Well-known American journalist Leon Wieseltier wrote articles criticizing Obama administration’s stance on the Syrian war in The New Republic magazine. There were horrific scenes of children’s bodies while the superpower kept silent.
Back then, the press did not push Obama to take a more decisive position – not to topple Assad but to at least intimidate him and put an end to the increasing number of those killed every day.
It actually supported him and agreed with him on the idea that entering Syria means not exiting it, i.e. a new Iraq. Neither the president nor the press want any American soldier to be killed for this purpose.
Back then, The New York Review of Books published a headline that resembled a warning shot to President Obama. It read: “Stay Out of Syria!”
Wieseltier, who is angry and is frustrated by his colleagues’ and friends’ position, wrote in an article: “The world does not end in Iraq. The left looks away from human suffering.”
Few months later, Obama decided to strike Assad after he went too far but what’s strange is that the press, in addition to other reasons, discouraged him.
A prominent author commented on this in the Washington Post saying that Obama’s main strategy is not to intervene and he must commit to it no matter the circumstances! President Obama backed down on his stance and the rest of the story is known.
We have witnessed a similar situation with Iran. When the Green Movement erupted, President Obama kept silent and the supporting press did not mind this. It supported his opinion, which meant that any word that comes out of his mouth will be employed in favor of the regime against the protestors.
The Khashoggi case is being used to weaken the strongest Saudi stance that confronts Iranian and Brotherhood projects in the region and supports the project of stability and moderationMamdouh AlMuhaini
It proved to be wrong tactic as Tehran viewed this as a sign to go on without being punished. Hence it crushed the revolution and shed innocent blood. Many were killed and many others were detained and tortured including western and American journalists who were later used for bargaining.
Despite the ongoing Iranian violations in and outside the country, and the regime conniving with the Syrian regime to commit horrific massacres, no angry campaigns were carried out against the regime’s figureheads, such as Rouhani and Zarif.
There was instead media celebration after the famous phone call Obama made to Rouhani when he was in New York on his way to the airport. The Iranian deal was signed two years later and a bigger celebration ensued.
Famous talk shows hosted important members in the Iranian lobby, and the purpose was clear: Rehabilitate the regime and cleanse it from the blood of thousands of the Iranians and non-Iranians.
The serious press was not morally provoked but the opposite happened as it welcomed the decision and viewed it as a lesson in political realism. An anchor who is mesmerized by Obama said: He killed Bin Laden and sealed a deal with the Iranians; this is not America’s president but Superman!
In these exact same hours, the Iranians and Hezbollah’s militias were finishing off Syrian children and burying them under the rubble. The tragic situation continued but the press remained busy with the “historic achievement” and attacked whoever criticized it.
All this changed with the murder of one person named Jamal Khashoggi. The Saudi government announced the details of the crime, arrested the culprits and put them on trial. It is an isolated crime unprecedented in Saudi history and its culprits are on trial.
However, we witnessed major campaigns against Riyadh – campaigns we have never witnessed before. They came from the same parties, which viewed silence as some sort of wisdom despite the horrific massacres and the large number of those killed and sealed deals with those who committed these crimes without arresting any of those involved in them.
What’s with this flagrant contradiction in stances? A part of the answer to this question was noted by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who wrote in an article published on Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal: “Is it any coincidence that the people using the Khashoggi murder as a cudgel against President Trump’s Saudi Arabia policy are the same people who supported Barack Obama’s rapprochement with Iran — a regime that has killed thousands worldwide, including hundreds of Americans, and brutalizes its own people?”
“Where was this echo chamber, where were these avatars of human rights, when Mr. Obama gave the mullahs pallets of cash to carry out their work as the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism?,” he wrote.
This answer explains the reason behind the objections and the main campaign on the American president and the Saudi crown prince. It’s an ideological and political dispute in which everything, Khashoggi, the Russian collusion, Yemen’s war and the nuclear deal, is being employed to attack Trump’s Washington and Riyadh.
The Khashoggi case is being used to weaken the strongest Saudi stance that confronts Iranian and Brotherhood projects in the region and supports the project of stability and moderation, as Pompeo noted in his article. It is also through this same prism that we can understand the attack on Trump via the accusation of collusion with Russia as the aim is to exhaust him on the domestic front and break up his alliances abroad.
When Trump stood next to Putin in Helsinki in a press conference, the former CIA chief during Obama’s term slammed him and accused him of treason! They are making accusations without new evidence and are only concerned with weaving a story and nurturing it with rumors and unsubstantiated details regardless of any truth; in other words, fake news.
These are the most common and effective methods of biased leftist organizations, activists and media outlets. This explains the secret of these parties’ transformation into platforms, which attack Riyadh and the Trump administration and which are made up of Obama’s supporters and sympathizers with Iran and Sunni and Shiite political Islam groups.
And from this, we can understand the reality of the relentless attacks as we see these desperate and frequent attempts by those who were silent earlier, exploiting Khashoggi’s blood or the Russian collusion to make political gains and ideological victories.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms. He can be followed on Twitter @malmhuain.