Trump sends Ramadan greetings, as White House orders warship to the Gulf

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Tue 7 May 2019 04:46 AM

Trump sends Ramadan greetings, as White House orders warship to the Gulf

The National Security Advisor said the move was to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime

American President Donald Trump has sent “warmest greetings” to all Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan, the same day as the White House announced it was sending a US warship to the Gulf to “send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force”.

“I send my warmest greetings to all Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan,” Trump said in a statement on the White House official website.

“Throughout this month, we all have an opportunity to reflect on the blessings we have been given and to work toward greater fellowship with one another. Together, in the spirit of Ramadan, we can achieve a more harmonious and respectful society. Melania [Trump, the US First Lady] joins me in sending our best wishes to Muslims in the United States and around the world for a blessed month of celebration.”

On the same day, the White House issued a statement from the National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton. The full statement read: “In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the US Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force.

“The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces.”

Bolton's statement did not elaborate on the motivation for the move or what the “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” were in relation to.

Last week, as part of the latest Arab Youth Survey, respondents were asked which other countries they viewed as an enemy, with 67 percent choosing Iran, 59 percent saying the US and 36 percent saying Russia.

The results found that the percentage of young Arabs who view the US as an adversary has nearly doubled since 2016. In 2016, towards the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, 32 percent said they viewed the US as an enemy. This rose to 49 percent in 2017 when Donald Trump was elected to the Oval Office and this year it stood at 59 percent.

The ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey has been running since 2008. It includes 3,300 face-to-face interviews with Arab youth aged 18 to 24 years. Interviews were carried out between January 6 and 29 in 15 Arab states, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian Territories and Yemen.