Former US VP Cheney warns disengagement in Mideast benefits Iran, Russia

Former US Vice President Dick Cheney after his speech at the Arab Strategy Forum in Dubai on December 9, 2019. (Photo: AP)

Former US Vice President Dick Cheney warned Monday that “American disengagement” in the Middle East will benefit only Iran and Russia, during an address to the Arab Strategy Forum.

While stressing that he’s no longer in government, Cheney’s comments cut to the core of several policies taken by US President Donald Trump, including the sudden withdrawal of US forces from Syria.

“Russia is always on standby to fill power voids. That is how it happened that Russian troops swept in when the US left northern Syria,” Cheney told the Arab Strategy Forum in Dubai.

“To sum up that still-unfolding story: nobody will remember it as our finest hour,” Cheney added.

Cheney said that, as well as other challenges from extremist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, show “inaction can carry even greater risk than action.”

“There are some deeply malign forces at work in the broader Middle East, as well as disturbing influences from outside,” Cheney said. “Disengagement is just another term for leaving all the power to them.”

Cheney praised Trump for pulling out the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and said that “the mullahs in Tehran want most of all to acquire nuclear weapons.”

He called NATO “the most-formidable alliance in history.”

“This post-war system has been so fundamental that it has hardly mattered year to year which political parties were in power,” the vice president added.

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Last Update: 12:24 KSA 15:24 - GMT 12:24
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