Archive for the ‘Iran’ category

Trump Breaks the Diplomatic Mold

May 23, 2017

Trump Breaks the Diplomatic Mold, Commentary Magazine. May 22, 2017

President Donald Trump walks with Saudi King Salman at the Arab Islamic American Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Upon arrival, Trump received a royal welcome. Saudi King Salman braved the 101-degree heat of the tarmac to greet the presidential plane personally. A brass band serenaded the two world leaders as cannons issued celebratory volleys and seven Saudi jets streamed trails of red, white, and blue overhead. The president and the king joined one another in the presidential limo and rode off together to an extravagant ceremony at the Saudi Court, where attention was even lavished upon the president’s aides.

The intentional contrast this reception struck with Barack Obama’s 2014 trip to the Saudi Kingdom was stark. Upon Obama’s arrival, King Salman dispatched only his distant nephew, the provincial governor of Riyadh, to meet the leader of the free world. The Obama White House did its best to save face, but the snub was a clear indication that tensions surrounding Iran nuclear deal, the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, and Obama’s explicit antipathy toward the Saudi Kingdom as a nation unworthy of an alliance with America.

As COMMENTARY’s Evelyn C. Gordon discussed, in exchange for Israeli technology and intelligence, a relaxation of the Gaza blockade, and the cessation of settlement construction in “some areas,” this Sunni alliance would “establish direct telecommunication links with Israel, let Israeli aircraft overfly their countries, lift certain trade restrictions and perhaps grant visas to Israeli athletes and businessmen.” And all of this would occur with existing Palestinian realities utterly unchanged. Even if no further progress toward peace in the region is secured, that bell cannot be un-rung.

A truly successful presidency in the Middle East may begin first with the abandonment of that burdensome, dog-eared diplomatic playbook.

************************

There is perhaps nothing a global class of calcified diplomatic professionals appreciates more than subtlety and nuance. Donald Trump’s tour of the world’s three major religious capitals is about as unsubtle and unnuanced as you can get. To many seasoned diplomats, this administration’s naïve effort to forge peace in this fashion is downright dangerous—possibly more than the administration even knows. Maybe. Or maybe the president and his team are dispensing with ossified convention in a field that could desperately use some fresh thinking. With the first leg of Trump’s world theological tour complete, it is not impossible that something new is taking shape.

In Saudi Arabia this weekend, Donald Trump danced with swords, touched an ominous glowing orb, and delivered a narrowly tailored and reasonably well-received speech on radical Islamic terrorism in the heart of the Islamic world. Among many other regional power brokers, the president also met with the leaders of Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain. What Trump did in the Saudi Kingdom is, however, less interesting than how the Saudis responded to him.

Upon arrival, Trump received a royal welcome. Saudi King Salman braved the 101-degree heat of the tarmac to greet the presidential plane personally. A brass band serenaded the two world leaders as cannons issued celebratory volleys and seven Saudi jets streamed trails of red, white, and blue overhead. The president and the king joined one another in the presidential limo and rode off together to an extravagant ceremony at the Saudi Court, where attention was even lavished upon the president’s aides.

The intentional contrast this reception struck with Barack Obama’s 2014 trip to the Saudi Kingdom was stark. Upon Obama’s arrival, King Salman dispatched only his distant nephew, the provincial governor of Riyadh, to meet the leader of the free world. The Obama White House did its best to save face, but the snub was a clear indication that tensions surrounding Iran nuclear deal, the ongoing bloodshed in Syria, and Obama’s explicit antipathy toward the Saudi Kingdom as a nation unworthy of an alliance with America.

From Saudi Arabia, Trump traveled directly to Israel—itself a shift in convention—where he was also greeted warmly. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife met the president and first lady at Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. Using his remarks alongside Trump to issue a veiled rebuke of Obama, Netanyahu noted: “We appreciate the reassertion of American leadership in the Middle East.”

President Obama entered office with the objective of creating a new power balance in the region that would allow the United States to withdraw confidently. The former president’s stated belief that America’s alliance toward Israel “erodes our credibility with the Arab states” in combination with his mistrust toward Sunni Arab states like Saudi Arabia and Egypt left him with few ways of achieving that goal. There’s a cosmic irony in the fact that Obama’s navel-gazing paved the way for a radically new and promising dynamic to emerge in the Middle East. Conceptually, the strategy Trump is pursuing in the Middle East is wildly divergent from his predecessors. He is effectively abandoning the idea that there can be no resolution of the Arab World’s hostility toward Israel without first creating a Palestinian state.

As recently as February, administration sources began providing details to the press about a proposed pan-Sunni military alliance designed to both counter Islamist extremism and a resurgent Iran. That alliance would include states with unfrozen relations with Israel, like Egypt and Jordan, and nations like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which do not recognize the Jewish state. According to a recent bombshell report, however, the prospect of a radical relaxation in tensions between Israel and the Arab World is real.

As COMMENTARY’s Evelyn C. Gordon discussed, in exchange for Israeli technology and intelligence, a relaxation of the Gaza blockade, and the cessation of settlement construction in “some areas,” this Sunni alliance would “establish direct telecommunication links with Israel, let Israeli aircraft overfly their countries, lift certain trade restrictions and perhaps grant visas to Israeli athletes and businessmen.” And all of this would occur with existing Palestinian realities utterly unchanged. Even if no further progress toward peace in the region is secured, that bell cannot be un-rung.

Donald Trump isn’t the first American president to benefit from warm feelings solely because he isn’t the last guy to have occupied the Oval Office. When it comes to the Middle East, crises and chaos have a habit of scuttling even the best-laid plans. Iranian power projection into places like Iraq, Yemen, and Syria has, however, created new avenues of cooperation between adversarial powers with a common enemy in Tehran. If Trump can translate this new reality into tangible accomplishment (a big “if”), he will have the makings of a potent argument for his presidency and a second term.

On foreign affairs, in particular, President Donald Trump has invited the wrath of the critics. He is “the world’s most undiplomatic” diplomat who has embraced illiberal and strategically inept “lame-stream diplomacy.” Indeed, his “rejection of traditional diplomacy for his own distinctive, brusque style has incurred costs without any visible offsetting benefits.” In his article “Is This the End of the Free World,” Abe Greenwald demonstrated that Trump has an appalling and lamentably familiar habit of alienating America’s natural allies. It’s a nasty feature of a distorted worldview, and it may result in the continued loss of allied faith in American vision and authority. For now, however, not only is the Middle East obviously thrilled for the Obama era to be over but that has provided Donald Trump with the opportunity for a real diplomatic triumph. A truly successful presidency in the Middle East may begin first with the abandonment of that burdensome, dog-eared diplomatic playbook.

Hizballah’s elite force sustains heavy casualties from US air strike

May 19, 2017

Hizballah’s elite force sustains heavy casualties from US air strike, DEBKAfile, May 19, 2017

(Please see also, The Devil’s Triangle: At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah. — DM)

US jets and assault helicopters took off from the Ayn al-Asad air base in western Iraqi for an operation to prevent the convoy from reaching the strategic Al-Tanf crossing at the intersection of the Syrian, Iraq and Jordanian borders.

***********************

Most of the damage inflicted by the US air strike Thursday in South Syria was sustained by Hizballah’s elite unit, the Radwan Force, DEBKAfile’s military sources disclose. This was the first aerial attack the United States has conducted on a combined Syrian-Iranian-Hizballah convoy in the seven-year Syrian war. Our sources add that the US jets and assault helicopters took off from the Ayn al-Asad air base in western Iraqi for an operation to prevent the convoy from reaching the strategic Al-Tanf crossing at the intersection of the Syrian, Iraq and Jordanian borders. They hit at least three of Hizballah’s armored vehicles and several trucks, which caught fire. The Americans and Hizballah have both imposed a blackout on the details of the incident and the scale of casualties.

DEBKAfile ran a number of stories this week disclosing the activities of US, British and Jordanian special operations forces in southern Syria for taking over key segments of the Syrian-Iraqi border, including the Al-Tanf crossing. US Secretary of Defense James Mattis commented this week that Washington had not change its policy of non-intervention in the Syria war, adding, “But we will defend our troops.”

The Devil’s Triangle: At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah

May 19, 2017

The Devil’s Triangle: At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah, Israel National News, Mark Langfan, May 19, 2017

This weekend President Trump must make the stakes clear to the Sunnis gathered in Saudi Arabia to meet him.  President Trump must bring truth to Arab and Islamic fantasies.  He must tell them Israel, and the ‘West Bank’ are not the issue; the only issue is fighting Iran and controlling the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle.  The Arabs and the Sunnis themselves must contribute blood and treasure to securing this strategic triangle and killing the Iran monster before it can metastasize into an unstoppable one.

The US and the US coalition forces have to move, and move fast to control the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle so as to avoid an Iran that will cause the death and destruction of millions of people for many, many decades into the future.

*************************

You may have carefully read all the newspapers about the Middle East, but you will likely have never heard about the three Syria cities of At Tanf, Abu Kamal, or Ar Rusafah.  But the soon-to-be-determined military control of the geographic area bounded by these 3 Syrian cities in Syria’s south east corner will determine the fate of the entire world. 

To see the area on a US government map so that you fully understand this article, click here.

If Iran and its proxies control these three Syrian cities, Iran will have achieved its strategic goal of creating a topologic unbroken ground corridor from Iran through Iraq, through Syria, through Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea.  If Iran fails to secure this geographic Syrian triangle, Iran’s tens of billions of dollars spent to mass-murder Syrian Sunnis to create the foundation of its neo-Safavidic Empire will collapse under its own weight, and Iran’s Khomeneist Shiite Regime will likely implode.

Therefore, next month’s military victors in the battle for this strategic triangle will dictate decades of future conflict, or future peace in the Middle East and the world.

What’s the first order of battle?  If the Islamic State leaders are truly Sunnis, American and US Coalition forces should convince the Islamic State to cede and surrender Raqqah immediately, so US coalition forces can focus on and secure the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah triangle immediately.  Otherwise, the US coalition will have to divert precious and scarce resources to conquering Raqqah, while Iran is redeploying its forces to steal the Triangle.

The question is simple.  Does the Islamic State want the Iranian Shiites to win the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle, to win Syria, and become the unstoppable Shiite hegemon?  Or does the Sunni Islamic State want the Shiite Iran to lose?  The catastrophic scenario would be for the US coalition forces to win the Raqqah battle against the Islamic State, only to lose the Syrian war to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The second order of battle?  Trump’s minions must convince the Russians that it is in Russia’s ultimate strategic national interest to allow the US coalition to quickly and decisively win the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle.  The US must convince Russia that an Iran with a ground corridor through Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean is as catastrophic to Russian vital national security interests in 2017 as Hitler’s acquisition of Czechoslovakia and Poland was to the Soviet Union in 1939.  Then, Stalin partnered with Hitler in building Hitler the highway for his Wehrmacht to invade the Soviet Union.

Once Iran militarily digests this Iraq-Syrian land corridor, Iran won’t need Russia anymore.  Putin will have created a unstoppable Islamic Terror Superpower.  Putin should remember Stalin’s exuberant celebration of occupying half of Poland was a short-lived delusion that soon came crashing down on his head when he had to face the ugly reality of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union that came close to occupying Moscow itself.

Iraq is a modern-day Czechoslovakia, and Syria is a modern-day Poland.  It is the Iranian war that will lay the groundwork for the next Iranian-Safavidic violent expansion throughout the Middle East.

The third order of battle?  This weekend President Trump must make the stakes clear to the Sunnis gathered in Saudi Arabia to meet him.  President Trump must bring truth to Arab and Islamic fantasies.  He must tell them Israel, and the ‘West Bank’ are not the issue; the only issue is fighting Iran and controlling the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle.  The Arabs and the Sunnis themselves must contribute blood and treasure to securing this strategic triangle and killing the Iran monster before it can metastasize into an unstoppable one.

The US and the US coalition forces have to move, and move fast to control the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle so as to avoid an Iran that will cause the death and destruction of millions of people for many, many decades into the future.

Misogyny Meet Irony: Saudi Arabia Elected To United Nation’s Women’s Rights Commission

April 24, 2017

Misogyny Meet Irony: Saudi Arabia Elected To United Nation’s Women’s Rights Commission, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, April 24, 2017

(Please see also, United Nations Elects Saudi Arabia to Women’s Rights Commission. — DM)

If you like your misogyny with a heavy serving of irony, you could do no better than the United Nations this week after Saudi Arabia was elected to a  2018-2022 term on the Commission on the Status of Women, the U.N. agency that, according to its website, is “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”  As with Iran being put on the Commission, the irony would be humorous if there were not millions of victims over decades of abuse by these countries.  Previously, Saudi Arabia taking over the top spot on the Human Rights Commission was viewed as unbelievable, but the entry on the Commission on the Status of Women sets a level of irony that may be unsurpassable.

Notably, various groups demanded to know what countries voted for the inclusion.  Only 7 of 54 ECOSOC states opposed the inclusion and many want the EU countries to reveal their votes. It is absurd that such votes should be taken on secret ballots.

Now that Saudi Arabia is a protector of women’s rights, it may want to immediately call for an investigation of the country responsible for:

Barring women from being able to travel without the permission of men;

Flogging women for driving;

Jailing a man for protesting the treatment of women;

Arresting women for ripped jeans or “Western haircuts“;

Stoning a woman to death (while just giving her male love flogging) for sex outside of marriage;

Sentencing human right activists to death;

Persecuting lawyers who help rape victims; 

Flogging rape victims;

Permitting child bride arranged marriages;

Closing Women’z health clubs as UnIslamic;

Arresting women without head coverings;

Arresting even foreign women who sit next to unrelated men in public places;

Flogging women over use of bad language; 

Enforcing the right to beat wives; and

Barring women from a Women’s Rights Conference.

That is only a partial list for the new Saudi Commissioner and it does not even require going outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Iran: Trump Administration Urged to Deny Iran’s Request for Uranium

April 23, 2017

Iran: Trump Administration Urged to Deny Iran’s Request for Uranium, Iran Focus, April 22, 2017

London, 22 Apr – The Islamic Republic of Iran has had a longstanding request to import 950 tons of natural uranium. Tehran has claimed it will sign a petition next week for the uranium during a nuclear deal meeting in Vienna.

The request was approved by the Obama administration just before the former President left office, but in the end the United Kingdom blocked it. Despite this, Iran wants to make the request again.

This is another example of the Iranian regime testing the new President of the United States. Since he came into office, the Iranian regime has tested Trump’s resolve, no doubt seeing if his actions speak as loud as his words.

During the week, President Trump declared that the Iran nuclear deal, which he maintains is a terrible deal, is going to be looked at very closely and action will be taken very soon.

Sources are unsure about whether the Trump administration will overturn Obama’s approval of the request.

A senior White House official has said that they hope Trump will prevent Iran from making a purchase of natural uranium and expressed hope that leverage will be used. So far, however, the White House had refused to comment on its plans.

The directorate of the White House’s weapons of mass destruction said: “We do not comment on the deliberations of the Joint Commission, as has been agreed to by all participating parties.”

Members of Congress are urging Trump to deny the request.

Marco Rubio, a Florida senator, would also like to see the request denied by the Trump administration. He told The Weekly Standard: “The Iranian regime remains an illegitimate nuclear actor, with international inspectors still unable to conclusively verify the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in Iran. Vetoing Iran’s proposal to buy 950 tons of uranium yellowcake from Kazakhstan should be a no-brainer. Iran does not need this nuclear material, which far exceeds its needs and could someday be further enriched for the purposes of nuclear weapons.”

Earlier in the week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raised concerns about Iran and its provocative actions. He said that although Iran has technically been adhering to the terms of the nuclear deal, there were still some grave areas of concern. Some of the actions he mentioned were the Islamic Republic’s “ongoing provocations” and its “export of terror and violence” and he pointed out that the regime is currently “destabilizing more than one country at a time”.

Message in the MOAB

April 14, 2017

Message in the MOAB, Power LineScott Johnson, April 14, 2017

(Just for the halibut, please see also ‘March for Science’ Group Laments Trump’s Bombing Of ‘Marginalized’ ISIS Fighters. — DM)

Last week President Trump authorized a limited missile strike against the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons against civilians. I explicated what I thought was “the message in the missiles” (I stretched to find 10 messages). Yesterday the United States dropped the “mother of all bombs” — the most powerful conventional bomb in the American arsenal — on an Islamic State cave complex in Afghanistan on Thursday. The MOAB is the colloquial name given to the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast.

Here is the New York Times story on the Pentagon’s announcement. It is about as bad as one might expect under the circumstances. The Times seems mystified by the whole thing, taking it as another in an endless series of black marks against President Trump.

Like the military reprisal against the Syrian regime, the MOAB send a message or 10. Herewith, as William F. Buckley used to say, a few observations:

1. The MOAB has been around since 2002, but this is the first time it has been used in combat. It was used to achieve a specific military purpose (see notes 8 & 9 below) with respect to which the Obama administration had previously refrained. When I say “refrained,” I mean “restrained the military.” The era of Obama foreign policy is over.

2. Trump himself expanded on this point at the White House yesterday. He asserted there’s been a “tremendous difference” militarily between the Obama administration and the Trump administration. “If you look at what’s happened over the last eight weeks and compare that to really what’s happened over the last eight years, you’ll see there’s a tremendous difference,” Trump said. “And this was another very successful mission,” he added.

3. Trump elaborated. “Everybody knows exactly what happened. What I do, I authorized my military. We have given them total authorization. That’s what they’re doing.”

4. The MOAB serves as a reminder of other tools in the chest. The MOAB is not our biggest non-nuclear weapon. That is the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP. The National Interest reminds us that our Air Force also fields the GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), which is a massive precision-guided 30,000lb bunker-busting weapon usually dropped from a Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

5. The MOAB therefore sent a message to North Korea. It put an exclamation point on the military reprisal against the Syrian regime. It reiterated that the era of Obama foreign policy is over. Trump himself professed agnosticism on this point, but this was the message to North Korea: “I don’t know if this sends a message. It doesn’t make any difference if it does or not. North Korea is a problem. The problem will be taken care of.” What we see here is akin to the rhetorical device of apophysis or praeteritio.

6. Not coincidentally, NBC News reports: “U.S. may launch strike if North Korea reaches for nuclear trigger.” The use of the MOAB in Afghanistan makes the leaks here highly credible.

7. The MOAB sent a message to Iran. I can’t find a citation to support me here, but it’s obvious. What goes for North Korea goes for Iran.

8. The use of the bomb had a specific military purpose. As former intelligence officer and Army veteran Michael Pregent commented explained on FOX News last night, ISIS fighters in Afghanistan are using the massive tunnel complex that Al Qaeda used starting back in 2001 when U.S. forces were deployed to Afghanistan. “They used the same tunnel complex for bin Laden to escape to Pakistan,” Pregent said. “The Haqqani network, a terrorist organization out of Pakistan, uses it to bring in lethal aid. So you have these organizations like Al Qaeda, the Haqqani group, the Taliban and now ISIS using a tunnel complex to kill Americans in the past.” Thomas Spoehr has more to the same effect here.

9. At NRO, David French highlights what he calls “an important and painful point about our almost 16-year long war [in Afghanistan].” This is the point: “Excessive American caution has cost American lives and American limbs, and it has left families and friends of the victims with deep psychological wounds. Those wounds would be grievous enough in the best circumstances, but they’re compounded by the fact that many of the decisions not to shoot, not to use artillery, or not to drop bombs were based on a combination of rules of engagement and military misjudgments that were transparently foolish at the time.” (Please do read the whole thing.)

10. Don’t let me forget to mention that the Obama era in American foreign policy is over.

Tehran’s treacherous reconciliation offer

April 13, 2017

Tehran’s treacherous reconciliation offer, Washington Times, Mohammed Alsulami, April 12, 2017

Illustration on Iranian treachery by Linas Garsys/The Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Iran has recently been reaching out to its Arab neighbors to propose a fraternal reconciliation.

Some Arab nations have been criticized for their less-than-enthusiastic response to these overtures. But that criticism is naive. Iran’s history and political structure make clear that these efforts are nothing more than a poor attempt at public relations spin and cannot be trusted. The recently Arab Summit in Jordan passed 15 resolutions indicting Iran’s behavior in the region — its backing of terror groups, its meddling in the internal affairs of neighboring nations, its incitement of Sunni-Shiite conflict, its intervention in the Syrian civil war and several other of its hostile policies.

If Iran were actually trying to turn a page with its Arab neighbors — which have endured decades of Iran-sponsored interference and terrorism within their borders — Iran should show some evidence it has truly changed.

In fact, nothing has changed.

What signals have the Iranian regime given to indicate a serious wish to reconcile with the Arab nations of the region? What changes has it made to its policies and actions?

The answer: none. Tehran is continuing its business-as-usual sponsorship and export of terror in the region, backing Hezbollah in Syria, the Houthis in Yemen and other militant groups. More to the point, if this reconciliation attempt is to believed, who in Tehran should Arab nations respond to? Should they deal with the official Iranian government or the real power base — Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IGRC)?

Has Iran made any structural changes to its ruling class that would persuade Arab neighbors that things are really different in Tehran? Absolutely not. The clerics remain in charge in Iran and have the final say.

All of the Iranian government’s diplomatic efforts and political decisions are controlled by the theocratic leadership, the IRGC and its extremist sectarian affiliates. If that remains the case, any reconciliation offer is bogus.

This was demonstrated during the negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif insisted on moving the negotiation team during the talks to Tehran to enable Ayatollah Khamenei and the IRGC to monitor the discussions and to approve or reject every detail of the agreement until it met with the real leaders’ approval. This is proof that the Iranian government cannot act independently or make any binding commitments without the approval of the clerical and military leadership.

But might Ayatollah Khamenei himself seek reconciliation with Iran’s Arab neighbors? Isn’t peace good for everybody?

This assumption might be valid if it ignored the fact that Iran’s jurist leadership has prioritized “exporting the revolution” as a core tenet of the Islamic republic’s constitution. The IRGC masterminds and implements the regime’s aggressive interventionist policies and is inextricably intertwined with the theocratic leadership. The IRGC is synonymous with the country’s national security, which is the sole prerogative of Supreme Leader Khamenei.

If the Iranian regime were serious about wishing to hold negotiations with Arab nations, these would be led by the country’s supreme leader, not by the administration under his control. The government and the diplomatic corps have no independent power and are his tools.

Tehran’s latest efforts to initiate unilateral negotiations with its neighbors via its powerless administration are a fruitless exercise. The empty offer by Iranian leadership is to buy more time to advance its regional agenda of destabilization and terror and to evaluate other nations’ stances toward Iran, particularly that of the new U.S. presidential administration.

Without radically changing its policies, particularly its funding and deployment of extremist sectarian militias in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and its interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the Iranian regime’s reconciliation rhetoric and talk of negotiations should be disregarded.

Any real negotiation requires mutual confidence and respect, which Tehran is unwilling to grant.

The international community should understand that Arab nations’ sour history with the Iranian regime’s duplicitousness and its brutal regional military expansionism gives them every right to be skeptical about this recent offer of reconciliation. The primary objective behind Tehran’s new diplomatic strategy is to convince the international community and Western powers that Tehran is a normal, reasonable and pragmatic government.

No one should fall for this ploy. Arabs in the United States and around the world will not.

• Mohammed Alsulami is a researcher at Umm Al-Qura University in Saudi Arabia, specializing in Iranian studies.