How the Middle East sees Biden and Trump

Despite Trump’s sometimes inappropriate language, many people in the Middle East support him for a variety of reasons. Op-ed..

Rachel Avraham ,

Middle East
Middle East
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Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once stated, “A country is not something that one builds as the pharaohs built the pyramids and leave standing there to defy eternity. A country is something built out of certain shared values.”

One of the most important shared values that is cherished in the West is the promotion of human rights, so that oppressed peoples across the world will have the right to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which are pivotal values promoted in the US Constitution.

A US government that does not seek to advance peace and human rights globally is very much out of touch with the values that America professes to stand for. Considering this fact, despite Trump’s sometimes inappropriate language alongside his problem with the coronavirus pandemic, many people in the Middle East support him because of his accomplishments and attitude.

They support him for he has taken a tough stance against Iran, the number one state sponsor of terrorism globally, and because of the recent peace agreements he has negotiated between Israel and the Arab world. Thus, although he keeps proper relations with Erdogan alongside other dictators, they believe that Trump’s other attributes more than make up for what they perceive as flaws.

In an exclusive interview, former Israeli Communication Minister Ayoob Kara, a Druze citizen of Israel, praised US President Donald Trump for helping Israel to make peace with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan. He added that more countries, such as Oman, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, could likely follow suite, but warned that this whole peace process is at risk of losing momentum if former Vice President Joe Biden is elected to be the US President.

He claimed that what we are witnessing now could have happened as early as 2010 after Israel gave medical treatment to a Bahraini princess, yet it did not happen because the Obama administration of which Biden was a part, was stuck on the Palestinian issue, which he stressed is a non-starter.

And then, Kara noted, “We had four years of Trump that opened up a new Middle East. Now, how can we go back to Pharaoh? Biden is like Pharaoh. We don’t need another Pharaoh. “

In the eyes of Kara, Biden is like Pharaoh because he served under Obama, who propped up the Iranian dictatorship via sanctions relief that was utilized to spread terror across the region, and at the same time abandoned the potential for Israel to make peace with the greater Arab world until the Palestinian Authority would talk to Israel, something they refused to do unless terrorists were released from Israeli prisons. Indeed, under Obama-Biden, terrorists with blood on their hands were released from prison, but Israel got no peace in return as most went back to attacking Israel.

In light of this, Kara claims that there are two teams: “You got one driven by the US that includes Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Morocco, the UAE, etc. and the Sunni states that believe in Trump’s leadership that will lead to vast economic cooperation in the Middle East."

"Biden leads the other camp which supports reviving the Iran deal that will empower the mullah’s regime. This team includes Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, all the fundamentalists that believe that Iran is the solution. Nothing is more important to them than to see shahids go to the next world. Anyone who cares about human rights is not part of this team.”

Indeed, dissidents across the Middle East region and the Islamic world have warned that a Biden presidency will endanger the human rights of people in the Middle East region and the Islamic world at large.

Dalia Alaqida, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy, stated in a recent webinar on the “US elections and the future of minorities in Iran” that she is greatly concerned that Biden’s policies will be a continuation of Obama’s policies: “Biden intends to rebuild a close relationship with Iran and enable it to gain more power by promoting terrorist activists. Soleimani killed thousands of people in the entire region. Iran has played the biggest role in supporting and spreading militias in the Middle Eastern countries, particularly regarding the Muslim Brotherhood, who have reached North Africa.”

She noted that Trump’s opposition to the nuclear deal has been “highly successful in creating stability in the region,” but believes that Biden returning to that deal undermines all of this.

Ahwazi dissident Khalaf Al Khabi concurred: “The region needs a political leadership which overcomes Iran's threats. Thus, supporting President Trump is beneficial for everyone, as previously he proved to be a good businessman as well as a successful politician. President Trump could normalize the relationships among Middle Eastern countries, particularly through the peace deal. Hence, he could give people the needed assurance and confidence. And he showed that relationships are better than wars.” He stated that he hopes that Trump is re-elected, so that the Iranian regime can be destroyed once and for all.

Azerbaijani human rights lawyer Saleh Kamrani agreed, “stressing that the human rights situation in Iran is getting worse day by day, as the economic condition in Iran and the recession has created excessive hunger among people because Iran has been investing big amounts of money in terrorist organizations. Fortunately, Trump’s sanctions were highly successful, although some countries have been helping and supporting Iran.”

Furthermore, he mentioned that “the banking sanctions were extremely helpful in reducing the financial resources provided by Iran to the militias.” Kamrani expressed his support for President Trump and his sanctions on Iran and rejected Biden's administrative policies. He continued: “People are tired and it is the time to open our eyes to know the reality regarding what is going on in Iran, as a majority of around 80% of the people are non-Persians. And during Obama's presidency, these nations could not get any help and support. But during Trump's presidency, we did have successful seminars and at least we had the opportunity to express ourselves.”

Edris Hoshyar Waissi, a member of Kurdistan’s Independence Movement, added that Biden will make Iran a powerful country again and this is harmful for the Kurds: “In contrast, Trump could deliver more than what he has earlier promised and encourage a comprehensive Israel-Arab peace deal for the first time in the history. Through Israel’s and Trump’s cooperation and support, we would be able to have more stability and peace. Hence, we hope that Trump will win the upcoming election. Because, Obama had promised many things, but his main goal was to empower Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and other terrorist organizations. And certainly, Biden will follow the same path.”

Shipan Kumer Basu, a Bangladeshi Hindu dissident who is President of the World Hindu Struggle Committee, also wants Trump to be President, noting that he has taken a stronger stance against human rights abuses in Bangladesh than Biden has: “Recently, the Bangladeshi government ordered the destruction of a Hindu Temple in favor of a commercial building. They also did nothing after a Hindu student was recently abducted from the University of Dhaka. Sexual violence in the country has risen to epidemic proportions amid the pandemic and the Bangladeshi government does nothing about it. When Bangladeshi Hindu dissident Priya Saha met with Trump, Trump listened to her grievances about the persecution of minorities in Bangladesh. In contrast, the Awami League government supports Biden because to date he has not met with any Bangladeshi Hindu dissidents.”

The South Asians for Biden group is trying to garner support from Asian Americans because Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, is the daughter of “an Indian immigrant.” Their website includes zero position statements on the plight of oppressed Hindus in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc. Nor does their website express any solidarity with Indian terror victims, who were attacked by Pakistani backed terror groups. According to Basu, this highlights how superficial they are.

In contrast, Trump’s Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Beigan recently stated that he wants to improve America’s relationship with Bangladesh in an effort to reduce the influence of radical Islam in the country, after India suggested that Trump take such a step. Trump is also known to be a good friend of the Modi government and in the past has reiterated America’s commitment to fight against radical Islamist terror together with India. In response, the most coherent policy statement that Biden has made related to the subject is to criticize Trump for the undiplomatic in which he spoke about air pollution in India and to stress that he has attended Hindu festivals in the US.

Trump is not perfect from a human rights perspective. The Alabama abortion law, which makes it a felony to get an abortion for any reason including rape, was passed under his rule and whose implementation has been delayed due to legal challenges, is considered a massive violation of women’s rights by feminists. Although Trump did try to distance himself from it, his actions did pave the way for its passage. His failure to support the Kurds as they sought to secede from Iraq was disappointing, but he believes that this is an issue without a forseeable end that should not involve America. He was therefore silent as Turkish-backed jihadists took over areas that were once controlled by America’s Kurdish allies in Syria

Nevertheless, on the other end of the coin, he has taken a strong stance against Antifa and Black Lives Matter, who are also anti-Semitic groups. He has stood up to the BDS Movement and taken actions against campus anti-Semitism as well, which very much does advance the human rights of the Jewish American community. And for Israel and all those who care that the Jewish state will be successful in both making peace with the Sunni Arab states and in defeating the Iranian axis, there is no better game in town, for the alternative is to elect another pharaoh, who will continue Obama’s failed Middle East policies that empowered the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran at the expense of Israel and her Sunni Arab allies.

Recent polls show that if these elections were held in Israel, Trump would win in a landslide victory and for a good reason. After all, not many in this part of the world want to see “another pharaoh” in the White House.

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights. She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings in the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”



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