An Examination of Barack Obama’s Pro-Shi’a and Pro-Iranian Middle Eastern Policies.

Looking back at the various policy choices made by the Obama administration I am struck by the fact that the main things that he did in the Middle East (setting aside Libya) appears to be pro-Shi’a, pro-Iranian and anti-Sunni Muslim in its nature.

Why is this? Many people, myself included have come to the conclusion that Obama was a crypto Muslim but based on his actions it would appear that he was a crypto Shi’a Muslim. This is not impossible although we do not know that much detail about his Islamic antecedents or specific influences of Islam on him in his early life.

His grandfather was a Roman Catholic and converted to Islam, taking the name Hussein. It seems as if he converted to Islam after spending time in Zanzibar. Zanzibar is about 20% Shi’a and has both Ithna Ashari and Ismaili Muslims among its population. Although I have been unable to determine whether he was a twelver or a sevener Muslim the fact that he took the name Hussein would tend to clearly indicate Shi’a affiliation of some sort as no Sunni Muslim would bear this name.

Obama’s father converted to Anglican Christianity at the age of six and is not reputed to have been religious and ultimately became an atheist so it would seem that he did not inculcate Obama Jr. in Islam. That Barack Obama was exposed to Islam as a result of his time in Indonesia is a certainty. But Shi’ism is a small minority in Indonesia, so it seems unlikely that he was influenced in that way during his early education.

Here is a link to a letter that Barack Obama wrote concerning his Muslim heritage. It gives very little away.

So, the question arises, from where during his presidency did his pro-Shia policies originate. Did Huma Abedin have a large degree of influence on the formulation of the policies that the Obama administration put into effect?

Let’s look at what was done and how each and every aspect of those policies as they pertain to the area within the Shi’a crescent were not only pro-Shi’a and anti-Sunni, but pro-Iranian.

First and most importantly was the US troop withdrawal from Iraq and the failure to maintain US forces in that country. We were in a position to redeploy forces out of the cities into desert bases enabling the US to continue to intervene locally if necessary, and to project power throughout the region. However, to do this we needed to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Iraqi Government. A sticking point is that we needed the status of forces agreement to protect our troops from the vagaries of the local judicial system and to keep our troops subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and not expose them to the local legal system.

The issue that we had in Iraq at the time is that the Iranians did not want US forces on their doorstep, and they told the Shi’a Iraqi Prime Minister, Noori Al Malaki not to accede to the US request. Instead of insisting and telling Al Maliki to sign what we wanted the Obama administration caved and pulled our troops out. This was covered by a great deal of cant about respecting the sovereignty of Iraq but the reality of being an imperial power and having more than enough power to overawe an Iranian puppet state is that if he had wanted to keep the troops there he could have insisted. The US certainly had plenty of levers to ensure Iraqi compliance. So, fifteen -love Iran.

It should be noted that after the Islamic State captured Mosul that the Obama administration di reinsert US troops into Iraq and gave military support to the Iraqi regime but this again was a clearly anti-Sunni and pro-Shi’a reaction.

A second major policy decision was to have a troop surge in Afghanistan. This was also a pro-Shi’a and anti-Sunni policy. Our fight in Afghanistan is against Sunni fundamentalist elements, the Taliban. Once again we were taking stronger military action against Sunnis in a country that borders Iran. The Iranians have since the time of the Safavid Empire sought to limit the power of the Sunni Afghans.  Nader Shah secured his borders when he defeated the Afghans at the battle of Damghan in 1729. So, the US was also aligned with Iranian interests in this regard. Thirty – love Iran.

In the Yemen Obama exerted a great deal of effort in killing members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. AQAP are an entirely Sunni military political organization and the US attacks on them strengthened the Shi’a leaning pro-Iranian Houthis in the Yemen. In conjunction with this policy the Obama administration weakened its ties to and support of Iranian arch-rival Saudi Arabia. Forty – love Iran.

Then of course there was the nuclear deal. This was not only a clear win for Iran that bought them more time to continue their nuclear program through clandestine means, it was a huge diplomatic win for the Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif who was clearly a much better negotiator than the Herman Munster lookalike, the bumbling John Kerry.

Here’s what the Iranians had to say about their triumph.

On 22 July 2015, Abbas Araghchi, Iran’s deputy foreign minister who led the negotiations, made an announcement on state-controlled television that the recently reached nuclear deal with the world powers did not include limitations on Iran’s weapons capabilities or missile power and that Tehran would keep arming its regional allies. “We have told them [the P5+1 world powers] in the negotiations that we will supply arms to anyone and anywhere necessary and will import weapons from anywhere we want and we have clarified this during the negotiations,” Araghchi said.

In a speech the following Saturday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei added, “Our policy will not change with regards to the arrogant US government.”

The Obama administration also released $1.7 billion in funds to the Iranian government. This money was freely transferred without conditions. Here is what John Kerry had to say about it.

“I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) or of other entities, some of which are labelled terrorists,” Kerry said. “To some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.”

Uh, not transferring the money would certainly prevent it John. Duh.

Game Iran.

Finally, Obama and his Shi’ite fellow travellers caved to Iran’s client in Damascus. As was well reported at the time Obama clearly stated that the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime was a ‘red line’ that would trigger a US military response. When Assad’s forces did indeed use chemical weapons Obama did not respond and in fact walked back his comments on the ‘red line’.

 I must ask why. The failure to respond only encouraged more violence by an Iranian client state to continue killing its own people.

So, why did Obama consistently implement pro-Shi’a and pro-Iranian policies in the region? It’s a good question. Personally I don’t think that any of these actions was in the best interests of the United States and it is the job of the President to put the interests of the United States above that of other countries and none of these policies did that.