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James Brownsell

Trump on Syria

The 45th president of the United States has voiced a variety of conflicting opinions [AFP]

Date of publication: 18 January, 2017

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Blog: A few of The Donald's thoughts on the six-year civil war and world's most significant humanitarian disaster...
Trying to parse Donald Trump's spoken chain-of-thought utterances into some form of meaningful sentence structure can often be a difficult task.

He veers seamlessly from subject to subject in free-flowing off-the-cuff rhetoric, and the listener must often rely on body language and insinuation in order to join the dots and grasp his meaning.

Take this example, in which I think he's trying to say that Syrian Christians had found it difficult to emigrate to the United States, and implying that was a bad thing. Yet he then appears to contradict that theme and gives a strong anti-immigration message about building his wall and "securing the borders".

Sandwiched in between those comments, he mentions that he has support from various Christian denominations, as well as among Jewish people. Or maybe that he supports them. I'm not sure. Read the quote and watch the video and see if you can tell.

"It's very hard, you know, if you're in Syria. I've heard this for years, it's amazing - even before the migration. If you're a Christian, it was almost impossible to come into the United States. Almost impossible. And yet these people were under this horrible, horrible rule and they were being decimated and killed.

"And by the way, the Evangelicals, Christians, Jews, Catholics - I have such tremendous support it's unbelievable. It's unbelievable. It's un-be-lievable. So we're gonna do things that are gonna make you very proud. And we're gonna be strong again. "A Trump administration will also secure and defend the borders of the United States, and as I said when these young, attractive people started screaming they we want the wall, we will build a wall that will make you so happy..."



He also claimed that Hillary Clinton was behind the rise of the Islamic State group.

And while she was President Obama's number one diplomat at a time when the collapse of the Baghdad government's authority over the country was fuelled by the mismanagement of the aftermath of the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq - and Washington no doubt could have done more to help Baghdad - it's a bit of a stretch to blame the whole thing on her warmongering desire to get into a fight with Trump's admirers in Moscow.

"Hillary brought death and disaster to Iraq, Syria, Libya. She empowered Iran - and she unleashed ISIS across the world, that's what she did, through incompetence, through gross incompetence. She and Obama unleashed ISIS, now she wants to start a shooting war in Syria, in conflict with a nuclear-armed Russia that could easily lead to World War Three. She's an unstable person, folks..."



Maybe it's easier to look at his tweets. When the president-elect is confined to 140 characters, he is forced to be concise. But even this shows some wildly swinging standpoints on Syria.

Having previously condemned how difficult it was for Syrian Christians to seek refuge in the United States, he then insinuates that those who do make it through an extraordinarily tough vetting process - carried out by US agencies on the ground in refugee camps in Jordan and elsewhere - are likely to be terrorists anyway.





Or maybe he thinks the devastation in Syria should be ignored by the most powerful country in the world?



And a few years ago, long before he announced his presidential run, The Donald struck a strongly anti-interventionist tone.


He also called on Washington's regional allies to play their part in the ongoing war:



Nine months after that tweet, as the Islamic State group was sweeping through Iraq, Mr Trump gave us this piece of geopolitical analysis, showing that he'd seemingly failed to grasp there is more than one armed group operating in the Middle East:



And:



And:



In that last one, it could be argued that he wasn't totally wrong. By refusing to tackle the root cause of the violence in Syria - the brutal rule of President Assad, the US was at least inadvertently assisting some pretty shady characters in Damascus and Tehran.

But it does seem that Trump has always been more keen on using whatever headlines he could generate by way of making outlandish statements to exploit Syrians to promote his campaign message and do down his opponent.





What next? We at The New Arab have been closely watching Trump's rise to power and have selected 100 of our published news pieces, features, analysis and commentary for you to catch up on, as we approach inauguration day.

Join the conversation and let us know your thoughts: @the_newarab

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