U.S. Middle East Policy: The Failure of Picking the Lesser of Two Evils

Posted in Op-ed on February 24, 2011 – 8:03 pm

A U.S. intelligence official told me a few years ago on a flight to Houston that in the Middle East, we pick the lesser of two evils and side with it. He used the example of America’s attempts to establish a relationship with Iraqi Shiite leader al-Sadr, who spent the past four years exiled in Iran and recently returned to a position of power and influence in the new Iraqi government.

The U.S. backed the Shah of Iran until President Jimmy Carter helped facilitate his departure — which led to the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini coming to power.

The U.S. supported Saddam Hussein against Iran in the Iran-Iraqi War of 1980–1988 and then overthrew him in Operation Iraqi Freedom, which led to his public hanging.

The U.S. turned its head on Yasser Arafat’s exploits and corruption, the Palestinian terrorist who was the most frequent visitor to the Clinton White House, and now we are working with his Fatah protégé, Mahmoud Abbas.

President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a Palestinian election despite Ariel Sharon’s warning. Hamas gained 74 out of 132 seats in the Palestinian parliament, and Bush turned around and supported Abbas’ Fatah party with money and weapons to counter Hamas, the democratically elected leader of the new Palestinian government.

President Bush and Secretary Rice persuaded Pakistani President Musharraf to rule jointly with Benazir Bhutto, who returned to Pakistan and was assassinated shortly thereafter.

President Bush and the Obama Administration continue to work with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a corrupt leader who heads the second most corrupt nation in the world. Karsai has admitted that he has received sacks full of money from Iran. His brother is considered one of the most corrupt businessmen in the country.

Additionally, for more than 30 years the United States has supported President Hosni Mubarak’s government, and the close ties between our two militaries stem from decades of strong U.S. support that began with the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace agreement. It has grown to $1.3 billion in assistance that includes weapons sales, training and joint missions.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a new government in Egypt and used diplomatic channels to attempt to coerce Mubarak into resigning.

Obama began his remarks on Thursday, February 3, at the National Prayer Breakfast: “We pray that the violence in Egypt will end and the rights and aspirations of the Egyptian people will be realized.”

Is the Muslim Brotherhood going to be the choice of the Egyptians? If so, they will implement Sharia Law and forever impact the region.

“I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I
consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” ~ George Washington