Marco Rubio wrong on Iran deal and Middle East regimes

President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have secured one of the great achievements of recent American Diplomacy with the Iranian nuclear deal. Florida’s press-hungry, ideologically motivated Junior Senator who is often the first Republican to make a statement on anything was quickly out of the gate Saturday night with a statement:

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said that the agreement “makes a nuclear Iran more, not less, likely,” and called the deal “a blow to our allies in the region who are already concerned about America’s commitment to their security and it sends the wrong message to the Iranian people, who continue to suffer under the repressive rule of their leaders who have only their own self-preservation in mind.” 

Senator Rubio’s statement is self-serving and does nothing to address the real issues here. Worse yet it is dishonest, disingenuous and contradicts the reality of the region. If Rubio had said, “America’s ally (singular) in the region, Israel,” he’d have been still wrong to make this statement but would have more of a leg to stand on. Israel’s current Likud Government has fanned the flames of this conflict but Israel unlike other “allies” in the region is a Democracy, and a liberal one at that, perhaps one the US can take pointers from as far as voter access, health care, women’s rights and other matters of that impact our population.

But the other US “allies” in the region, those nations concerned by this deal are the likes of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Rubio is dead wrong on any attempt to link American foreign policy with these regimes whose values system is contrary to those we hold dear. The repressive regime he refers to in Tehran is bad, but nowhere near as authoritarian as some of the “allies” Florida’s Junior Senator seemingly wants to placate.

The regimes Rubio sees as US allies are theocracies (as is Iran) that do not care for the civil liberties of their people and have held a great percentage of their populations in virtual bondage. Unlike Iran, some of these countries even operate a virtual slave labor market of foreigners and those who are not Muslims. Rubio implies it is the United States responsibility to help ensure the “security” of these repressive theocracies. One these nations, Bahrain has undergone protests by its Shi’a majority  since the beginning of the Arab spring against the Saudi backed Sunni minority government. Talk about repressing a population, the majority of a population.

My extensive, multi-year study of these issues leads me to believe the proliferation of anti-western, anti-Christian, and anti-Hindu/Buddhist Islamic terror has less to do with Iran and its allies including Bashar Assad’s Syria but its enemies in the region such as the oppressive Saudi regime.  (I am not saying Iran/Syria does not sponsor terrorism but not to the extent other states  Rubio implies are our allies do- still they are an exporter of terror and must be treated as such, but the application of this should be consistent) It is worth noting that in the period after 9/11 Iran was far more cooperative with American intelligence agencies than the Saudis were and had been strongly opposed to the Saudi sponsored Taliban theocracy in Afghanistan who were Osama Bin Laden’s protectors.  Iran also provided intelligence about Iraq prior to the infamous George W. Bush “Axis of Evil” speech which unwisely linked Iran with Saddam Hussien’s Iraq even though the two nations had fought a bloody war and were far from allies.

Moreover, the track record of foreign guest workers who are non-Muslim being exploited and oppression toward women is far greater in the Sunni nations under the spell of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States than in Iran or Syria, The west and secular democracies everywhere should be putting pressure on the Saudis to change and to stop exporting radical Islam and various degrees of jihadist thoughts around not only the Middle East but into South Asia, Western Europe and even the United States. The march to war with Iran which has now been stopped cold thanks to this deal would have disproportionately benefited the Saudis and their influence over the Muslim world. It is important from a balance of power standpoint to maintain Iranian strength vis a vis the Saudi threat. Iran is also a critical cog in providing energy to South Asia and China, energy that helps indirectly fuel the US economy, so crippling Iran and further isolating them could impact the global economy in a profoundly negative way.

Nobody is doubting Iran still possess some danger and must be monitored closely. What we however are concerned about is empowering the Saudis and Gulf States. This pivot in US policy authored by President Obama and Secretary Kerry was wise and will not only make us safer but will give us an opportunity to punish states who do not share our values about humanity.

Florida’s Junior Senator should stop trying to score political points and do some basic research before he spouts off ill-advised statements on matters he knows little about. The less the United States does to ensure Saudi Arabia’s security the better.


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