Middle East

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Donald Trump

Trump's Middle East (section page):

On Waterboarding

"I would bring back waterboarding and I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding."(RD-8)


  • "I was totally against the war in Iraq and I was from the beginning, 2003, 2004 because you're going to destabilize the Middle East and I was right and should be given credit. Because that of everybody running, I'm the one person that said don't do it." (DTI)


  • "If Iran was a stock you should go out and buy it, cause you'll quadruple." (RD1)
  • Renegotiate Iran Nuclear Deal - Increase Sanctions & Ask for Prisoners Back
    • "I've never seen something so incompetently negotiated -- and I mean never" - September 2015 Tea Party Rally (DTS)
    • "“I think the deal is horrible,” Mr. Trump told Fox Business Network. “I think the deal is absolutely horrible for us, but it’s really, really bad for Israel.”" (DTI)
    • "The billionaire businessman said American negotiators should have began the process by insisting on getting the prisoners back. He said Iran would have refused, but afterward, “you double and triple up your sanctions” and it would change Iran’s tune."(DTI)
  • US Prisoners in Iran
    • Took credit for release of four US prisoners because he's been "hitting [Iran] hard." (DTI)
    • "In Iran deal we get 4 prisoners. They get $150 billion, 7 most wanted and many off watch list. This will create great incentive for others!" - (17 Jan 16) (DTT)


  • "Let Syria and ISIS fight. Why do we care? Let ISIS and Syria fight. And let Russia, they're in Syria already, let them fight ISIS." (DTI)

Bernie Sanders

Bernie's Middle East (section page)

  • "I'm the former chairman of the Senate Veterans Committee, and in that capacity I learned a very powerful lesson about the cost of war, and I will do everything that I can to make sure that the United States does not get involved in another quagmire like we did in Iraq, the worst foreign policy blunder in the history of this country. We should be putting together a coalition of Arab countries who should be leading the effort. We should be supportive, but I do not support American ground troops in Syria." (DD1)
  • "I support air strikes in Syria and what the president is trying to do." (DD1)
  • "I believe that the United States has the moral responsibility with Europe, with Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia to make sure that when people leave countries like Afghanistan and Syria with nothing more than the clothing on their back that, of course, we reach out." (DD2)
  • "I'm running for president because I want a new foreign policy; one that takes on Isis, one that destroys ISIS, but one that does not get us involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East but rather works around a major coalition of wealthy and powerful nations supporting Muslim troops on the ground. That's the kind of coalition we need and that's the kind of coalition I will put together" (DD3)
  • Bernie Sanders supports the Iran Nuclear Deal as a way to give peace a chance prevent war in the Middle East which would endanger American lives. (WPI)
  • “Israel has a right to exist in security, and at the same time the Palestinians have a state of their own.” (FTBI)

Chris Christie

Christie | Middle East | (section page)

  • "She (Hillary Clinton) put American intelligence officers at risk for her convenience" (regarding Clinton's e-mail scandal) (RD7)

Mr. Christie said in April that American combat troops might be needed to fight the Islamic State. “We have to be willing as Americans to say, if need be, we’ll also put soldiers into the fight.” He said he had “grave concerns” about a potential deal with Iran to curb its nuclear program, saying that an agreement would lead other Middle East nations to develop nuclear abilities, and that Tehran, as a state sponsor of terrorism, has “no basis to have earned our trust.” He has been sharply critical of President Obama’s warming of ties with Cuba, and of Americans who travel there, saying Cubans “can’t vote, they can’t speak, they can’t own property.” Addressing Russia’s support of separatist rebels in Ukraine, he said that Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, would be more fearful of him than of Mr. Obama. “I don’t believe, given who I am, that he would make the same judgment,” he said last summer. (NYT)

Iran Nuclear Deal

Christie opposes the pending nuclear deal with Iran, calling it “the single biggest disaster in the seven years of the Obama administration.” He claims that President Obama is pursuing the deal because he has “an absolutely quenchless thirst to have his name in the history books.” As for Iran:

“They’re the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. They say ‘Death to America’ on a regular basis. They want to blow Israel off the map. And this president wants to give them the ability to get nuclear weapons? It is outrageous. It is immoral what’s happening. He should walk away from that table, and by the way, if we don’t have enough guts to do it, our allies should walk away from the table.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that Christie would tear up any deal on his first day in the Oval Office, as most of his GOP rivals have pledged to do:

“I’m not one of those guys who’s going to say to you, ‘On Day One, I will abrogate the agreement.… On Day One, I will look into and try to decide what to do with the agreement, depending on where we are at that moment. Because, by the way, it’s not just us involved anymore. We have a number of our allies around the world who’re at that table as well, and sanctions are most effective when not only we do it, but the other allies do it.” (Newsweek)

“When I stand across from King Hussein of Jordan and I say to him, ‘You have a friend again sir, who will stand with you to fight this fight,’ he’ll change his mind.”(NP) King Hussein died in 1999

Simplified Quotes
  • Push Russia out of Middle East; establish US dominance. (Oct 2015)
  • Arm Emiratis, Jordanians, & others before sending US troops. (Aug 2015)
  • America should be clear to world about what we stand for. (Feb 2014)
  • New isolationism, & reducing anti-terrorism, is dangerous. (Jul 2013)

(OTI:FP) Full quotes available on source.

Rand Paul

Paul's Middle East (section page)

U.S. Involvement in Middle East

  • Against sending troops/fighting battles in Middle East

"The Kurds deserve to be armed and I'll arm them. But the boots on the ground need to be the people who live there. Why are we always the world's patsies that we have to go over there and fight their wars for them? We need to defend American interests, but it is not in America's national security interests to have another war in Iraq." (OTI - ME)

  • Believes U.S. intervention in Libya strengthened Islamic State
  • Proposed a bill called the "Stand with Israel Act" to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority. As long as the Palestinian Authority is allied with Hamas not one more tax dollar should flow to them
  • Cut foreign aid to most countries, including Israel

(OTI - ME)

Standing with Israel

"I’m proud to support Israel, America’s longtime friend and ally in the Middle East. Israeli cafés and buses are bombed, towns are victimized by hundreds of rockets, and its citizens are attacked by Palestinian terrorists. It’s time we took a stand for Israel by standing up to the enemies of Israel, the enemies that murder Israeli citizens. That’s why I proposed a bill called the “Stand with Israel Act” to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority. As long as the Palestinian Authority is allied with Hamas not one more tax dollar should flow to them." (RPW - ME)

Foreign Policy in General

"I believe that one of the primary functions of the Federal Government is national security. As a Senator, one of the most important votes I could make is on a declaration of war. As Commander-in-Chief, the importance of this decision would not be overlooked. If the military action is justified and there is no other course of action, I would follow the Constitution and seek Congressional approval before sending our brave men and women into harm's way." (RPW - ME)

"The Founding Fathers understood the seriousness of war and thus included in our Constitution a provision stating that only Congress can declare war. We must maintain this important check and balance and the decision to wage war should not be taken lightly." (RPW - ME)

"I believe in Ronald Reagan’s “Peace through Strength.” I will continue to stand with Israel and our allies abroad, and I vow to explore all diplomatic options before sending our armed forces into battle. Finally, if and when we choose to fight, we will empower our military to fight to win." (RPW - ME)

Ted Cruz

Cruz's Middle East (section page)

International Terrorism

  • Introduced the Terrorist Refugee Infiltration Prevention Act of 2015, immediately barring refugees to the United States from any country, such as Iraq or Syria that contains substantial territory controlled by a foreign terrorist organization (TCWDN)
  • Chaired a hearing titled “Justice Forsaken: How the Federal Government Fails the American Victims of Iranian and Palestinian Terrorism.” (TCWDN)
  • Really wants the president, and will do so as president, to utter the words "radical Islamic terrorism" (TCWDN)
  • Wants the US to recognize the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas as terrorist organizations (TCWDN)
  • When asked where he fit on the spectrum of Republican views on foreign policy, with Rand Paul (isolationist) at one end and John McCain (active interventionist) at the other he said, “I consider myself somewhere in between those two poles." [1](Stripes)
  • Wants to “bomb [ISIS] back to the Stone Age” (FOX)
  • "ISIS right now is the face of evil. They’re crucifying Christians, they’re persecuting Christians.” (Atlantic)
  • Does not support any US training of the moderate opposition in Syria (NATR)

"We will carpet bomb [ISIS] into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out."(PF)

Iran Deal

  • Cruz vehemently opposes the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Huff Post - Iran)
  • "This deal makes war certainty" (Huff Post - Iran)
  • Deal is "catastrophic" (Huff Post - Iran)
  • "The #IranDeal will facilitate and accelerate the nation of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons" (deemed by sources as an untrue statement)

(Politifact - Iran)

Supporting Israel

  • Will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided capital of Israel and the US embassy will be moved there (TCWSWI)
  • Readdress US Policy in regards to Palestine; divert any American funds going there (TCWSWI)
  • Consider defunding the UN for showing anti-Israel bias or American universities that boycott Israel (TCWSWI)
  • Supports Israel's Iron Dome Program (TCWSWI)

Ben Carson

Carson's Middle East (section page)

Carson's Seven Step Plan for a Safer America

"We must destroy their caliphate and prevent their terrorists from infiltrating our homeland. We must also secure our borders, identify radical Islamic extremism by name and root out its agents and collaborators in our own country." (BCWCAIR)

  1. Calls on Congress to issue declaration of war against Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) (BCWCAIR)
  2. United States should lead the immediate formation of a military coalition in the Middle East to wage war against ISIS. He proposes a regional coalition consisting of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, to whom the United States would provide substantial advisory, financial and military support in their war efforts. (BCWCAIR)
  3. Establish a military force of Sunni Syrian men based in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf and of Sunni Syrian male refugees in Jordan to destroy ISIS and to establish a protection zone for the victims of the terrorist state. (BCWCAIR)
  4. The United States should deploy its military resources and work with moderate Arab nations to establish a refugee safe zone in the Province. All refugees should be directed to that free area and to other liberated areas later, and be put under international protection. (BCWCAIR)
  5. Congress should immediately establish a war-time emergency visa and immigration policy and limit visitor visas to three months with mandatory check-ins for extensions no longer than three months. (BCWCAIR)
  6. Deploy the National Guard and military troops to patrol the U.S. southern border as well as designated spots along the northern border. (BCWCAIR)
  7. The Department of State should designate the Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations that propagate or support Islamic terrorism as terrorist organizations. (BCWCAIR)

Congress must be involved in Iran deal. U.S. should listen to and consider Netanyahu’s words

  • In his CPAC remarks this year, Carson expressed concern that the Shia-led government in Iran may be more dangerous than the Islamic State militant group. On CNN, he was critical of President Obama’s negotiations with Iran, saying Congress needed a strong role in the process. On Israel, Carson has said the U.S. must staunchly back its ally. He supported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. (PBS)

Investigate Council on American Islamic Relations

  • Carson claims "CAIR has repeatedly and openly expressed support for terrorism, disdain for the U.S. Constitution and a desire for America to be ruled under Sharia law." (BCWCAIR)
  • "We should also press the leaders of CAIR to explain their devotion to Sharia law and their eagerness to impose Islam on Americans. We cannot afford to remain wilfully blind to the threats posed by terrorist-affiliated groups in our own backyard. As president, I will fight terror aggressively, no matter how politically incorrect or difficult it may be." (BCWCAIR)

Rick Santorum

Rick's Middle East (section page)

How to combat ISIS

  • "We need to take back the land in Iraq and we need to use Sunni, not Shiites, not Iranian troops, not Shiite Iraqis, but Sunni Muslims in Iraq and the Kurds, the Peshmerga, and take back Iraqi land. I believe if we did that, you would see ISIS begin to collapse." (CNNRUD)

A nuclear Iran is the end

  • "We have entered World War III. World War III has begun and we have a leader who refuses to identify it and be truthful to the American people to the stakes that are involved, in part, because his policies have led us here. His policy toward Iran lit the fuse of a nuclear Iran." (CNNRUD)
  • "For 12 years, I have been laser-beam focused on the issue of Iran with a nuclear weapon... they believe in bringing about the end of the world. That's their theological goal and we are in the process of giving them a nuclear weapon to do just that. That's why, on day one, I would say to the Iranian government, you open up all of these facilities for inspection, you make them available to the UN & to the US, everything, we can go everywhere or else we will take out those facilities. And when people say, "you're going to start a war," my response is, "no, I'm going to stop a war because a nuclear Iran is the end." (OTIWP)

Carly Fiorina

Fiorina's Middle East (section page)

Would call Iran on first day of office, call off nuke deal

  • "My second call will be to the Supreme Leader of Iran. He might not take the call, but he will get the message. I will tell him: new deal. Unless and until Iran opens itself to full and unfettered inspections of all nuclear and military facilities, we are going to make it very hard for Iran to move money around the global financial system." (CFWP)

Familiar with Middle Eastern leaders

  • Fiorina said, ""I know Bibi Netanyahu," and "I know King Abdullah of Jordan," as a way to critique the Obama Administration's policies in the Middle East. (OTI)
  • Told Hillary Clinton to "Please, name an accomplishment," arguing that traveling the world doesn't count as one. Essentially, Fiorina was arguing that a long political resume doesn't necessarily mean a candidate is qualified--and suggesting that her short one shouldn't disqualify her. (OTI)

Calls for more arms to Middle East

  • "The Egyptians are asking us to share intelligence, we are not, I will. The Kurds have asked us to arm them for three years, we are not, I would. The Egyptians, the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Bahrainis, the Emirati, the Kurds--all of these understand ISIS is their fight, but they must see leadership support and resolve from the United States of America. We have the strongest military on the face of the planet, and everyone has to know it." (RD4)

John Kasich

Kasich | Middle East | (section page)

Defeat ISIS:

Wiping ISIS off the map requires a complex, collaborative strategy involving mutual defense action by NATO—as well as regional allies—in the wake of the attack on France, intensifying international intelligence cooperation, increasing support to the highly-effective Kurdish military, creating safe havens and no-fly zones, combating human trafficking in refugees, a NATO & regional coalition with ground troops, and more aggressively fighting the war of ideas to discredit ISIS. (JKWAS)

Martin O'Malley

O'Malley's Middle East (section page)

Foreign Policy

  • Adapt national security institutions to better anticipate fast-emerging threats (MOW-FP)
  • "Engage with a new generation of leaders from different walks of life—often in hostile environments where we lack historic ties; where we lack relationships" (MOW-FP)]
  • Create a more far-sighted and proactive foreign policy based on engagement and collaboration (MOW-FP)]


  • "Negotiations are the best way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon" (MOW-FP)]
    • Supports a verifiable, enforceable, tightly-monitored nuclear deal


  • "Containing, degrading, and defeating ISIS will require an integrated approach" (MOW-FP)]
    • Focus on both military power and political solutions
    • Amplify credible, local voices in the region and counter ISIS propaganda
    • Encourage the Iraqi government to govern more inclusively


  • Supports a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine (PBS)


  • Opposes a no-fly zone over Syria (CNN)
  • Believes that the U.S. should accept 65,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016 (CNN)

Jeb Bush

Bush's Middle East (section page)


"We need to embed our forces -- our troops inside the Iraqi military. We need to arm directly the Kurds. And all of that has to be done in concert with the Arab nations." (RD-5)

"We must support the Iraqi forces, including directly arming the Kurdish Peshmerga and re-engaging with the Sunni tribes." (JBW-DI)


"We should have a no fly zone in Syria. We should have a support for the remnants of the Syrian Free Army, and create safe zones. If you want to deal with the four million refugees that are leaving Syria because of the devastation there, then we 'ought to create safe zones for them to stay in the region rather than go to Europe. And, that requires American leadership." (RD-4)

"A coordinated, international effort is essential to give Syria’s moderate forces the upper hand against both ISIS and Assad."(JBW-DI)

On being the worlds policemen

"We're not going to be the world's policeman, but we sure as heck better be the world's leader. That's a huge difference where, without us leading, voids are filled, and the idea that it's a good idea for Putin to be in Syria, let ISIS take out Assad, and then Putin will take out ISIS? I mean, that's like a board game, that's like playing Monopoly or something. That's not how the real world works." (OTI-FP)

Mike Huckabee

Huckabee's Middle East (section page)

Foreign Policy

Rebuild America’s military superiority. The best way to avoid conflict is to build a lethal fighting force so strong and powerful that no one would dare mess with us.

Restore our role as leader of the Free World. Our enemies no longer fear us and our allies no longer trust or respect us.

Reject Obama’s crisis-management approach to the world. We need a President who will accept responsibility and lead.

As President, I will lead with moral clarity in a dangerous world. Moral clarity is the foundation to our economic and military strength.(HHWNS)


"In a world of uncertainty, evil, and moral insanity, Israel is a shining light of moral clarity. The enemies of Israel are the enemies of America. Sadly, this Administration spends more time berating Israel for building houses in the lands given to Abraham than telling the Iranians to stop building bombs pointed at us. As President, I will:

  • Stand with the Jewish people in our shared fight against Radical Islam.
  • Support a unified Jerusalem.
  • Confront and stop Iran—this Administration’s willingness to trust Iran and undermine Israel is unprecedented and wrong.
  • Support Israel in the fight for peace, religious freedom, and human rights."(MHWI)

Hillary Clinton

Clinton's Middle East (section page):

  • No-fly zone in Syria, but no American troops on the ground (OTI)
    • We don't want American troops on the ground in Syria. We had to put together a coalition, and that it should include Arabs, people in the region. (OTI)
    • We are already flying in Syria just as we are flying in Iraq. I have advocated that the no-fly zone--which of course would be in a coalition--be put on the table, to figure out what leverage we have to get Russia to the table. Diplomacy is not about the perfect solution; it's about how you balance the risks. (DD1) (OTI)
  • Not helping Free Syrian Army left vacuum for ISIS to fill (OTI)
    • The failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad---there were Islamists, there were secularists, there was everything in the middle---the failure to do that left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled. (Source: Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic , Aug 10, 2014 ) (OTI)

Marco Rubio

Rubio's Middle East (section page)


  • "These guys are not going to turn into stockbrokers overnight or open up a chain of car washes. They need to be defeated militarily" (RD7)

Wants to undo the deal with Iran the first day in office

  • Wants to use military force as a credible threat against Iran if it decides to proceed with its nuclear program (MRWISIS)

Military Strategy

  • Build a multinational coalition willing to send troops and support (MRWISIS)
  • Increase the number of American troops on the grounds to partner with allies and fight ISIS (MRWISIS)
  • Increase the number of Airstrikes in Syria and Iraq (MRWISIS)
  • Align with Sunni and Kurdish forces (MRWISIS)
  • Target ISIS’ financial reserves (MRWISIS)

Political Strategy

  • Broadcast American victories (MRWISIS)
  • Work with Baghdad to increase Sunni inclusion (MRWISIS)
  • Advocate and protect religious minorities in the region (MRWISIS)
  • Publicize and Expose ISIS’ war crimes (MRWISIS)
  • Halt new admissions of refugees (MRWISIS)
  • Enhance the security screening of the visa program (MRWISIS)