LONDON: Donald Trump highlighted his Middle East achievements in a farewell address to the nation on the last day of his presidency.
The outgoing president pointed to deals to restore ties between Israel and Arab countries and the defeat of Daesh during a four year term that saw him reengage US foreign policy in the region.
The US’s “maximum pressure” campaign after Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal crippled Iran’s economy and blacklisted dozens of officials and entities.
Trump’s speech, which was released on Tuesday, the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration, noted his tough stance against the regime in Tehran.
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“We stood up to the oppressive Iranian regime and killed the world’s top terrorist, Iranian butcher Qassem Soleimani,” Trump said.
Soleimani oversaw Iran’s operations overseas, including training militias and smuggling weapons. He was killed in a US air strike at Baghdad airport one year ago.
Trump also referred to the killing of Daesh chief Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in October 2019 by US special forces after he was tracked down in northern Syria.
“We obliterated the ISIS (Daesh) caliphate and ended the wretched life of its founder and leader, Al-Baghdadi.”
But perhaps Trump considers the Abraham Accord deals between Israel and Arab countries including the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, as his biggest achievement in the region.
The deals came after his administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, sparking fury from Palestinians.
They were also angered by the Abraham Accords, and Trump’s efforts, led by his senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, to find a way out of the conflict that has blighted the Middle East for decades.
“As a result of our bold diplomacy and principled realism, we achieved a series of historic peace deals in the Middle East,” Trump said. “Nobody believed it could happen. The Abraham Accords opened the doors to a future of peace and harmony, not violence and bloodshed. It is the dawn of a new Middle East, and we are bringing our soldiers home.”