On May 19, 2011, President Barack Obama spoke at the State Department about the so-called Arab Spring. He celebrated the “extraordinary change taking place in the Middle East and North Africa.”
He also said that the United States had sided with the changes taking place across the region: “There must be no doubt that the United States of America welcomes change that advances self-determination and opportunity…after decades of accepting the world as it is in the region, we have a chance to pursue the world as it should be.” He talked of the rights of women, the rights of religious minorities, rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. He spoke of standing up for individuals rather than dictators. He said that we would help build a “world that is more peaceful, more stable, and more just.”
Four years into the great experiment of American withdrawal and cowardice, the Middle East has been transformed. Country by country, this is the current state of the Middle East, torn between a looming Iranian caliphate and a powerful Sunni Islamist terror-supporting upswing.
The Iranian Crescent. No regime has benefitted more from the Obama administration than the Iranian dictatorship. Despite Congress’ repeated attempts to curb Iranian power through sanctions, Obama has protected the regime: he has leaked Israeli national security information to prevent an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, brokered a nuclear non-deal that loosens sanctions, allegedly reached out to Tehran for help in tamping down violence in Iraq. The result: a territorial crescent controlled by Iran stretching from the Mediterranean Sea in the west through Syria and Iraq. Afghanistan is in play, too, once the U.S. leaves that country. The crescent swings south to Yemen, as well, where the Iranian-backed Houthis march through the streets shouting death to America, death to Israel, and curses upon the Jews. Armed with a nuclear weapon, the Iranians may plunge the region into an arms race — or, worse, a genocidal attack on the Jewish State.
The Islamic State. ISIS’ territorial gains have not been mitigated. Its northern neighbor, Turkey, has become a Sunni Islamist quasi-dictatorship with a terror sponsoring government — a government routinely lauded but the United States; Turkey allegedly allows ISIS free reign through its territory to attack Kurdish targets. ISIS, meanwhile, has successfully carved out its state across the Syrian-Iraqi border. ISIS, along with Turkish backed-Hamas, threatens Israel in the Gaza Strip. Many observers of the last Gaza War suspected that Israel only refused to oust Hamas in order to prevent ISIS from taking over Gaza altogether.
The Al Qaeda Resurgence. Hillary Clinton’s all-out push for war in Libya against the disarmed Muammar Qaddafi led to the rise of a chaotic, Al Qaeda-backed cesspool. The country essentially has no governing structure and has resorted to tribal terrorist groups murdering one another. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda is battling with the Houthis for control of Yemen.
The Old Guard. The combination of the Iranian Crescent and the rise of ISIS has put the Saudi government in serious peril. As the BBC reported in November, “It was inevitable that sooner or later the group would turn its attention to the largest and most important country in the region.” Many Saudis back ISIS in the fight against Iran. And the radical Wahhabist ideology spread by Saudi Arabia for decades provided the intellectual groundwork for ISIS and Al Qaeda. Now, the regime, along with the United Arab Emirates, struggles to fight off its ideological children even as its own citizens fund them. Jordan is waging a war on ISIS, thanks to its border proximity with Syria, but the Jordanian regime is on its last legs.
Afghanistan and Pakistan. America’s impending exit from Afghanistan has brought the Taliban back to the table. The Obama administration has essentially admitted as much, refusing to label the Taliban a terrorist group. The nuclear-armed Pakistani regime has become a more erratic version of the Saudi government, struggling to maintain power in the face of radical Islamist threats it has helped foster.
Only Egypt provides a shred of hope in the region. The regime of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has provided stability against the terrorist-supporting Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Sisi has gone so far as to call for radical reform within Islam. Naturally, the Obama administration was, as of December, holding up aid to the regime. The governments Obama has most alienated are Egypt and Israel, our only two true allies against radical Islamist terror.
Obama has indeed transformed the Middle East. That transformation will echo for generations, as a nuclear arms race draws ever nearer, terrorism becomes more common, and radical Islam takes prize after prize.
Ben Shapiro is Senior Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the new book, The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration (Threshold Editions, June 10, 2014). He is also Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. Follow Ben Shapiro on Twitter @benshapiro.