President Trump Hits the Reset Button on the Middle East
Monday had been a historic day. On the eve of the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem from the Jordanians, President Trump made a historic visit, the first of any American president in US history, to the Western Wall. The timing of this could not have been better. Fifty years ago on this very eve, for the first time in over 2,000 years, we saw the return of my people, the Jewish people, to our one most sacred site, the Western Wall, or the Kotel, and the re-establishment of a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. And for the first time since the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, all of the major Abrahamic faiths have had free and open access to their houses of worship within this sacred city.
In contrast to this, President Obama, who as his Administration was in its waning days, had refused to veto a United Nations resolution calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.”
If one picture is worth a thousand words, President Trump’s visit Monday to the Kotel, the most sacred place for Jews symbolically, refutes his predecessor’s cavalier dismissal of the moral, historic and religious claim of our people to this Holy site.
For many other reasons, the timing of this visit could not have been better. It is as though President Trump has put his finger on the proverbial reset button and is reestablishing America’s traditional alliances and friendships that were substantially damaged during the Obama Administration.
These include alliances with the Gulf Arab states, Israel and Egypt. The cement that glues together the Sunni Arab countries with the State of Israel is the very real, lethal threat of a nuclear Iran, which has been immensely enriched, emboldened and empowered because of President Obama’s appeasement policies towards the Shiite theocratic regime.
It was also a historic day because President Trump, in impromptu remarks with Prime Minister Netanyahu, vowed that “Iran will never have nuclear weapons, that I can tell you.”
Again, the timing of this, on the immediate tail of the sham elections in Iran, could not have been better. President Rouhani, the so-called moderate was re-elected on Friday. President Rouhani has proven to be nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He had spoken eloquently at the United Nations to seduce the world into the fallacious belief that he was a moderate and a peacemaker, when all he wanted was sanctions relief in order to use this money to further buttress control of the Iranian regime.
One cannot help but contrast President Trump’s words to what happened in the very beginning of the Obama Administration — the 2009 uprising against the Iranian theocratic regime. We remember that millions of people were on the street, holding up signs saying, “Obama where are you?”
These beautiful, freedom-loving dissidents were being literally whipped, beaten and trampled on by the stallions of the regime, their skulls were being crushed, and many were carted off to the notorious Evin prison never to be seen or heard from again.
President Obama’s calloused ignoring of the voices of the freedom-loving dissidents, we now understand in retrospect, was part of a way of setting the stage for cozying up to the mullahs for a negotiation, or rather, a capitulation of historic proportions to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
An immensely enriched Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) continues to sough unrest throughout Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. And Iran has provided Hezbollah and the IRGC with no less than 100,000 missiles. They are now just slightly north of Israel’s Golan Heights where they can easily reach Tel-Aviv. Tehran views itself as the rightful heir to the thrown of Islam and seeks to dominate the region, if not, eventually the world and establish a Shiite caliphate.
The nuclear deal with Iran is enabling the Iranians to replace their old centrifuges with more modern ones, reducing what should take about six months to approximately three weeks.
And it has got be said that President Trump in his speech on Sunday before 50 Arab Islamic leaders in Saudi Arabia was forthright, when he placed the responsibility for the violence and bloodshed of radical Islam squarely on the shoulders of the Arab Islamic world, where it belongs. He stated: “The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children.” And added, “Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory — piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be condemned.”
President Trump, in his first overseas trip, has telegraphed to the world that a new sheriff is in town, and that the United States, could once again, be relied upon by our friends as it is feared by our enemies.
Sarah N. Stern is the Founder and President of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, an unabashedly pro-American and pro-Israeli think tank and policy institute in Washington, DC