Obama’s foreign policy is alienating the “moderate” Arab world

posted at 12:11 pm on December 9, 2013 by Jeff Dunetz

Before Anwar Sadat took over, Egypt and the majority of the “moderate” Arab world were satellites of the Soviet Union. Sadat dumped the Soviets for the West, which upset the Egyptian military (but American dollars earned their love and respect). Egypt’s move enticed many of the other “moderate” Arab nations to come over to the Western side.

Under Obama, American foreign policy slowly disengaged from the Middle East and shifted emphasis to Asian interests. And what the United States was doing in the area, specifically ignoring the red line of Syrian chemical weapons and the Iranian nuclear deal, was seen by our Arab allies as signs of inconsistency and weakness.

According to Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain President Obama’s disjointed foreign policy is driving the Arab states back into the embrace of Moscow:

Citing President Obama’s handling of the recent crisis over Syria’s chemical weapons, which allowed Russian President Vladimir Putin to seize the initiative, Sheikh Salman said some states were now seriously reviewing their relations with the US.

“The Russians have proved they are reliable friends,” said Sheikh Salman, referring to Mr Putin’s diplomatic intervention to prevent Western military action against Bashar al-Assad.

“As a result some states in the region have already started to look at developing more multilateral relations rather than just relying on Washington. America seems to suffer from schizophrenia when it deals with the Arab world.”

The Washington and Cambridge-educated Sheikh Salman, 44, who also serves at Bahrain’s First Deputy Prime Minister, said America’s recent involvement in the region’s conflicts meant many Arab states now doubted whether they could rely on the West to protect their interests.

“The US cannot sit from afar making condescending judgements. It needs friends and partners to achieve its goals,” he said.

Bahrain has been upset with the United States ever since President Obama abandoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a move that also upset Saudi Arabia at the time.

The Sheikh isn’t the first Arab leader to warn Obama’s policy is damaging U.S. relations with the Arab world.

The Saudi ambassador to England, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, gave the U.S. a rare public rebuke during the initial nuclear discussions with Iran:

“Appeasement hasn’t worked in the past, and I don’t think it will work in the 21st century,” he was quoted as saying. “That is why the frustration really is toward the main players within the United Nations Security Council, that’s their responsibility. And they will share also the blame, whatever deal comes out, they are responsible for it.”

In mid-November Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia appeared on “Morning Joe” and criticized the Obama administration or not having a cohesive policy in the Middle East.  He used using the Syrian debacle where Russian President Putin outflanked the United States as an example:

The biggest concern we have in Saudi Arabia and many of the Arab countries is that we need cohesive, coherent and comprehensive policy for the Mideast. For example, when President Obama draws the red line where by the chemical weapons are used in Syria, and that red line is crossed, very bluntly and openly. Then he just reneges and blinks on that and gives Putin the chance to go back from, not the back door but from the main entrance, at least from the Middle East and Egypt, that’s scary and dangerous.

When panelist MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell disputed the Prince’s accounting there was a moment of uncomfortable silence before Alwaleed Bin Talal delivered a verbal coup de grâce:

The flip side of that is that Bashar is staying now for a long time to come. Because now, there is an unsigned contract between the United States and the regime in Syria now to get the chemical weapons. And for sure, the last thing the Obama Administration would like right now is to change the regime. Because we’re not sure if these jihadists, these terrorist jihadists take over they will not continue in that part of giving up the chemical weapons. That’s the flip side of it also. That’s where the foreign policy confusion comes up.

A key component of a good foreign policy is consistency.  Our allies need to understand what our objectives and policy is and where it is going. Obama’s vacillating, lead from behind policy has led the Arab states to look at the U.S. under this President as weak and unsure. If they end up in the embrace of Russia, the United States will be worse off for decades to come.

I don’t want to give the impression that everything this administration has done in the Middle East has been a failure. While our Arab allies may be inching away from the United States, this President has been able to accomplish something no other president has been able to achieve. Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together to squash the P5+1 deal with Iran. No other President has ever gotten Israel and the Saudis to talk to each other.

 

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Moderate arab world.

Uh…..my world map doesn’t show that place.

BobMbx on December 9, 2013 at 12:13 PM

According to Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain President Obama’s disjointed foreign policy is driving the Arab states back into the embrace of Moscow:

Moscow. Washington DC.

What’s the difference these days?

fogw on December 9, 2013 at 12:17 PM

we need cohesive, coherent and comprehensive policy

Tell them to get in line. The US was here first.

Curmudgeon on December 9, 2013 at 12:17 PM

I don’t want to give the impression that everything this administration has done in the Middle East has been a failure. While our Arab allies may be inching away from the United States, this President has been able to accomplish something no other president has been able to achieve. Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together to squash the P5+1 deal with Iran. No other President has ever gotten Israel and the Saudis to talk to each other.

How sad that the rare success of this admin in the foreign policy realm is the result of un-intended consequences.

This admin could not strategically think their way out of a paper bag. Every action is based on politics and the right now. They are the ten year old with a bag full of halloween candy…

An utter inability to delay gratification in the moment for a bigger pay off in the future

abnormal_1 on December 9, 2013 at 12:18 PM

He used using the Syrian debacle where Russian President Putin outflanked the United States as an example:

Minor typo needs fixin’

WitchDoctor on December 9, 2013 at 12:21 PM

All part of the plan.

HumpBot Salvation on December 9, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Well Obama is trying to get rid of ‘moderate’ Arabs, so its a legitimate gripe.

ajacksonian on December 9, 2013 at 12:24 PM

Barack Hussein Obama is alienating moderates while radical Muslims prosper…

Should this surprise us?

shinty on December 9, 2013 at 12:26 PM

“I won – shut up, racist”

Schadenfreude on December 9, 2013 at 12:27 PM

Did O’Donnell challenge the prince to a fistfight after the response? It seems to be MO whenever anyone points out the shortcomings of Obama…

PetecminMd on December 9, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Moderate arab world.

Uh…..my world map doesn’t show that place.

BobMbx on December 9, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Easy. The ‘Moderate Arabs’ won’t saw your infidel head off with a scimitar, they’ll just put ‘two in the hat’ and call it a day / sarc

CaptFlood on December 9, 2013 at 12:33 PM

Did O’Donnell challenge the prince to a fistfight after the response? It seems to be MO whenever anyone points out the shortcomings of Obama…

PetecminMd on December 9, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Probably not, they usually wait until their antagonist is gone before they tell their friends how they would’ve kicked his azz and how it would’ve been epic.

Flange on December 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM

TANGENTIAL TO MR. DUNENTZ’ fine post: Is anyone else revolted by the MSM’s constant attempts at deification of this sack of shitt?

I grow weary of these incessant “halo shots” of President Stool Sample. O.K., I get it. Just pucker up and kiss his metro-sexual hatchet asss already but spare us the images.

The War Planner on December 9, 2013 at 12:37 PM

obama helps his bros, always. Period.

The Saudis, under Nixon, make a deal with the US to trade oil in US dollars only.

They are now threatening to change that. It adds to the petrodollars thread from the Iranians toward obama.

While he doesn’t mind the devaluing of the US and the US dollar, the dollar would drop by about 15-20 points in one day and he would be scroomed. It’s obama’s fear now and the negotiates with Iran from this fear.

YOU will not hear this from his licking media.

Schadenfreude on December 9, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Meant to type that the Saudis are threatening to trade oil in multiple world currencies.

Schadenfreude on December 9, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Aside from obama’care’ the ‘Arab Spring’ is the biggest idiocy.

Hillary and obama own the failures.

Schadenfreude on December 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

And everyone else. Frankly, anyone who has ever been even remotely pro American in almost any way, Obama has offended or betrayed… Poland, check. UK, check. Israel, check. Japan, check. South Korea, check. Iraq, check. Mubarak, check. Iranian freedom seeking students, check. Saudi Arabia, check. Iraq, check.(This is only a partial list of course)

Now of course Putin, Ahmadinejad and any number of tin pot South American dictators… Group hug!

No surprise here.

http://www.imperfectamerica.com

imperfectamerica on December 9, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Big misreading of the situation.

This is what is actually happening:

Until now there has been a deal with the Sunni Arabs – Suez is kept open thanks to Egyptian “peace” with Israel, the Saudis & Gulf States sell their oil ONLY in US Dollars, and in exchange the US supports their dictatorships, extends it’s nuclear umbrella to them, and protects them from Iran. It’s a rotten system, but it has been US policy for 40 years.

This is the first US administration in which the institutional knowledge of the “way it works” with the Sunni Arabs is completely, utterly gone.

The first evidence was when the US administration hesitated during the “Arab spring” and eventually supported the brotherhood over Mubarak.

Soon, largely exiting Iraq, the administration left a Shiite coalition in charge.

Then, the US did not intervene in Syria on the Sunni side, leaving the Shiite-aligned (actually Alawite) Assad in charge.

Now, the US administration is opening up to Iran, and the Arabs are just about ready to jump back into the laps of the Russians if it goes on much longer. If they start accepting Euro/Rubble/Yuan/Yen for oil, then the USD collapses.

You also have the ironic phenomenon of Israel making common cause with the Arabs over the Iran issue. And yet, Iran is a “natural” ally for Israel, while the Arabs are natural enemies. Israel basically has Stockholm syndrome vis-à-vis the US, and doesn’t even realize that US policy unravelling is not a bad thing for them, given the policy involved tying them down in the worst possible status-quo against an enemy they had already defeated.

This is not a matter of moderate vs radical muslims. That is just nonsense.

ebrawer on December 9, 2013 at 12:45 PM

The Obama Doctrine: Epic Failure on All Fronts.

AZCoyote on December 9, 2013 at 12:51 PM

I don’t want to give the impression that everything this administration has done in the Middle East has been a failure. While our Arab allies may be inching away from the United States, this President has been able to accomplish something no other president has been able to achieve. Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together to squash the P5+1 deal with Iran. No other President has ever gotten Israel and the Saudis to talk to each other.

I seem to remember a bit of covert Israeli help to Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm.

Steve Eggleston on December 9, 2013 at 1:09 PM

‘Toon of the Day: Kamikaze

Resist We Much on December 9, 2013 at 12:47 PM

That reminds me – South Korea extended their air-defense zone to cover one of their research platforms the ChiComs claimed the airspace over. Said extended zone also overlaps Japan’s zone.

Steve Eggleston on December 9, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Like any of Obama’s policies, this too is directed to hurt Americans and America. This is also doing great damage to the west in general is just the cherry on top. As in all of our progressive presidents, this will end in world war and hundreds of millions dead.

jukin3 on December 9, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Did McCain ghost write this article?

DDay on December 9, 2013 at 1:12 PM

This is the only positive to come out of Obama. America takes the big Saudi phallus out of their mouth by mistake.

BL@KBIRD on December 9, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Our friends and allies see that the policies of this President are far closer to those our their, and our, enemies than with a shared concern over the authoritarians waging a religious and ideological war against the secular / western civilization.

They also see the effects of appeasement, and unlike the naive feckless President, know the results of appeasement as taught by history.

Athos on December 9, 2013 at 1:22 PM

The number of “Arab Moderates” is only exceeded by the 27 people who watch MSNBC, though that number may have changed with the sacking of Martin Bashir.

Another Drew on December 9, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Bahrain has been upset with the United States ever since President Obama abandoned Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a move that also upset Saudi Arabia at the time.

Bahrain and Saudi Arabia could certainly relate to Mubarak. All live(d) in constant fear of the Arab Street invading the Royal Palace.

They put forth two faces: One that hates America (for public consumption by the Arab Street) and one that ‘embraces’ America behind closed doors for protection.

So, I having a hard evoking feeling sympathy for any of the players. Can’t we get a DWS topic on HA soon? I need something meaningful to do.

Tsar of Earth on December 9, 2013 at 1:43 PM

As I’ve said about this administration before.

“No worse ally, no better enemy.”

The_Livewire on December 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Moderate Arab = jumbo shrimp=government intelligence.. Now I get it

jaywemm on December 9, 2013 at 3:25 PM

I for one am relieved that Lawerence O’Donnell has such a better grasp of what is happening in the Middle East than does Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

Conservative in NOVA on December 9, 2013 at 5:16 PM

MHP sez calling this the Obama Doctrine is racist because it was so designated by old white guys.

AH_C on December 10, 2013 at 5:28 PM