Middle East rights activists, dismayed by Obama, fear Trump will be much worse

The Washington Post reports: Human rights activists fighting a wave of repression across the Middle East are bracing for an American president they fear will empower autocrats and roll back U.S. support for democracy initiatives in the region.

President-elect Donald Trump has shown little regard for human rights issues, activists say, and has praised authoritarian leaders in countries including Turkey and Egypt.

The Obama administration — which sold arms to despots in the region even as it cracked down on opponents — has disappointed many rights advocates. But President Obama has also pressed Middle East governments to curb abuses and enact democratic change.

Trump, by contrast, has not only lauded some of the region’s strongmen but also called for torturing terrorism suspects and killing the families of Islamic State fighters as a way to defeat the extremist group. His rhetoric has alarmed local human rights defenders who say their situation is tenuous enough already. [Continue reading…]

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