Apparently taking a pause from his painting portraits of immigrants and other “everyday heroes” from the comfort of his Crawford ranch as well as posh Dallas neighborhood home, the former US president responsible for the utter disaster, death and chaos that was the Iraq War has issued some rare remarks on current US policy in the Middle East at a moment of multiple crises.
George W. Bush gave a Fox News interview which was ostensibly geared toward promoting his new book, “Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Immigrants” – and he took the opportunity to bash Iran as the continued source of all ills in the region, particularly related to the Gaza crisis which has witnessed the highest death toll since the 2014 war. He also commented on the impending restoration of the Iran nuclear deal, which he suggested is “dangerous” for regional stability.
Conveniently ignoring his own very considerable contribution to much of the Middle East being in smolders and the throes of conflict (for one, his toppling of Saddam is widely considered the precursor and a major catalyst in both the pro-Iranian Shia political ascendency in Baghdad and the later rise of ISIS), he told Fox when asked about the soaring Israeli-Palestinian violence that what “you’re seeing playing out is Iranian influence targeted toward Israel” – a reference to the Islamic Republic’s well-known support to Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
“I think the best approach with regard to Iran is to understand that their influence is dangerous for world peace, that they are very much involved with extremist movements in Lebanon and Syria and Yemen, and they are aiming to spread their influence,” he continued.
On the nuclear deal and Vienna talks, which are about to enter the final round of negotiations next week and as top EU officials say an agreement is imminent and almost certain, Bush commented:
“Any deal that is done has got to not only focus on its nuclear capabilities, but also its influence in the Middle East,” Bush continued. “And you know, any deal, you’ve got to keep in mind the dangers of an aggressive Iran to our allies, and to stability, so it has to be a comprehensive look.”
Most Republicans, and especially neocons like Bush, have long opposed the 2015 Obama-brokered deal which allows Iran a heavily monitored nuclear energy program. They are further strongly pushing for breaking off the Vienna process, seeing in it a deceptive “cover” under which Tehran will pursue nukes (which has also long been Israel’s assessment).
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