President Trump said Sunday the United States was prepared to respond to the devastating attacks on two oil installations in Saudi Arabia that cut the state oil company’s production output by half, while Iran rejected U.S. accusations that it was responsible. Trump did not name Iran, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had on Saturday, nor specify whether he was contemplating a military response.
Bombing the shit out of ISIS has become Trump’s signature move. But here’s the problem: Trump may want to sound tough and strong yet his strategy — if you can even call a response based on bombs, bombs, and more bombs a “strategy” — only makes the United States a much bigger ISIS target and puts many more innocent American lives at risk.
Jared Kushner began his effort to broker peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians by accepting Israel's vision of itself as an innocent victim. That’s because Kushner started his 15-hour trip to the Middle East on Wednesday by mourning with the family of an Israeli police officer, Hadas Malka. Malka’s killing, as part of a coordinated attack by three Palestinian assailants on officers at the Damascus Gate in the Old City, was described by Israeli officials as a terrorist attack. The use of that language clashes with U.S. law, which clearly defines terrorism as “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents.”
“We have recently seen an attack on Iran, and the Iranian government, the mullahs, believe that Sunni forces have attacked them. This may signal a ratcheting up of certain commitments by the United States of America. As far as I’m concerned, I just want to make this point and see what you think, isn’t it a good thing for us to have the United States finally backing up Sunnis who will attack Hezbollah and the Shiite threat to us? Isn’t that a good thing? And if so, maybe this is a Trump — maybe it’s a Trump strategy of actually supporting one group against another, considering that you have two terrorist organizations.”
President Trump thrust himself into a bitter Persian Gulf dispute on Tuesday, claiming credit for Saudi Arabia’s move to isolate its smaller neighbor, Qatar, which is a major American military partner. “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” Mr. Trump said in a morning tweet. “Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!”
Civilian casualties in coalition operations against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria are being significantly under reported, monitoring groups say, with non-US partners refusing to release data about military operations in which their forces may have killed non-combatants. Since the anti-IS international coalition was formed in August 2014, there have been at least 21,820 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, according to monitoring group Airwars.