(May 20, 2021 / JNS) Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo harshly criticized the Biden administration for its blatant efforts to appease Iran by going out of its way to avoid explicitly stating the Islamic regime’s involvement in the Hamas terror group’s firing of more than 4,000 rockets at Israeli civilians from its base in the Gaza Strip.
“This is a broader strategic effort by the Biden administration to place Iran as a central figure inside of their vision for how they’d like to see the Middle East realigned,” said Pompeo.
“You can’t designate the Houthis as terrorists if you want the Iranians to sit down with you in Vienna. You can’t oppose Hamas—an ideological, radical terrorist regime sitting in the Gaza Strip firing missiles against civilians in Israel—because you know you have this other game that’s being played, this other policy. The Iranians know this. They’ve played this game for an awfully long time. It’s why this vision of just getting back into the [Iran nuclear deal] and saying, ‘We’ll be able to control their missile program and their terror efforts’ is such a folly.”
Pompeo, a distinguished fellow at the Hudson Institute, sat down on Wednesday with Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the institute, to discuss the Biden foreign-policy team’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to Doran, “the Iranians have attacked the U.S. in Iraq, opened a front against the Israelis, and the Houthis are far from becoming more moderate. I am shocked by the absence of any sign of reconsidering on the part of the administration.”
Pompeo replied that the administration “is never going to walk away from their commitment. It’s the same cast and crew that fundamentally believe that appeasing Iran was the solution to Middle East stability. I think the world can now see that was folly.”
He added that the United States “has a deep and consistent interest” in doing its best to “take down this terror—this campaign against Israel, the ‘Little Satan’—that ultimately could grow into an Iranian campaign against the ‘Great Satan,’ the United States.”
‘The isolation of Iran led to deterrence’
Doran questioned whether Israel’s two-week-long conflict with Hamas is “part of the U.S.-Iranian contest.”
Pompeo replied, “It most certainly is.”
“This is part of an appeasement strategy of Iran that has given, if not a green light, has certainly not shown the red light—the deterrence light that we showed to Iran,” he said.
Pompeo noted that Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy in Lebanon on Israel’s northern border, is a “real risk” to security, as it has “enormous amounts of precision-guided munitions,” and is “watching closely” and “performing their own strategic calculation as well.”
The Trump administration was criticized when it recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
“The claim was there would be an explosion in the Middle East,” said Doran, noting that “explosion” occurred during the Biden administration, which has expressed the belief that it has the answer to Mideast peace.
“We withdrew from the [deal], and we did not have kinetic conflict like we are seeing today,” said Pompeo, adding that during his tenure at the State Department, he concluded that settlements “are not inconsistent with international law.”
Pompeo noted that the above actions taken by the Trump administration came under fire from many elements around the world, “including much of the foreign-policy establishment” that said, ‘This is going to cause war.’ ”
According to Pompeo, “the isolation of Iran led to deterrence. Now, Iran is sitting in Vienna. They know they will get billions of dollars. [They are] on the cusp of economic victory.”
“You survived to live another day after the enormous pressure that your regime was under during the Trump administration,” he said about the Iranians. “You are giddy, and you will test this administration.”
“I think you are seeing the testing taking place today,” he said.
Doran questioned why White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki recently said, “Aside from putting forward a peace proposal that was dead on arrival, we don’t think they [Trump administration] did anything constructive, really, to bring an end to the longstanding conflict in the Middle East.”
“Ask the people of Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia,” replied Pompeo. “They felt we did an enormous amount of good in the Middle East because of the pressure we put on the Iranian regime, and the support we provided to Israel and to them.”
Pompeo said Psaki “can say what she wants, but I am confident the people impacted by this the most understood how much good the Trump administration did for prosperity and peace throughout the Middle East.”
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