by David Horowitz
The culprit is Obama and his policies of appeasement, betrayal and retreat.
During the eight years of the Obama administration, half a million Christians, Yazidis and Muslims were slaughtered in the Middle East by ISIS and other Islamic jihadists, in a genocidal campaign waged in the name of Islam and its God. Twenty million others were driven into exile by these same jihadist forces. Libya and Yemen became terrorist states. America - once the dominant foreign power and anti-jihadist presence in the region – was replaced by Russia, an ally of the monster regimes in Syria and Iran, and their terrorist proxies. Under the patronage of the Obama administration, Iran - the largest and most dangerous terrorist state, with the blood of thousands of Americans on its hands - emerged from its isolation as a pariah state to re-enter the community of nations and become the region’s dominant power, arming and directing its terrorist proxies in Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and Yemen.
These disasters are a direct consequence of the policies of appeasement and retreat of the Obama administration. Beyond that, they are a predictable result of the Democratic Party’s long-standing resistance to the so-called war on terror, and its sabotage of George Bush’s efforts to enforce 17 UN Security Council resolutions in Iraq, aimed at maintaining international order and peace in the Middle East.
In fact, the primary cause of the disasters in the Middle East is the Democratic Party’s sabotage of the War in Iraq. Democrats first voted to authorize the armed overthrow of Iraq’s terror regime but within three months of its inception reversed their position 180 degrees and declared the war “immoral, illegal & unnecessary.” The reason for the Democrats’ reversal on the war had nothing to do with the war itself or the so-called absence of weapons of mass destruction, but was rather a political response to the fact that an anti-war Democrat, Howard Dean, was running away with their presidential nomination. It was this that caused John Kerry and his party to forget that the war was about Saddam’s defiance of 17 UN Security Council resolutions, and refusal to allow the UN inspectors to carry out their efforts to ascertain whether he had destroyed his nuclear and chemical arsenals.
Beginning in June 2003, Democrats began claiming – falsely – that Bush had lied to secure their support for the war. “Bush lied, people died,” became the left’s slogan to cripple the war effort. Bush couldn’t have lied because Democrats had access to every bit of intelligence information on Iraq that he did. But this false narrative began what became a five-year campaign to demonize America’s commander-in-chief and undermine his efforts to subdue the terrorists and pacify the region.
The Democrats’ anti-war crusade climaxed with the election of Barack Obama, a leftwing activist and vocal opponent of the war, and of the majority of Senate Democrats who voted for it. At the time of Obama’s election, America and its allies had won the war and subdued the terrorists by turning the Sunnis in Anbar province against them. But the new commander-in-chief refused to use American forces to secure the peace, and instead set out to withdraw all American military personnel from Iraq. This was a fatal step that created a power vacuum, which was quickly filled by Iran and ISIS.
Obama’s generals had advised him to maintain a post-war force of 20,000 troops in country along with the military base America had built in Baghdad. But Obama had made military withdrawal the centerpiece of his foreign policy and ignored his national security team’s advice. Had he not done so, American forces would have been able to effectively destroy ISIS at its birth, saving more than 500,000 lives and avoiding the creation of nearly 20 million refugees in Syria and Iraq.
Instead of protecting Iraq and the region from the Islamic terrorists, Obama surrendered the peace, turning Iraq over to Iran and the terrorists, and betraying every American and Iraqi who had given their lives to keep them out. The message of the Obama White House – to be repeated through all eight years of his tenure - was that America was the disturber of the peace, and not “radical Islamic terrorism” – words he refused to utter. Instead he even removed the phrase “war on terror” from all official statements and replaced it with “overseas contingency operations.”
Second among the causes of the Middle East’s human tragedy was Obama’s support for the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad whom his secretaries of state, Clinton and Kerry both endorsed as a democratic reformer on the very eve of his savage war against his own people. This was followed by Obama’s refusal to enforce the red line he drew to prevent Assad from using chemical weapons on the Syrian population. When Assad did use them, Obama averted his eyes and papered over his culpability by arranging a phony deal with Russia to remove Assad’s chemical arsenal. Six years later, Assad was again using chemical weapons on Syrian civilians, the exposing Obama’s ruse.
This capitulation to the Syrian tyrant was a powerful reiteration of Obama’s signature message: The United States is the problem and is therefore committed to taking itself out of the picture. In other words, anti-American dictators and genocidal maniacs in the Middle East can have their way.
The third cause of the Middle Eastern morass was Obama’s failure, early on in his Obama administration, to support the green revolution in Iran, when its brave citizens poured into the streets in 2009 to protest a rigged election and the totalitarian regime. Obama’s silence was in effect support for the Jew-hating and America-hating regime, into whose ruling group Secretary of State Kerry’s daughter soon married. Obama’s betrayal of the Iranian people was a reiteration of his signature message to the region: America no longer cares to support freedom, and is willing to support its enemies, even those who kill Americans in the name of Islam.
The fourth cause of the Middle Eastern morass was Obama’s intervention in Egypt - his overthrow of an American ally, Hosni Mubarak, and his open support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the spawner of al-Qaeda and Hamas and the chief sponsor of the Islamic jihad against the West. Obama’s support for the Brotherhood was so strong that when it was overthrown by the Egyptian military following massive protests of the Egyptian people, the White House opposed the new regime of the pro-American General, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Through these policies, Obama alienated America’s most important Arab ally in the Middle East and opened the door to Russia’s influence in the region, and to the Kremlin’s alliance with its most barbaric regimes, Syria and Iran.
The fifth cause of the terrorist upsurge that has shattered the peace of the Middle East was Obama’s unauthorized, illegal intervention in Libya and murder of its ruler Gaddafi – a ruthless dictator no doubt – but a dedicated enemy of al-Qaeda with whom he was actively at war. The result of this naked American aggression, whose chief advocates were Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power, was a Libya devoured by the terrorist wolves who now rule it – a failed state and a haven for the bloodthirsty savages of al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The sixth reason the Middle East is now in flames is Obama’s policy of what he calls “strategic patience” but is in effect strategic cowardice and worse. Obama’s failure to act decisively against ISIS – to take only one example - allowed the Islamic State (which Obama has even refused to concede is Islamic), to become the largest terrorist force ever, and to provide its armed missionaries with a free hand to destroy the oldest Christian community in the world in Iraq, exterminating 200,000 members of the faith, while driving many more into exile.
By way of contrast and showing what the Obama White House could have done, sixth months into the Trump administration, the ISIS stronghold of Mosul is liberated and Raqqa is about to fall, spelling the end of the Islamic State. The blood of those slaughtered Christians, as well as the Yazidis and Muslims, is squarely on the head of Barack Obama and his White House enablers – the Democratic Party and the Democrats’ kept press.
The seventh cause of the humanitarian crisis in the Middle East – and the one with the most long-lasting consequences - is Obama’s embrace of the terrorist regime in Iran. Iran has killed more Americans than any other enemy of this country. Its kill list goes back to the Marine bombing of 1983 and includes the supply of every I.E.D. in Iraq used to blow up several thousand American soldiers.
Yet Obama built his entire Middle East policy around the so-called “deal” with Iran, which provides that nation with a path to nuclear weapons, and has no realistic inspection or enforcement mechanisms. The “Iran deal” lifted the sanctions that had been placed on a regime whose leaders were so openly contemptuous of Obama that they led chants of “Death to America” in the middle of the negotiations. The Iran deal brought America’s mortal enemy out of international isolation, provided it with the opportunity to acquire nuclear weapons, turned a blind eye to its ballistic missile development and stuffed its war chest with $200 billion in cash payments used to fund its weapons programs, and to support terrorist armies, including Hizbollah, Hamas and the Yemenite Houthis, busy creating havoc throughout the Middle East.
The Obama regime’s role in the human disasters in the Middle East is a warning about what happens when American leaders sympathize with our enemies, hamstring our armed forces and abandon our responsibilities to help maintain the peace and defend freedom in a fractious, authoritarian and bloody-minded world. The Obama administration’s enabling of the most barbaric forces in the Middle East is a national disgrace, and the most shameful episode in America’s post-World War II experience.
The path to rectifying these disasters and to stopping Islamic genocides of “infidels” in the Middle East, is first of all to restore America’s active presence in the region, taking a firm stance against radical Islamic terrorism. This is an effort which, thankfully, the Trump administration has already begun. Second, it is to make America’s policy firmly and consistently anti-terrorist, which the Trump administration has not yet done. This would mean, for example, cutting off all funds to the terrorist Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza, and halting all “peace” negotiations until the Palestinians renounce terror and support Israel’s right to exist.
The lesson to remember in all this is that despite its human weaknesses and flaws, America is still the only great power in the world today that cares about human dignity and decency and has the wherewithal to defend them and the peace.
[For Frontpage editor Jamie Glazov's essay on David Horowitz's life and work, click here.]
David Horowitz is the author of Big Agenda: President Trump's Plan to Save America, now in its tenth week on The New York Times’ best-seller list.
Horowitz was one of the founders of the New Left in the 1960s and an editor of its largest magazine, Ramparts. He is the author, with Peter Collier, of three best selling dynastic biographies: The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (1976); The Kennedys: An American Dream (1984); and The Fords: An American Epic (1987). Looking back in anger at their days in the New Left, he and Collier wrote Destructive Generation (1989), a chronicle of their second thoughts about the 60s that has been compared to Whittaker Chambers’ Witness and other classic works documenting a break from totalitarianism. Horowitz examined this subject more closely in Radical Son (1996), a memoir tracing his odyssey from “red-diaper baby” to conservative activist that George Gilder described as “the first great autobiography of his generation.”
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