WESTERN CORE INTERESTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Washington Times on June 13, 2017, published a commentary by retired U.S. Navy admiral James A. Lyons on the emerging Middle East doctrine of the Trump administration. Excerpts below:

President Trump’s historic visit last month to Saudi Arabia, where he met with the heads of more than 50 mostly Sunni heads of state, dramatically marked the end of eight years of Barack Obama’s appeasement of Iran. It signaled to all the Muslim leaders that the United States as the “strong horse” is back. There was no doubt in any of the Muslim leaders’ minds that Mr. Trump is a man of action and a leader who will keep his word.

Mr. Trump’s goal of establishing a coalition of nations that share the objective of defeating terrorist groups and providing for a stable and hopeful future made it clear that the assembled nations cannot be indifferent to the presence of evil.

Mr. Trump also made it clear that this coalition of nations must adopt a policy of “sovereign responsibility,” which means that they cannot wait for American power to defeat the enemy for them. They must be directly involved, with our assistance.

[On U.S. and vital Western interests]:

Eliminating ISIS as a functioning entity.

Preventing Iran from achieving a nuclear weapon capability.

Preventing Iranian hegemony throughout the Middle East.

Preventing Iranian hegemony throughout the Middle East.

Removing the Iranian theocracy from power.

Re-establishing and strengthening …relations with…traditional allies.

Ensuring the survival of Israel.

[Establishing a sovereign Kurdistan].

Maintaining freedom of navigation throughout the Persian Gulf and Red Sea, including strategic choke points, e.g., the Suez Canal, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait and the Strait of Hormuz.

The establishment of a Global Terrorism Center for Combating Extremism in Riyadh was a manifestation of the shared objective of defeating terrorist groups and isolating Iran, but its effectiveness will depend on results. The same can be said for the establishment of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States-United Arab Emirates Center to Counter the Online Spread of Hate.

…mosques and imams that preach hate and urge all Muslims to conduct violent jihad should be closed and the imams removed.

Concrete steps must be taken to stop funds from going to radical mosques and front groups that promote terrorism. Targeting funds being sent to various terrorists groups, e.g., ISIS and al Qaeda, must receive immediate priority. The source of these funds, be it from individuals or states like Qatar, must be identified and interdicted.
Qatar has been a particular problem because of its support of the Muslim Brotherhood and its cozy relationship with Iran.

An underlying element of the Trump doctrine that cannot be overstated is recognition that 65 percent of the population of the Middle East is under the age of 30, and that those youths must be provided with opportunities for a satisfying life as an attractive option to the lure of terrorist groups. While this is a worthy objective, Muslims don’t commit to jihad because they don’t have jobs. They commit to jihad because they are devout Muslims, many with university degrees.

Nevertheless, the indispensable principle for achieving the objectives of the Riyadh summit is the isolation of Iran, the prime mover of instability throughout the region. As a start, sanctions on the mullahs’ ballistic missile programs must be imposed. Further, until the unsigned nuclear weapons deal with Iran is formally canceled, real inspections by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency must be conducted on all the sites in their nuclear weapon infrastructure.

James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

Comment: Admiral Lyon’s commentary clearly shows that the foreign policy of the Trump Administration is clear and consistent. Defeating the Islamic State and isolating the Iranian regime is of vital strategic interest to the West. A new policy against Iran would be an important step to ensure the survival of Israel. The importance of the strategic choke points in the Middle East cannot be emphasized enough. The British territory of Diego Garcia (Indian Ocean) is an example of how important offshore islands are. Location and political reliability is everything to ensure the safety of the chokepoints. The United States, as always, with its NATO partners is facing a growing challenge in some of the world’s most dangerous areas. This challenge is now met in a decisive way.

Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory) offers politically unconstrained access near the Middle East and contributes greatly to safeguarding the chokepoints.

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