Failed Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went on Israeli television and told the audience that terrorists belonging to the Islamic State (ISIS) were ‘praying to Allah‘ to elect her opponent. It was a particularly audacious claim to make given her own personal responsibility for the fact that the Islamic State exists at all.
Hillary Clinton suggested in a television interview in Israel, broadcast on Thursday, that the Islamic State is “rooting for Donald Trump’s victory” and that terrorists are praying, “Please, Allah, make Trump president of America.”
Speaking with Israel’s Channel 2, Mrs. Clinton said that by singling out Muslims during his campaign, Mr. Trump had played into the hands of extremists and helped their recruitment efforts, in effect “giving aid and comfort to their evil ambitions.”
Giving aid and comfort to the enemy is, of course, a line lifted from the definition of treason in the United States Constitution. She chose these words, so let us give her the benefit of them. Let us review who has given more aid, and more comfort, to the Islamic State.
The Islamic State grew out of the union of al Qaeda in Iraq and former members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist intelligence and military services. Al Qaeda in Iraq was founded by one Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi came to Iraq to fight Americans, having led his own terrorist organization abroad before joining the Iraq War. By the time of Zarqawi’s death at the hands of the United States military, many of his allies had been captured and detained in the U.S.-run Camp Bucca. Due to an unfortunate error in judgment, the leadership at Bucca housed Islamist radicals in the same units as Saddam’s own former military professionals.
All of that might have come to nothing, though, if Iraq had remained the stable state it was in 2009 (when Bucca was closed) or 2010 (when the last detainees, relocated to Camp Cropper, were turned over to Iraq). At that time, the Obama administration viewed bringing the war in Iraq to a close as one of their greatest legacies. Here is Vice President Joe Biden saying just that in 2010:
However, the Secretary of State at that time was Hillary Clinton. It was her job to negotiate an arrangement with the Iraqi government that would do two things: allow a stabilizing US military presence to remain in Iraq, and allow the US Department of State the freedom of movement it would need to step up as guarantors of the peace. The peace, you see, had been purchased not only by the US military’s victory on the battlefields, but also by its patient negotiation with militants formerly aligned with al Qaeda in Iraq. These tribes, mostly but not exclusively Sunni, had rejected the terrorism of al Qaeda in Iraq in return for promises of fair treatment from the Iraqi central government. This included jobs, assistance for communities recovering from the war, and many other things that the government promised to provide in return for the support of these former enemies. The United States helped to negotiate all these agreements, and promised to see that they would be kept faithfully.
Instead, the Secretary of State failed to produce either a new Status of Forces agreement that would permit US troops to remain in Iraq, or an agreement that would allow State Department personnel to move about the country safely to observe whether agreements were being kept. In the wake of the precipitous withdrawal of US forces, Prime Minister Maliki moved to arrest Sunni leaders in government, and broke all his promises to the tribes.
The result was that the western part of Iraq once again became fertile ground for an Islamist insurgency. ISIS swept western Iraq because of the failures of Hillary Clinton and her boss, President Barack Obama.
But that is only half the story. ISIS also exists in Syria. How is it that the United States allowed it to survive there? Lee Smith, at Tablet magazine, points out that letting Syria fester was the intentional policy of the Obama administration — in order to cosy up to Iran.
Obama’s inaction in Syria is not simply part of the hangover from the failed American war in Iraq, or of the president’s personal psychology. There is something entirely practical at stake here, too—namely, the Iran deal. The explanation is, in fact, a simple one: U.S. intervention in Syria against Assad would have made the Iran deal impossible. In fact, U.S. support for Iran’s continuing presence in Syria was a precondition of the deal, according to no less an authority than the president himself. In a December press conference, Obama spoke of “respecting” Iranian “equities” in Syria—which, translated into plain English, means leaving Assad alone in order to keep the Iranians happy.
The connection between Syria and the Iran deal was not particularly hard to spot for anyone in the administration…. The reason that so many journalists and opinion-makers of good conscience cannot make the connection between the Iran deal and the Syrian war is because the truth is too awful. The president’s policy is not simply a matter of a lack of vision or political will. The money Iran received through the JCPOA, as well as the $1.7 billion paid in ransom for American hostages, has helped fund Iran’s war in Syria—which the president proclaimed to be Iran’s business and not ours.
The Iran deal was signed after Hillary Clinton had stepped down as Secretary of State, and important parts of it were negotiated by her successor, John F. Kerry. However, she herself claims to have had a key role in initiating this deal. She cannot escape the consequences of that role.
If Hillary Clinton had successfully negotiated a Status of Forces agreement with Iraq, a stabilizing force would have prevented Iraq from falling apart. If she had at least succeeded in negotiating freedom of movement for State Department observers, the Iraqi government’s betrayal of its promises to the tribes in western Iraq might not have festered so long as to make even ISIS seem attractive by comparison. Nor can she dodge responsibility for the American inaction in the war in Syria in which ISIS initially flourished. She herself says that she brokered the deal that made that inaction necessary from the perspective of the Obama administration.
It is true that President Obama himself bears much of the responsibility for this, perhaps even more than failed Former Secretary Clinton. Guilt, however, has this property: it can be divided without being lessened. Aid and comfort? The Islamic State would have had little enough if this woman had done her job.