Trump urges Mideast nations to drive out 'Islamic extremism'
Trump urges Mideast nations to drive out 'Islamic extremism'
23 May, 2017, 11:07
"The nations of the Middle East can not wait for American power to crush this enemy for them", he said.
In his speech, Trump said he was not there to "lecture" Muslim countries, but he did call for nations to promote "the aspirations and dreams of all citizens who seek a better life - including women, children and followers of all faiths". "It's a choice between two futures and it's a choice America can not make for you".
"Drive them out", he repeated of the terrorists. "Drive them out of your communities!" "Drive them out of your holy land and drive them out of this earth", he said.
Trump's "America first" philosophy helped him win the 2016 election and has rattled allies who depend on USA support for their defence. This time, the president used the right words to start rebuilding the foundations of America's strategic partnerships in the Muslim world and Middle East, and to deal with truly urgent threats.
While addressing the world's longest-ruling dictators about terrorism, Trump failed to mention how state violence and repression feeds ISIS and al Qaeda's propaganda campaigns.
Trump's Riyadh visit kicked off his first presidential trip overseas, with Saudi Arabia the first stop on a nine-day journey through the Middle East and Europe.
It "is not a battle between different faiths, different sects or different civilisations" but "a battle between good and evil", he said. The arms deal the two countries have signed, worth at least 100 billion dollars, was done with the help of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.
"This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defence purchase".
"Terrorists do not worship God".
"The president is clearly indicating that this fight of good against evil has nothing to do with religion".
As a candidate, Trump proposed temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States. It is the regime that is responsible for so much instability in that region.
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On refugees, he praised Lebanon and Turkey for accommodating Syrians fleeing war at home.
He added that Saudi Arabia and its neighbours had great potential to become a place where "newcomers flock", instead of creating an exodus of refugees, as well as to become a new centre of economic activity.
First, he needed to reassure the Saudis, the leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the other leaders of the 50 some Islamic countries meeting in the Kingdom that he was not anti-Islamic and did not see Islam as an enemy.
"The unique piece of it is that every single one of them are signatories on how they're responsible and will actually prosecute the financing of terrorism, including individuals", said Dina Powell, US Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategy.
"Bravo President Trump", tweeted Anwar Gargash, the United Arab Emirates' foreign minister, who described the speech as "effective and historic" and "defining [an] approach towards extremism and terrorism with candid respect and friendship".
Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders, who set aside his campaign rhetoric and focused on his desire to crack down on Iran's influence in the region, a commitment they found wanting in Obama.
Reports have also emerged that Trump called Comey "a nut job" and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has identified a senior White House official as a "significant person of interest" in its probe of Russian meddling. Some observers say the word Islamist reflects extremists without tarring the entire religion.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz accused regional rival Iran of exporting extremist Islamic movements to the world and vowed to eliminate the Islamic State group.
As he arrived in his Humvee in the Iraqi city of Mosul, where mortars fell nearby, Master Sergeant Dhu-Alfuqar Ali, a member of Iraq's elite counterterrorism unit, said that Trump should not have delivered the speech in Saudi Arabia, "where they are supporting terrorism".
"We did not know terrorism and extremism until the Khomeini revolution reared its head", he said.
The American President, who had said during the election campaign that "Islam hates us" and proposed a ban on the entry of Muslims to the USA, rejected the idea that the fight is a battle between religions even as he promised not to chastise them about human rights violations in their own countries.
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