Joe Biden is right on in his remarks on extremists

When did telling the truth become a gaffe? Despite White House clarifications, Vice President Biden was absolutely right in pointing out the role of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates in enabling extremism in the Middle East (“Biden calls key Arab leader to clarify remarks,” Page A4, Oct. 6). Could it be that all those calling the vice president’s statement a gaffe or rebutting it have their own political agendas?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a great friend and supporter of Syria’s Bashar Assad until they had a falling out. Then Erdogan turned a blind eye as extremists from all over passed across Turkey’s border into Syria to fight Assad. And for decades, the Saudis and the Emirates have been bankrolling extremist groups, first to undermine the government of Iraq and then to fight Syria.

The irony is that the sheiks have never understood that the real goal of these extremists is to bite the hand that has been feeding them, by toppling the leaders’ rule in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates.


The truth might be inconvenient and embarrassing to Turkey, the Saudis, the Emirates, and all the chattering classes, but the vice president is telling it like it is.

Fariborz S. Fatemi
McLean, Va.

The writer is a former professional staff member at the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.