Bush’s arrangements from 2008 or before were not the governing factor in anything at that point.
But responsible critics were never able to get their points made above the general noise level. Trump, by making an outrageously-worded statement, has brought the issue front and center. Now everyone is talking about Trump saying “Obama founded ISIS.”
And Trump’s not walking it back this time. Talking on Hugh Hewitt’s radio program on Thursday, 11 August, Trump doubled down (tripled down?) on the proposition:
Trump was asked by host Hugh Hewitt about the comments Trump made Wednesday night in Florida, and Hewitt said he understood Trump to mean “that he (Obama) created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”
“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS,” Trump said. “I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”
Hewitt pushed back again, saying that Obama is “not sympathetic” to ISIS and “hates” and is “trying to kill them.”
“I don’t care,” Trump said, according to a show transcript. “He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay?”
Now, there isn’t anything Trump has said in these passages that I would put in the words he uses. I don’t think the advisor whose hand I detect here would put it in those words either. The advisor is retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, the former director of Defense Intelligence who in 2015 said that the Obama administration willfully ignored the predicted consequences of arming the groups that ultimately became ISIS.
The administration was warned as early as 2012, Flynn pointed out last year, but made a “willful” decision to ignore the warnings. (See here for a very good extended treatment, one with echoes of intelligence insider-dom that resonate as valid with me.)
The point here is not that that’s different from saying that Obama literally founded ISIS. I assume y’all folks are smart enough to get that.
The point is that Trump has succeeded, where no one else could have, in making this a major topic of public conversation this week. Everywhere you look, the words “Obama founded ISIS” are being blasted in the headlines. Madison Avenue should function so effectively.
The MSM are doggedly railing against Trump for saying it. And most of the right is distancing itself – as with Hugh Hewitt – from the wrongly-couched assertion. (LU contributor and colleague Jeff Dunetz also points out that the MSM coverage of this Trump-truth incident has been “psychotically literal,” which in an important sense is true. But I think the MSM do their cause more harm than good by trying to frame Trump as the crazy one. We really are watching the childhood rhyme come to life this year: Trump is rubber, the MSM’s glue.)
Preparing the way for a damning report from Congress on cooked intel
The initial allegation about that was made public 11 months ago. A large group of 50 analysts working at CENTCOM headquarters in Tampa filed a complaint that they were being pressured to make assessments rosier than the facts warranted. They said their work was being edited to present a falsely positive picture of how things were going in the fight against ISIS.
There was at least one major data point at the time that suggested complicity at the highest levels of the Obama administration in this alleged intel-cooking. The director of intelligence (J2) at CENTCOM, Army Maj. Gen. Steven Grove, reportedly spoke nearly every day with James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.
As the Guardian’s “former intelligence” source says, that is indeed “highly, highly unusual.” Normally, the CENTCOM J2 doesn’t speak directly with the director of national intelligence. The J2 has a circuit of daily contacts with the intelligence community, but they don’t include the DNI – who functions at a nosebleed level far above the CENTCOM J2’s paygrade. Any work-related discussion with the DNI is inherently about national policy, and there are three layers of command and/or policy authority that would ordinarily sequester the CENTCOM J2 from the DNI: his own boss, the CENTCOM commander; the Joint Staff at the Pentagon (which has its own J2 and intelligence staff); and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Only the latter is the equivalent in decision-making seniority to the DNI.
If General Grove was talking every day to James Clapper, something very unusual was going on. (General Lloyd Austin, the CENTCOM commander at the time, quite probably knew about these discussions. As widely as they seem to have been known in the J2 directorate, it would have been impossible for Austin to be unaware of them. Presumably they had his approval, spoken or otherwise.)
CENTCOM employees further alleged that Grove and his civilian deputy, Gregory Ryckman, destroyed electronic records to hide their doctoring of analysts’ reports.
Now a House task force, after an investigation that included dozens of interviews with these analysts (at which CENTCOM always had a command representative present), has concluded that “structural and management” conditions at CENTCOM yielded intelligence products that were “significantly more optimistic than that of other parts of the Intelligence Community (IC) and typically more optimistic than actual events warranted.”
Based on its own investigation, the Joint Task Force has substantiated that structural and management changes made at the CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate starting in mid-2014 resulted in the production and dissemination of intelligence products that were inconsistent with the judgments of many senior, career analysts at CENTCOM. These products were consistently more optimistic regarding the conduct of U.S. military action than that of the senior analysts. Based on specific case studies evaluated by the Joint Task Force, during the time period evaluated by the Joint Task Force, CENTCOM produced intelligence that was also significantly more optimistic than that of other parts of the Intelligence Community (IC) and typically more optimistic than actual events warranted. Additionally, many CENTCOM press releases, public statements, and congressional testimonies were also significantly more positive than actual events.
The timeline of bad news versus cover-up
The sequence of events is, thus, that in 2012, the Obama administration was warned about what would happen if it continued to arm and encourage the groups that became ISIS (and Al-Nusra, which remained directly affiliated with Al-Qaeda). (The administration was even warned very precisely about where ISIS would make its headquarters and capital in eastern Syria. See the links above on General Flynn’s public comments in 2015.)
What was predicted did happen: ISIS began its career of exceptionally bloody and grotesque territorial conquest, pushing out from a redoubt in eastern Syria. The acquisition of territory accelerated rapidly in the spring and summer of 2014.
And in mid-2014, the CENTCOM intelligence directorate made “structural and management changes…[that] resulted in the production and dissemination of intelligence products that were” all of the following:
“…inconsistent with the judgments of many senior, career analysts at CENTCOM.”
“…consistently more optimistic regarding the conduct of U.S. military action than that of the senior analysts.”
“…significantly more optimistic than that of other parts of the Intelligence Community (IC) and typically more optimistic than actual events warranted.”
“Additionally,” after these structural and management changes, “many CENTCOM press releases, public statements, and congressional testimonies were also significantly more positive than actual events.”
This amounts to spinning intel to make the counter-ISIS effort look more effective than it was. Interestingly enough, that implication fits with this presentation by Fox of the ways in which Obama has painted the counter-ISIS picture more rosily (to the point of outright falsehood) than his senior officials. He has been directly contradicted by his senior officials on a number of occasions.
The “Trump truth” may not fit the exact words Trump uses to say something. But it seems to take over the media’s own precincts and make a hash of their narrative, paving the way for a truth to come out that the American public would not otherwise have seen.
It’s at work again with the “Obama founded ISIS” theme. It sure looks like somebody tried to cover up Obama’s complicity — advertent or otherwise — in fostering the development and growth of ISIS. Without Trump’s “Obama founded ISIS” statement, that set of facts would have been buried in the noise.
Thousands of marchers from all across Israel participated in the 22nd annual walk around the walls of the old city of Jerusalem on Tisha B’Av night, Saturday, organized by Women in Green. This year the walk, which began following the traditional reading of the scroll of Lamentations at the Independence Park in downtown Jerusalem, was focused on Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. The marchers circled the ancient walls carrying Israeli flags, accompanied by police.
The march was concluded with a rally that began with a rousing speech by Women in Green co-founders Yehudit Katsover and Nadia matar. Katsover asked why did the 9th of Av become the time of the year when so many calamities took place in the history of the Jewish nation (the destruction of two temples, the fall of the city of Beitar to the Romans, the expulsion from Spain, the expulsion from the Gaza Strip). She pointed to the fact that the sin of the spies, the first event that established Tisha B’Av as a day of mourning for the ages, was the sin of fear of going out to conquer the promised land. The spies convinced the nation that we couldn’t do it.
9 B’Av Jerusalem march 2016 organizers Yehudit Katsover and Nadia matar / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson
“We can’t do it! The state of mind of ‘I can’t do it’ is the cause of defeat. That’s the root of the destruction,” Katsover said. “Tisha B’Av is here to remind us to mourn the things we could have done but didn’t … because of our fear. We don’t build in Judea and Samaria because we’re afraid of pressure from the dwarf Obama. We fail to save [the community set for demolition] Amona because the Supreme Court is afraid of the world. We don’t impose sovereignty because we fear the demographics. We don’t carry out this march in the direction of the Temple Mount because we fear the Arabs and the deteriorating State of Jordan.”
“If we allow our subjective fears to dictate our objective reality, we’ll keep falling time and again,” Katsover declared. “This is the root of our destruction. The first time this approach was introduced was on Tisha B’Av and since then, each year, we cry over the fact that we failed to trust ourselves.” And she announced, “On this Tisha B’Av we’ll decide that we can do. We can and we will. We will not permit the baseless tears to stop us.”
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Dov Kalmanovich / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson
Dov Kalmanovich, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem, the first Israeli victim of the First Intifada (the skin of his face and a large part of his body were burned away by a Molotov cocktail that was hurled at his car on December 9, 1987), said the way to bolster Israel sovereignty across the Land of Israel was through unrelenting construction. He said liberation didn’t end with the conquering of the city, that’s where it started — and the rest is all about building the city. “With your support we’ll cry out for a sovereign Jerusalem,” but this sovereignty must be borne by physical building, Kalmanovich told the marchers.
Former MK Aryeh Eldad / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson
Former MK Aryeh Eldad told the audience about his late father, MK Israel Eldad, who each year on Tisha B’Av would visit the Israel Museum, stand in front of the statue of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who suppressed the Bar Kokhva rebellion (132 – 135 CE) and tell him, “So, what do you say? Where are you and where are we now?”
“On the surface he appeared to be right,” Eldad said about his father. “The Roman Empire disappeared and we are here, a sovereign nation returning to its homeland after destruction and catastrophe the likes of which history has not known. But it isn’t that simple.”
“The curse of Hadrian is still hovering above us,” Eldad continued. “After he destroyed Beitar and hundreds of other communities, and massacred half a million Jews, he was not satisfied, and sought to revise history and erase the memory of Israel. This is why he rename Jerusalem Aelia Capitolina (after Jupiter Capitolinus, the same god who eventually lent a derivation of his name to Capitol Hill). And he changed the name of the province of Judea to the province of Syria-Palestine.”
“This curse of Palestine has been chasing us to this day,” Eldad said. “If we want to return to the mountain, we must erase the name Palestine from Eretz Israel.”
The crowd responded with soaring applause.
Other speakers included Rina Ariel, mother of 13-year-old Halel Yaffa Ariel hy”d who was murdered in her bed a few weeks ago by an Arab terrorist; former Russian dissident Rabbi Yosef Mendelevich; and Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan.
MK Yehuda Glick / Photo credit: Gershon Elinson
The last speaker at the rally was MK Yehuda Glick, whose name and personal history have become intertwined with the story of Jewish efforts to return to the Temple Mount. “For two thousand years we’ve kept the commandment of ‘Bitterly she will weep at night’ (Lamentations 1:2), but no more! We stop crying and start doing! The fathers of the Zionist movement have taught us the diaspora is not only the punishment but the sin, too. Zion is the holy Mt. Zion, and Zionism took that name because it wanted to return to Zion, to the Temple Mount, and you,” he turned to the audience, “are part of the return to Zion, to the Temple Mount.”
Pointing out that when he began ascending to the Temple Mount only about a hundred Jews a year would go there, but in the past year some 20 thousand have come.
“Since the day fifty years ago, when God gave us, through the IDF, the land of our fathers, the Golan, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, and we said that Temple Mount is in our hands (the famous victory cry of Paratroopers commander Gen. Motta Gur, June 7, 1967), it really has been in our hands,” Glick said. “Temple Mount is holy, not the status quo,” he continued, crying, “Eicha-How [the Hebrew title of the Book of lamentations] is a scream. How can there be such and absurd reality in which we cannot pray in this place? How can it be that the global center of ‘Nation will not take up sword against nation’ fall in the hands of people who sanctify the sword? How can we give more and more power to the Waqf?”
Glick, whose first few months in office have been marked by liberal and tolerant statements that puzzle the media, concluded decidedly, “We must make clear that all the talk about the chance for a Palestinian State is finished. We will proceed in imposing Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, and anyone wishing to live in peace is welcome, and if they don’t we’ll use harsh measure against them.”
“We are now a nation of building in the daytime, not a nation of weeping at night,” Glick concluded.
The rally then erupted in three calls of “Higia z’man ribonut” (the time for sovereignty is now) and proceeded to the Kotel Plaza to sit down and say Lamentations.
Multiple polls demonstrate that the general Middle Eastern and Western Muslim population harbors dangerous attitudes that help explain recent terrorist attacks in France,America, Iraq, Israel, Jordan and Bangladesh. Hostility towards women, Jews, Christians, homosexuals, and converts to other religions is prevalent. Large percentages of Muslims also support suicide bombings and terrorist groups, including Hamas, al Qaeda, Hezbollah and ISIS.
Honor killings/Abortion: The 2013 Pew survey found that low percentages in these Mideast countries (22% to 45%) said that “honor killings” are never justified to punish a women accused of having pre-marital or extra-marital sex. Only 14% to 34% would accord a wife the right to divorce her husband. Virtually no one (0% to 2%) said that abortion was acceptable.
Homosexuality: Muslims also overwhelmingly stated that homosexual behavior is morally wrong in the 2013 Pew survey. Only 1% in Iraq, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan said that homosexual behavior was morally acceptable.
The Pew 2013 survey also found that significant percentages of Middle Eastern Muslims agree that suicide bombing can be justified. A whopping 74% of Muslims in the Palestinian territories support suicide bombing often, sometimes or rarely – with “often” getting the most (37%) responses. In Egypt and Jordan, the percentages were 53% and 57%. Moreover, Pew surveys in 2006 and 2007 reveal that these percentages of young Muslims (age 18-29 – a key group) justify suicide bombings: U.S.: 26%; Great Britain: 35%; France: 42%; Germany: 22%; and Spain: 29%.
Anti-Semitism: The 2010 Pew Global Attitudes survey of religious groups’ views found that in predominantly Muslim nations surveyed, views of Jews were largely unfavorable. (In the PA, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt, 95% to 98% viewed Jews unfavorably. Moreover, a 2015 ISGAP review of surveys from nine European countries, with more than 40,000 participants, revealed that anti-Semitism levels were significantly higher among European Muslims than among non-Muslims, and that anti-Semitic attitudes increased with Muslim religiosity. For instance, a 2008 six-country Ruud-Koopmans study found that the percentages agreeing with an anti-Semitic statement were: 7% to 10% of Christians; 20% (over twice as many) of “not very religious Muslims”; 30% of “very religions non-fundamentalist” Muslims; and a whopping 70% of “very religions, fundamentalist Muslims.”
Anti-Christian: In the 2010 Pew survey, sizeable numbers in predominantly Muslim nations also expressed negative attitudes towards Christians (61% in Pakistan; 49% in Egypt, 43% in the Palestinian territories).
Support and Sympathy for Terrorist Groups:
An Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) poll of 5,100 respondents in seven Arab countries including 900 Syrian refugees in November 2015 found that positive views of ISIS were held by 13% of Syrian refugees, 19% of Jordanians, 20% of Saudis, and 24% of Muslims in the Palestinian territories.
According to a 2007 poll cited in Daniel Greenfield’s “Opposing Syrian Muslim Refugees is a Jewish Value,” a staggering 77% of Syrians support Hamas – a terrorist organization whose stated mission is murdering every Jew. Also, the Pew 2013 survey found that favorable views of Hamas were held by 48% of Muslims in Egypt and the PA; 43% of Jordanian Muslims; and 62% of Lebanese Shia Muslims, and that favorable views of al Qaeda were held by 35% in the Palestinian territories; 13% in Pakistan and Jordan; and 20% in Egypt; and that significant numbers also held favorable views of Hezbollah.
These troubling statistics on Muslim attitudes help explain relentless avalanche of terrorist attacks perpetrated by Muslims. We must urge both secular and religious Muslim leaders to strongly condemn these attitudes and urge a reformation of Islam.
France has been the target of the most devastating recent terrorist attacks because, apparently, almost half of young French Muslims support suicide bombing, probably the most extreme act of terrorism (compare with the Japanese Kamikaze pilots, who represented the Japanese Empire’s final, most desperate lashing at an overpowering enemy).
But a November, 2015 Pew Poll found that while a large percentage of Muslim youths in the West support suicide bombing, and out of those the largest percentage live in France, the numbers in the US are only somewhat better.
“The higher levels of support for suicide bombing seen among young American Muslims resembles patterns found among Muslims in Europe, where Muslims also constitute a minority population,” the Pew poll concluded. “In Great Britain, France and Germany, Muslims under the age of 30 are consistently the least likely to say that suicide bombing is never justified.
“In other words, the share who think suicide bombing against civilians can ever be justified, even if rarely, is higher among those younger than 30 compared with those who are older. About a quarter (26%) of younger US Muslims say suicide bombing can at least rarely be justified, 17 percentage points higher than the proportion of Muslims ages 30 and older (9%) who share that view. The age gap is about as wide in Great Britain (18 percentage points) but somewhat narrower in Germany (12 points), France (11 points) and Spain (7 points).”
Reconectar, the movement to reconnect the descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities and the Jewish world, welcomed the recommendations made by Israel’s Ministry of Education’s Committee to Empower the Heritage of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews in the Education System, led by Chairman Erez Biton.
“It is an important day for Sephardi Jews where our history, culture and tradition will be recognized and taught in the Israeli school system,” President of Reconectar Ashley Perry (Perez) said. “This has taken far too long, but it is vital that the scope of Jewish history and culture be widened to include Jews from the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.”
“However, there is still more work to be done and it should be widened further to include our millions of Sephardi brothers and sisters who were forcibly disconnected from us over the centuries and are seeking a reconnection to the Jewish world. Our education system should be preparing the formal Jewish world for the immense and necessary challenge of reconnecting our people,” Perry said.
Beginning in the 14th Century, hundreds of thousands of Jews were forcibly converted, or otherwise disconnected from the Jewish People, and many among their descendants, numbering around 100 million, are seeking different levels of reconnection with Israel and the Jewish world.
Perry, who is also Director General of the Knesset Caucus for the Reconnection with the Descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Communities, Chaired by MK Robert Ilatov, said that the more Israeli children travel to Spain, as the recommendations state, the more they will encounter the story of the Anousim who are becoming more and more aware of their Jewish roots.
“We have an enormous opportunity to use our shared history and traditions, to empower and embolden relations with those who share our roots and heritage whether in the Iberian Peninsula, Latin America or among Latinos and Hispanics in the US,” Perry said. “We have a moral, ethical and even a halakhic mandate to do so, and the more we learn about our roots in the Hispanic world and the more the Hispanic world learns about their possible Jewish roots, the closer the potential relations between our communities will grow.”
Perry was also heavily involved in placing the issue of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries on the national and international agenda while he worked in government as advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and other politicians, including former MK Dr. Shimon Ohayon, who passed a law to create a day of commemoration in the official Israeli calendar.
“The history of the Jews of the Middle East and North Africa is sadly overlooked, even though every other Jew in Isr
ael comes from this region,” Perry said. “It is vital for Jewish Peoplehood that the vibrant and ancient Jewish communities of the Middle East and North Africa and their subsequent ethnic cleansing in the Twentieth Century are understood and studied.”
“It is absurd that it has taken 68 years for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews to be able to learn about their own history and culture, and it is hoped that their history will be placed on an equal plane to the history of other Jews from around the world,” Perry said.
“He was a bad guy, really bad guy. But you know what? He did well. He killed terrorists. He did that so good. They didn’t read them the rights. They didn’t talk. They were terrorists. Over,” Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina Tuesday. In comparison, Trump said, “today, Iraq is Harvard for terrorism. You want to be a terrorist, you go to Iraq. It’s like Harvard. Okay? So sad.”
That assertion may be challenged by Israelis, as Clinton’s senior campaign adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN, “In reality, Hussein’s regime was a sponsor of terrorism — one that paid families of suicide bombers who attacked Israelis, among other crimes.”
Then Sullivan added that “Trump’s cavalier compliments for brutal dictators, and the twisted lessons he seems to have learned from their history, again demonstrate how dangerous he would be as commander-in-chief and how unworthy he is of the office he seeks.”
Not necessarily so. In retrospect, after the violent collapse of the “Arab Spring” everywhere but in Tunisia, Trump’s assessment of what the Arab world requires to keep it stable is not necessarily democracy. Back in October, 2015, Trump said he believed Iraq and Libya would be more useful in forging a stable Middle East if ruthless dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi had not been terminated by a succession of American presidents.
“If you look at Iraq from years ago,” Trump said in October, “I’m not saying [Hussein] was a nice guy, he was a horrible guy, but it was a lot better than it is right now. Right now, Iraq is a training ground for terrorists. Right now Libya, nobody even knows Libya, frankly there is no Iraq and there is no Libya. It’s all broken up. They have no control. Nobody knows what’s going on.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rushed to the defense of both Bushes and Obama, telling Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that Saddam Hussein “was one of the 20th century’s most evil people. He was up there. He committed mass genocide against his own people using chemical weapons. Saddam Hussein was a bad guy.”
Yes, but, in the immortal words of FDR, when someone asked him about the wisdom of supporting Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza, “He may be an SOB but he’s our SOB.” Back in 1979, when Iran’s Shah was overthrown by the Islamic Revolution, giving way to an Islamic republic led by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, which drove the US out of Iran (and kept hundreds of American hostages), only Saddam Hussein was able to limit the spread of Iranian influence in the region. The Iran–Iraq War lasted from September 1980 to August 1988, exacting millions of victims in the service of Western interests in the region. No Arab democracy (an oxymoron if ever there was one) could have stopped Iran. The only force able to facilitate Iran’s yearning for regional hegemony were presidents Bush I and Bush II, followed by Obama.
On July 25, 1990, US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie held an emergency meeting with Saddam, who attacked American policy with regards to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Saddam complained bitterly: “So what can it mean when America says it will now protect its friends? It can only mean prejudice against Iraq. This stance plus maneuvers and statements which have been made has encouraged the UAE and Kuwait to disregard Iraqi rights.”
Saddam was referring to his neighboring oil sheiks “drilling sideways” into Iraqi deposits. Saddam viewed the entire concept of there even being a country named Kuwait to have been a conspiracy of British Petroleum and Her Majesty’s government to steal oil-rich Iraqi land. Saddam felt that in light of his service to the US, he should receive its support in his conflict with the Kuwaitis.
Ambassador Glaspie replied that the US would rather see the conflict resolved through peaceful means, but in the end, “…we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait.”
And so, after his ultimatum to the Sabah ruling family of Kuwait had failed, Saddam invaded Kuwait, believing the US was going to take a neutral position on his move. But his move frightened the Saudis, whose Ambassador under both Bush administrations had his own desk in the Oval office, and they pressured Bush I to start what is now a 26-year program of completely destabilizing the Middle East, complete with attacks on US soil, lingering civil wars in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan, two worldwide Islamic terrorist armies, one of them a Caliphate wannabe blowing up half of Europe. All of which could have been avoided had the Bush I and certainly Bush II administrations been more accommodating to the monstrous dictator who used to be our monstrous dictator.
The Democratic and Republican establishments insist on presenting Trump as an admirer of dictators, which he may be — but that was not the case Trump has been making for boosting rather than unseating dictators, such as Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Trump has a much clearer view regarding US foreign interest than do the establishment politicians on either side of the aisle, and it ain’t about spreading the spirit od democracy and goodwill to all mankind.