Trump challenges Arab leaders on Muslim terrorism

On his visit to the Middle East Donald Trump has called for Arab leaders – he was speaking to the leaders of 55 Muslim majority countries in his visit to Saudi Arabia –  to deal with their “Islamist extremism” terrorism problem.

But Saudi (Sunni) King Salman introduced Trump’s speech by condemning Shi’ite Iran.

Reuters: Trump tells Middle East to ‘drive out’ Islamist extremists

U.S. President Donald Trump called on Arab leaders to do their fair share to “drive out” terrorism from their countries on Sunday in a speech that put the burden on the region to combat militant groups.

“America is prepared to stand with you in pursuit of shared interests and common security. But nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them”.

“The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries and frankly for their families and for their children.”

“It’s a choice between two futures and its a choice America cannot make for you. A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists.

“Drive them out! Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth”.

“Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land”.

Trump should get a lot of support in the Western world, and deserves praise for openly confronting extremist terrorism. But he may have dismayed some of the more radical anti-Muslim activists who campaign against the whole Islamic religion and all it’s followers.

Trump’s signature phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” was not included in the speech, according to excerpts released in advance by the White House.

Instead, he used the term “Islamist extremism”, which refers to Islamism as political movement rather than Islam as a religion, a distinction that he had frequently criticized the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama for making.

Trump was speaking to a very different audience to when he was campaigning in the United States. Whether his Muslim audience takes on board and accepts his change of rhetoric is yet to be seen.

Introducing Trump, Saudi King Salman described their mutual foe Iran as the source of terrorism they must confront together.

“Our responsibility before God and our people and the whole world is to stand united to fight the forces of evil and extremism wherever they are … The Iranian regime represents the tip of the spear of global terrorism.”

Iran is a Shi’ite Muslim country. The groups that the United States has been fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere since the September 11, 2001 attacks on Washington and New York are mostly Sunni Muslims, and enemies of Iran.

That may not be such a good sign. Iran is not the only source or supporter or financier of terrorism. It’s highly ironic that the 911 terrorists were mostly from Saudi Arabia.

In general terms I think Trump has spoken some good words, but in the context of promoting peace and anti-extremism and anti-terrorism in Saudi Arabia associated with an attack on Iran and Shi’ite Muslims may divide and ignite rather than draw Muslim leaders together in a push for peace.


Gezza: “Donald Trump’s 30 minute speech to the Sunni Muslim World at the Gulf Cooperation Council. Imo, he has actually pulled off his first big act as a statesman.”
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=-9DgFRuiFuI

Perhaps, but “to the Sunni Muslim World” may point to a potential problem.

44 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  May 22, 2017

    “Donald Trump’s 30 minute speech to the Sunni Muslim World at the Gulf Cooperation Council. Imo, he has actually pulled off his first big act as a statesman.”

    Perhaps, but “to the Sunni Muslim World” may point to a potential problem.

    Yes, well I will be watching reaction & analysis on Al Jazeera. Despite the rhetoric, Trump has just recently rolled over the 5-Nation deal with Iran for another 120 days, & Rouhani has just been re-elected as President. He is a moderate who has expressed his strong desire to open Iran up & engage with the rest of the world.

    Ordinary people in the street in Iran interviewed on Al Jazeera, especially younger, educated, unemployed young people were expressing the same hope, & there has been growing discontent that the cost of maintaining Iran’s military adventures & commitments in the region could be better spent on medical services & generating jobs, & on the perception that the Republican Guard has commandeered too much of their financial resources.

    Rouhani’s biggest challenge was noted to be advancing a moderate peaceful agenda in the face of the theocracy which still holds ultimate power. I was interested to note how comparatively westernised in dress their people inthe street are, young unveiled women with makeup etc.

    In his speech Trump targets the Theocratic hardline leadership in Iran, not its people. It will be interesting to see what happens now to that anti-hardline, anti-Republican Guard public sentiment.

    • Gezza

       /  May 22, 2017

      I was also interested to hear a supportive Saudi Arabian commenter, immediately following Trump’s speech, answer a question about how he feels Arab countries will feel about the Palestine question. His answer was that they expect to see a just solution – “his actions will have to speak louder than his words”.

      • Yes. One speech won’t sort out long standing complex and bitter disputes in the Middle East.

        • Gezza

           /  May 22, 2017

          Marwan Bishara: One of Aljaz’s most experienced Muslim Middle East / US political analysts:

          Trump speech: pragmatic – but mainly about combatting America’s enemies & restoring decades-old relationships soured by Obama – business deals, arms sales, jobs for americans – doesn’t intend to tell oppressive regimes how to run their countries – talking to many dictators there, made it apparent he doesn’t intend to make an issue about human rights abuses – of course they will like this – doesn’t mention how these are are now actually causing instability in the Sunni regions & starting the revolts that lead to the civil wars the extremists arise from & exploit.

          • Gezza

             /  May 22, 2017

            PS: Apparently Trump did ad lib in a couple of places so his address is not exactly as shown in the printed text supplied.

    • Trump’s alignment with anti-Iranian interests may make things harder for Rouhani.

      • Gezza

         /  May 22, 2017

        Yes. That’s why I’m interested in Al Jazeera’s analyses & commentaries. Will be good to see the full text. His address probably didn’t devote enough time to expressing the wish to engage in dialogue with Iran.

        Reaction from GCC countries so far according to their reporter at the conference is a bit of some puzzlement about the total change of message to them from his anti-muslim rhetoric to get him elected, to now praising Islam at as one of the great religions, so mixed reactions – but that a message of respect for Islam was what they had been waiting for.

        They are encouraged that he says he wants to reset the relationship, abandon strategies that haven’t worked, but note that apart from combatting financing of terrorism, he hasn’t set out a strategy for how he hopes to deal with the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya – countries whose chaos the US is perceived as being responsible for.

        They are nevertheless encouraged that there has been no US strategy in the region – & that now they may be seeing the beginnings of one. One commenter said that it is now up to the Saudis to extend the hand of friendship & negotiationto Iran – the question is, will they?

  2. Brown

     /  May 22, 2017

    Words are just another means of deception in Islam. Until you understand why it cannot moderate these posts are just a waste of time. Islam has backed itself into a corner and has come out swinging. The west’s problem is that they treat Islam like its WWF whereas its deadly serious and expects to win.

    Trump was right to say its a battle between good and evil.

    • Blazer

       /  May 22, 2017

      do the good guys wear white and the…evil..guys….black?

  3. Corky

     /  May 22, 2017

    He’s talking to Muslims and supporters of Muslim terrorism, so in reality he is talking to himself. However, those are some mighty huge defence contracts he has signed. Leaving aside the contradictions, that’s many blue and white collar Americans having jobs.

    Regarding Trumpy, I now don’t think of him as a likeable buffoon with some business skills.
    This guy is a serious strategist who knows how to deal with enemies. The background to Comey meeting him in the oval office is an example. It is reported Comey wore a blue suit to blend in with the drapes so Trump hopefully wouldn’t see him. Trump did, called him out, and not only shook his hand, but made the much taller Comey bend down to his level while he spoke something in his ear. In other words Comey was made to bow before the king. Great stuff.

    • I think he’s an unpresidential President. He does not give the appearance of being remotely thoughtful and circumspection seems woefully absent. He has none of the smile and wave easy charm usually encountered in US Presidents. He says what he thinks, when he thinks it and he does so with a limited vocabulary. Twitter was made for him! Erudite he is not when dealing with detail. MAGA slogans are one thing, but catering to the more worldly, outward-focused American and certainly the politically correct, he cannot and will not do. That said, whether Daddy did give him an open chequebook, the talent and skill-set required to expand an empire as he has takes a good, (great, great 😉 ), deal of acumen and intelligence. You need to understand human nature, know your enemies, how to work them and win more than you lose. People say he’s woefully out of his depth here – time is still to tell.

      As President, his biggest enemies are the Deep State; the majority of people working within every govt dept in the USA and nearly all those in Washington – numbers of whom leak like sieves to the MSM. Speaking about the MSM (sorry it’s all getting boring, I know) there is nothing they frame well for him, nothing. Where are the reports of considerable reductions in illegal immigrants flowing from Mexico? Where are the reports on the economic upturn, business confidence and people in work? Clearly the business community and FOX viewers know this, but it hardly gets cover at the CNN, MSNBC,WAPO or NYT. Trump haters here none of the good and only the bad. How he fixes this is of the most utter importance. Hopefully for him, showing himself to be adept at Foreign Affairs, and who knows maybe even broker some degree of accord might help placate some of his citizens. By this I mean those Americans who he deeply embarrasses. That’s a good deal them as I can work out.

      • Gezza

         /  May 22, 2017

        Somebody else wrote this speech, but if you watch his delivery, he stuck very closely to the script, & for Trump he delivered it well.

        • They never write their own speeches. My understanding is SEVERAL writers present potential speeches

          • Gezza

             /  May 22, 2017

            That’s not my point. This is the first 30 minute speech I’ve seen him deliver where he didn’t constantly ramble off script, rant about his critics, & praise himself.

            • Gezza

               /  May 22, 2017

              The next thing to watch for is any Press conference where he takes questions. He left the Press Conference to T-Rex earlier after his meeting with the Saudi King.

            • Who said it was refreshing?The poor beggar has been ordered by daughter and wife to stick to the script Gezza. How it must rankle!

            • Gezza

               /  May 22, 2017

              Do you think it has escaped Ivanka’s & Melania’s attention that they are surrounded mainly by men & seem to have had been allowed little if any contact or company of wives or other women in these formal occasions?

              (I do note that in his speech Trump does actually mention he hopes to see reforms & improvements to the status of ‘women & children’ – wonder if he wandered off script here, it’s an odd thing to mention children in that way).

        • Corky

           /  May 22, 2017

          Are you saying Traveller didn’t write the comments in their post above and it is in fact a speech by Trumpy?

          • Gezza

             /  May 22, 2017

            No, and no.

            • Corky

               /  May 22, 2017

              Lol….of course, the Prez wouldn’t use a smiley face.

    • duperez

       /  May 22, 2017

      “It is reported Comey wore a blue suit to blend in with the drapes.”

      Was it also reported that in a room that shape with the number of people present, that anyone not discerning a lean 2 meter plus man with a glance, should go to Specsavers?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 22, 2017

        I think that it is highly improbable that he tried to blend into the curtains-anyone who thought that he did blend in really should have gone to Specsavers. I didn’t see him ‘bowing’ so much as bending down to someone much shorter than he is & emphasising this, possibly unconsciously. He made Trump look short and fat 😀 😀 😀 Does anyone know what Trump said ? I thought that he had kissed him-a Judas kiss-at first. Where can I find Specsavers ?

        • Corky

           /  May 22, 2017

          I’m sorry to say this Kitty, but you are a little dense. I won’t waste your time with science, but if you look at the clip, Comey nearly pull’s it off, with Trump just noticing him at the last moment.

          Again if you look at the clip, Trump guides Comey down with his left arm. Comey has no choice but to concede to Trump.

          No, he didn’t make Trump look short and fat. Nobody noticed Trump . They noticed Comey’s height.

          What did Trump say to Comey? He said ” I’m going to destroy you,” according to one source.

          However, it’s not Specsavers you need…it’s someone to help you get your story straight. I was looking at an old post of yours. In that post you claim to be Irish. But you confirmed to me you are a Jewess. Which is it?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  May 22, 2017

            Both, of course-parents from Ulster, ancestors Jewish.

            I noticed that his height made Trump look short and fat, but the idea that he was trying to look like a curtain is really silly. If Trump said that, he’s very stupid-is even he that unwise ? It would be handing the many who dislike him a present, confirming their impression of him as a bullying egotist.

            • Corky

               /  May 22, 2017

              You may have noticed that but most people wouldn’t. It goes to your bias against Trump compared to someone looking on with no bias.

              He wasn’t trying to look like a curtain…he was trying to blend in with the curtain, much like a sniper dresses in a Ghillies suit. There is a difference.

              When Comey spills the beans on Trumpy next week, he will probably take some time off before writing his book. That book will be a gilt edged retirement fund worth over $100 mill.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 23, 2017

              Trump was hugging Comey in what has to have been the hypocritical action of the year. Comey shook Trump’s hand and the result was an awkward neither one thing nor the other movement. The tall, thin Comey made Trump look squat by comparison, which can’t have gone down too well. If any lipreaders have translated the words, it would be interesting to know if they really were ‘I’m going to destroy you.’ or something false and hypocritical. Either way, it was a Judas hug,

            • Corky

               /  May 23, 2017

              I’m sorry, Kitty. You need Spec Savers. Why do you think Trump moved towards Comey? Answer, to enter his personal space and bend him over and down.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 26, 2017

              He was talking to him, not buggering him (well, not literally)

              I thought that they moved towards each other. If that was Trump’s intention, and he’s arrogant enough for it to be, it didn’t quite work in this case. The taller person is likely to have a distinct advantage-bending down makes the other one look short.

  4. Blazer

     /  May 22, 2017

    quite refreshing to have a straight shooter.’ the smile and wave easy charm ‘…love this!how shallow can people be….an art mastered by ..Key.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 22, 2017

      Not necessarily shallow, B. Mostly we assess people we meet in a second or two. That’s a survival skill. If you look back on leaders who had that charm they were mostly pretty good to their people and those who didn’t, weren’t.

      • Blazer

         /  May 22, 2017

        you’re probably right…..that’s where,the ‘smiling assassin’ moniker …came…from!Bol.

    • Gezza

       /  May 22, 2017

      I’ve almost forgotten John Key already.

      • Who?

        • Blazer

           /  May 22, 2017

          the guy who made such an impression…he moved your mum to…tears when he retired as P.M.

        • Corky

           /  May 22, 2017

          The guy who will be knighted next year. The guy feted on the world stage. The guy who has probably set National up for four terms. The guy socialists hate…..rings no bell? That’s Ok. The mind shuts down when pain becomes over whelming.

  5. duperez

     /  May 22, 2017

    There’s depth in the richness of the fields to ponder while mowing the lawns today.

    Get rid of a “war mongering’ President to get one who’ll get Americans working again – making arms for Muslims. 😶

    • Gezza

       /  May 22, 2017

      Wait’ll he meets Putin & starts making arms for them! It’s all about business, really. 🙂

    • Corky

       /  May 22, 2017

      Slow day, huh?

  6. Conspiratoor

     /  May 22, 2017

    The US (and the western world) needs Israel more than it needs Saudi Arabia. They are our people. Reminder for later though, Haeri Mai ki te Kai, (the food factory is now open).

  7. Gezza

     /  May 22, 2017

    Wider range of commentary on Trump Middle Eastern tour now starting to appear on Al Jazeera.

    General thrust: A mistake to attack Iran so one-sidedly & directly when Rouhani & its people were showing & saying they are tired of war & isolation & control of hardline theocracy & Republican Guard hardline faction & want to engage with the world.

    Nothing to indicate willingness to engage & in bringing them into the peace process, that recent additional proposed sanctions announced by Trump regime plays into the hands of the hardliners by proving America hates them.

    Same reaction from Arab & some Palestinian-friendly commentators. Arab rulers might play along with Trump & pretend to buy into his ISIS is the biggest threat to peace spiel, but over 90% of arab ordinary people in a 16,000 people regional-wide survey recently consider Israel to be the biggest threat to peace in the region.

    Noted the Trump campaign & administration was unabashedly pro-Neatanyahu, pro-Israel, & so much so that before and since he took office Netanyau administration actually increased the rate of settlements on occupied Palestinian land, announced further settlements & appointed an openly Zionist ambassador. Wide cynicism among palestinian people, especially as Abbas does not represent many of them & is perceived as having been hoodwinked & controlled by Netanyahu.

    Widely known Trimp doesn’t read history books & can’t be bothered with detail, so won’t know anything abour the region but what his pro-Israel advisers tell him, & that Netanyahu has gone all out to publicly talk about how both Trump & America are “family” & how he has known Kushner since he was a little boy, screwing the scrum.

    Again, a widely-held view that it was a mistake to put Hamas into the same category of terrorist as ISIS, especially when it has the support as the elected government of the people of Gaza & had at least recently announced it was prepared to consider establishing a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders. No mention made that Israel has a repressive occupation & has killed thousands of people.

    An American commentator based in Jerusalem quoted Moshe Dayan: “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends – you talk to your enemies”. Expectations of Trump pulling off a decent deal for Palestinians are very low. Trump/America just sold billions of dollars of arms to Saudi Arabia – but gave billions of dollars worth to Israel. What has Israel agreed to do for them in return?

    • High Flying Duck

       /  May 23, 2017

      Israel seem to be following a path of creating stronger relations with everyone in the ME except Palestinians and Iran.

      They have no official status or relationship with the Saudi’s but there have been delegations and there is trade between the two.

      Egypt is also strengthening ties with Israel, as are Turkey.
      https://www.middleeastobserver.org/2017/05/18/turkey-and-israel-to-boost-trade-relations/

      Morocco also seem to be instigating under the radar trade:
      https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20160629-moroccan-minister-denies-trade-relations-with-israel/

      Israel is the economic powerhouse of the region and can use this as a lever to open up trade and build relationships.

      If this is the case, Trump is following the same script.

      It could work very well – ostracize the problems (Palestine & Iran) and get everyone else working together. Then Iran and Palestine have the choice of falling into line somewhat (and Iran is heading that way anyway) or becoming pariahs.

  1. Trump challenges Arab leaders on Muslim terrorism – NZ Conservative Coalition