Saturday 20 January 2018

President's latest speech was full of hypocrisy and laced with condescension

President Donald Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: AP
President Donald Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Photo: AP

Robert Fisk

So after inventing "fake news", America's crazed president gave the world's Muslims a fake speech. Donald Trump said he was not in Saudi Arabia to "lecture" - but then told the world's Islamic preachers what to say, condemned "Islamist terrorism" as if violence was a solely Muslim phenomenon, and then announced like an Old Testament prophet that he was in "a battle between good and evil". There were no words of compassion, none of mercy, absolutely not a word of apology for his racist, anti-Muslim speeches of last year.

Even more incredibly, he blamed Iran - rather than Isil - for "fuelling sectarian violence", pitied the Iranian people for their "despair" a day after they had freely elected a liberal reformer as their president, and demanded the further isolation of the largest Shiite country in the Middle East. The regime responsible for "so much instability" is Iran. The Shiite Hezbollah were condemned. So were the Shiite Yemenis. Trump's Sunni Saudi hosts glowed with warmth at such wisdom.

And this was billed by CNN as a "reset" speech with the Muslim world. For "reset", read "repair", but Trump's diatribe in Riyadh yesterday was neither a "reset" nor a "repair". It was the lecture he claimed he would not give.

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