SO AFTER inventing fake news, Americas crazed President on Sunday gave the worlds Muslims a fake speech. Donald Trump said he was not in Saudi Arabia to lecture but then told the worlds Islamic preachers what to say, condemned Islamist terrorism as if violence was a solely Muslim phenomenon and then announced like an Old Testament prophet that he was in a battle between good and evil. There were no words of compassion, none of mercy, absolutely not a word of apology for his racist, anti-Muslim speeches of last year.
Even more incredibly, he blamed Iran rather than Isis for fuelling sectarian violence, pitied the Iranian people for their despair a day after they had freely elected a liberal reformer as their president, and demanded the further isolation of the largest Shia country in the Middle East. The regime responsible for so much instability is Iran. The Shia Hezbollah were condemned. So were the Shia Yemenis. Trumps Saudi hosts glowed with warmth at such wisdom.
And this was billed by CNN as a reset speech with the Muslim world. For reset, read repair, but Trumps Sunday diatribe in Riyadh was in fact neither a reset nor a repair. It was the lecture he claimed he would not give.
Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith, he announced, utterly ignoring as he had to the fact that Saudi Arabia, not Iran, is the fountainhead of the very Wahhabi extremism whose terrorists murder innocent people.
He tried to avoid his old racist radical Islamic extremist mantra and tried to replace it with Islamist extremism but he apparently fluffed his words and said Islamic as well. The subtle difference he was trying to make in English was thus for Muslims no more than a variation on a theme: terrorists are Muslims.
All this, let us remember, came after Trump had sewn up yet another outrageous arms deal with the Saudis ($110bn or £84.4bn) and the proposed purchase by Qatar of what Trump obscenely referred to as a lot of beautiful military equipment. It seems almost fantastical that he should make such a remark only two days before meeting the Pope who in Cairo two weeks ago railed along with the Muslim Sheikh of Al Azhar against the evil of arms dealers.
We are adopting a principled realism, rooted in common values and shared interests, Trump told the Saudis and the leaders of another fifty Muslim nations on Sunday. But what on earth are those values? What values do the Americans share with the head-chopping, misogynist, undemocratic, dictatorial Saudis other than arms sales and oil?
And when Trump said that our friends will never question our support, and our enemies will never doubt our determination, were his friends supposed to be the Saudis? Or the Islamic world which should surely include Iran and Syria and Yemen and the warring militias of Libya? As for enemies, was he talking about Isis? Or Russia? Or Syria? Or Iran, whose newly elected president surely wants peace with America? Or was he as part of the Muslim world will conclude with good reason declaring his friendship with the Sunni Muslims of the world and his enmity towards the Shia Muslims?
For that, ultimately, was what the Riyadh speech-fest was all about. Take this little quotation: We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes not inflexible ideology. We will be guided by the lessons of experience, not the confines of rigid thinking. And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms not sudden intervention. Now lets parse this little horror. Decisions based on real-world outcomes means brutal pragmatism. Gradual reforms indicates that the US will do nothing for human rights and take no steps to prevent crimes against humanity unless they are committed by Iran, Syria, Iraqis, the Lebanese Shia Hezbollah or Yemeni Shia Houthis.
It was all about partnership, we were supposed to believe. It was about a coalition. You bet it would be. For America is not going to bleed as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the Arabs who must bleed as they fight each other, encouraged by the biggest arms supplier of them all.
It was all about partnership, we were supposed to believe. It was about a coalition. You bet it would be. For America is not going to bleed as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is the Arabs who must bleed as they fight each other, encouraged by the biggest arms supplier of them all. Thus Trump lectured them on their need to share their part of the burden. The Arabs will be united and strong as the forces of good. If the battle is between decent people of all religions and barbaric criminals between good and evil as Trump inferred, it was significant, was it not, that this battle was to start in the sacred land of Sunni Saudi Arabia?
By the time Trump reached the bit in which he threatened the bad guys if you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be condemned he sounded like a speech-writer for Isis. Apparently and unsurprisingly, perhaps Trumps actual speech was partly the work of the very man who wrote out his much ridiculed (and failed) legal attempt to ban Muslims of seven nations from the United States. All in all, quite a reset. Trump talked of peace but was preparing the Arabs for a Sunni-Shia war. The fawning leaders of the Muslim world, needless to say, clapped away when the mad president of America had finished speaking. But did they understand what his words really portended?
The Article First Appeared In The Independent
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