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Quagmire continues

Posted

To the Editor: 

As the world faces a new Cold War, Americans need to critically examine President Biden’s foreign policy. One place to start is the Middle East.

In 2015, the U.S., U.K., France, Russia and China signed a treaty with Iran. Tehran agreed to not develop nuclear weapons for the next decade and sanctions were lifted. Despite compliance, Trump withdrew and imposed sanctions on Iran. Why didn’t Biden in 2021 reverse Trump’s decision by restoring the pre-2018 status quo and removing sanctions? The media now reports this treaty is “dead.” In the meantime, Iran is developing its nuclear program, while Biden said we would never permit it to develop a nuclear weapon.

Saudi Arabia has a number of things in common with Iran. Both countries are brutal, oil-rich theocracies, oppress women and jail or kill their dissidents. A major difference is that the Saudi Kingdom is a longtime ally of the U.S. and each year purchases from us billions of dollars of advanced weapons, while Iran is an enemy against whom we impose sanctions. Since 2014, Washington has militarily supported the Saudi war in Yemen, with disastrous humanitarian consequences, beyond even what Russia has inflicted on Ukraine.

Finally, there is American policy toward Israel. We must always give unconditional support to the state of Israel. This, however, is not the same as our policy of also giving unconditional support to its governments.

They have carried out destructive policies, such as rejecting a two-state solution, increasing settlements in the West Bank that make this solution impossible, and committing numerous human rights abuses against Palestinians in the occupied territories. The latter cannot be justified, played down or ignored because Hamas and Iran commit terrorist acts against Israel.

The Biden administration’s policies in the Middle East are disturbing, counterproductive and undermine our professed democratic values.

Howard Elterman

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