Did Obama fail his moral as well as his na­tional se­cu­rity re­spon­si­bil­i­ties?

The Jerusalem Post - - COMMENT & FEATURES - • By SHUKRIYA KURDISTANI (Reuters)

When in June 2009 Iran’s Green Move­ment took to the streets, with mil­lions march­ing, thou­sands be­ing killed, wounded, and ar­rested, then-US pres­i­dent Barack Obama was silent for days be­fore con­demn­ing the vi­o­lence. When Ira­nian pro­test­ers cried out and asked, “Are you with us, or are you with them?,” he said it was “up to Ira­ni­ans to make de­ci­sions about who Iran’s lead­ers will be,” adding that “we re­spect Ira­nian sovereignty and want to avoid the United States be­ing the is­sue in­side of Iran.”

Amer­i­can troops were with­drawn from Iraq by Obama’s or­der in 2011 – when al-Qaida was not yet de­feated – leav­ing Iraq to Nouri al-Ma­liki and Iran, and giv­ing Is­lamic State (ISIS) the op­por­tu­nity to grow in the re­gion and oc­cupy more than 60% of Iraq and Syria.

Re­turn­ing to Iran, why was achiev­ing a nu­clear agree­ment with the Is­lamic Repub­lic more im­por­tant to Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion than con­fronting Iran as the sup­porter of ter­ror­ist groups in the Mid­dle East?

When Obama came to power, most of the Ira­nian regime were pleased, call­ing him “son of Hus­sein.” Obama tried to be the first pres­i­dent to solve Amer­ica and Iran’s prob­lem since the 1979 Is­lamic Rev­o­lu­tion. He ig­nored re­cently pub­lished CIA doc­u­ments about the Tal­iban’s re­la­tion­ship with Iran and how Iran helped al-Qaida fight­ers in Hezbol­lah train­ing camps, shel­tered Osama bin Laden’s fam­ily and fight­ers in Iran and sub­se­quently sent them to at­tack US troops. The CIA re­port in­cluded doc­u­ments hand-writ­ten by bin Laden, found in bin Laden’s hide­out, show­ing the di­rect link be­tween Iran and al-Qaida. The doc­u­ments link Iran to al-Qaida train­ing fa­cil­i­ties run by Hezbol­lah in Le­banon, and their con­nec­tion to Iran.

All th­ese doc­u­ments were in the hands of Obama and his ad­min­is­tra­tion be­fore they reached an agree­ment with Iran on nu­clear weapons.

As the doc­u­ments show, ISIS, too, was re­lated to Iran, part of the Ira­nian regime’s plan to di­vert the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity’s at­ten­tion while at the same time keep­ing Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad in power – another good rea­son to mo­bi­lize the Shi’ite mili­tias in Iraq and Syria, with the as­sis­tance of Iran’s Quds Force.

The most suc­cess­ful way to fight ter­ror­ist groups is via the Ot­toman Em­pire’s method, which was used against Wah­habi ter­ror­ist groups. The em­pire at­tacked the sources of the groups and de­mol­ished their bases. The US war on ter­ror­ism has failed be­cause it has been at­tack­ing the branches, not the roots. It is due to this moral and se­cu­rity fail­ure that we will lose the war in Iraq de­spite win­ning the bat­tle, un­less Iran is con­fronted.

The author is a PhD stu­dent in pol­i­tics and a Mid­dle East re­searcher.

WHAT WAS he think­ing about the Iran deal?

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