When Trump was in Saudi Arabia, he clearly took sides in the ancient conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims. While heaping praise on the Sunni Gulf States that hosted his visit, he singled out the Shiite government in Iran as the country in the region that was supporting terrorism.
But no discussion of stamping out this threat [terrorism] would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran. From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.
Now, two weeks later, Iran is the victim of a terror attack. I doubt we’ll see the president tweeting about the horrors of this one.
Assailants with assault rifles, grenades and women’s disguises stunned Iran on Wednesday with audacious attacks on the Parliament building and tomb of its revolutionary founder, leaving at least 12 people dead and 42 wounded in the worst terrorist strike against the Islamic republic in years. The attackers were killed.
While the Sunni terrorist group ISIS has taken credit for the attack, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is blaming Saudi Arabia (which has a history of financing terrorism) and, by extension, the United States.
All of this comes on the heels of what many are describing as the most serious dispute to hit the region in decades. On Monday, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates suspended economic and diplomatic relations with Qatar after it was claimed that Qatar’s Sheikh Tamim gave a speech at a military graduation ceremony in which he criticized the growing hostility towards Iran, said Trump would not stay in office for very long, and defended Hamas and Hezbollah.
Today, CNN is reporting that U.S. investigators suspect that Russian hackers planted that story as fake news. If so, it is Putin’s way of destabilizing the situation by playing off of the same tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Qatar has, publicly at least, tried to avoid taking sides in the simmering regional spat between Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Shia-led Iran, but the dispute boiled over when the kingdom on Monday accused the Qatari government of backing “Iranian-backed terrorist groups.”
Completely ignoring the fact that Qatar hosts the largest U.S. military base in the region, Trump once again weighed in to take sides as well as claim credit for this development.
As tensions rise, this is a powder keg situation in which our Commander-in-Chief is completely clueless and being played by all sides. Unfortunately, I suspect that the Republican hawks who have long been gunning for the United States to weigh in and take sides with the Sunnis in this battle will be no check on his inclinations.