U.S. President called on Middle East to combat a Islamic extremism

5/22/2017

  • U.S. President Donald Trump called on Middle Eastern leaders to combat a “crisis of Islamic extremism” emanating from the region, casting the fight against terrorism as a “battle between good and evil”, not a clash between the West and Islam.
  • Mr. Trump’s address was the centerpiece of his two-day visit to Saudi Arabia, his first stop overseas as President.
  • During a meeting of more than 50 Arab and Muslim leaders, he sought to chart a new course for America’s role in the region, one aimed squarely on rooting out terrorism, with less focus on promoting human rights and democratic reforms.
  • Even as the President pledged to work alongside Middle Eastern nations, he put the onus for combating terrorism on the region.
  • Bellowing into the microphone, he implored Muslim leaders to aggressively fight extremists — “Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities.”
  • Sitting alongside Mr. Trump, Saudi King Salman declared: “The Iranian regime has been the spearhead of global terrorism.”
  • Mr. Trump’s welcome in the region was also put on display during a series of individual meetings with Arab leaders.
  • Reinforcing his theme of U.S. economic deals, the U.S. President told Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani they would discuss “lots of beautiful military equipment because nobody makes it like the United States”.
  • For Mr. Trump the visit has been a welcome escape from the crush of controversies that have consumed his administration in recent weeks.
  • The President’s trip to Saudi Arabia also served as something of a reset with the region following his presidential campaign, which was frequently punctured by bouts of anti-Islamic rhetoric. He once mused that he thought “Islam hates us”.
  • That ban was blocked by the courts. A second order, which dropped Iraq from the list, is tied up in federal court and the federal government is appealing.
  • That speech was denounced by many Republicans and criticized by a number of the United States’ Middle East allies as being a sort of apology.
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