Tags: Hoekstra | Obama | Mideast | Israel

Hoekstra Lambastes Obama's Mideast Policy as 'Muddled'

By Dan Weil and Kathleenn Walter   |   Wednesday, 15 Jun 2011 08:51 AM

President Barack Obama has a very weak and inconsistent policy toward the Mideast, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra tells Newsmax.TV.

“His message in the Mideast is very muddled,” said the Michigan Republican, who once was the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

Israel is a case in point. During a recent speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama was “very pro Israel,” Hoekstra said.

But in May, Obama gave a speech at the State Department in which he mentioned basing Mideast negotiations on pre-1967 borders and on land swaps. “You look at that speech and say, ‘Wow, the president was selling Israel out!”

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Hoekstra is none too impressed with Obama’s policy on Iran, either. “We’re supporting reform movements — the Arab Spring — in a number of countries,” said Hoekstra, who was in Congress from 1993-2011.

“But 1½ to two years ago, when the green movement of reformists in Iran was [working] against the ayatollah and president, our president kept an arm’s distance and more or less supported the regime,” he said.

“I don’t think this president is at all serious about the threat from Iran.” And Hoekstra doesn’t think Obama would offer any support for a pre-emptive strike against Iran.

Separately, enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding “absolutely” helped intelligence officials track down Osama bin Laden, he said.

“Everything we put in place created a mosaic — enhanced interrogation techniques, the terrorist surveillance program, financing tracking, predator drone attacks. That’s what got us to bin Laden last month.”

It took almost 10 years for our military to reach bin Laden, Hoekstra notes. “I can only imagine how much longer it would have taken us to find him if we didn’t have the advantage of enhanced interrogation.”

And the killing of bin Laden certainly doesn’t end the terrorist threat, he noted.

“The next 18 months will be a very dangerous period,” Hoekstra said. “There will be those within al-Qaida who want to avenge the death of bin Laden.”

The turmoil in Yemen is a problem, too, he said. “It means our ability to go after al-Qaida on the Arabian Peninsula is diminished. It gives them more of a safe haven to plan attacks against the United States. We know they want to attack, and they will.”

Fortunately, the military, the CIA, the FBI, and other law enforcement authorities are better equipped to fight Muslim terrorists than 10 years ago, keeping us much safer, Hoekstra says.

“But the threat to America continues to be very real. These folks only have to miss one threat-stream for al-Qaida to be successful.”

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