"Bashar al-Assad clearly doesn't care what the United States thinks any more"

President Barack Obama’s early hopes of brokering an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal have foundered.

And U.S. blunders in Iraq, where violence persists nine years after a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, have also eroded U.S. credibility, Middle East analysts said.

“When questions become ones of life and death, people are less interested in what the United States has to say,” said Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington…

On March 23, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released $1.3 billion in annual military aid for Egypt despite Cairo’s failure to meet pro-democracy goals, saying U.S. national security required the continued military assistance.

“The United States had leverage to exert; it chose not to,” Dunne said. “Influence is only influence if you choose to exert it.”