President Obama is a wonky guy in exquisite suits who seems to have a strange penchant for courting international thugs (such as the mullahs who run the oppressive and terror-exporting regime of Iran) at the expense of the good guys.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a Muslim, for example, has not only had the courage to criticize radical Islam but after the beheading of twenty-one Egyptian Coptic Christians by ISIS, al-Sisi, who had made an unprecedented visit to a Coptic Christmas Eve service, sent condolences to the Coptic community and airstrikes to the ISIS community.
Natural ally, right? The Muslim leader who eschews radical Islam and for whom we have long been waiting, right? But the Obama administration is cool to al-Sisi because he came to power in a coup against Egypt’s previously Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government. Al-Sisi is one of the U.S. allies worried about the pending nuclear deal with Iran.
“It isn’t just about Bibi,” writes Yaroslov Trofimov in a Wall Street Journal piece on the U.S. Arab allies’ fear of the nuclear deal with Iran that President Obama is so hot to sign. Al-Sisi is pictured along with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in the art accompanying Trofimov’s article.
The Saudi regime is repressive, especially to women, and I can’t think of much nice to say about it—except that it is a key U.S. ally. (Oh, and it gives to the Clinton Foundation.) The government of the United Arab Emirates is also a U.S. ally, and, according to Trofimov, along with Egypt and the Saudis, is “distraught [about the U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations], even if they lack the kind of lobbying platform that Benjamin Netanyahu was offered in Congress.”
The Wall Street Journal reports:
These nations’ ties with Washington have already frayed in recent years, dented by what many officials in the region describe as a nagging sense that America doesn’t care about this part of the world anymore.
Now, with the nuclear talks nearing a deadline, these allies—particularly in the Gulf—fret that America is about to ditch its long-standing friends to win love from their common foe, at the very moment that this foe is on the offensive across the region.
“A lot of the Gulf countries feel they are being thrown under the bus,” said Mishaal al-Gergawi, managing director of the Delma Institute in Abu Dhabi and a prominent Emirati political commentator. “The Gulf thought it was in a monogamous relationship with the West, and now it realizes it’s being cheated on because the U.S. was in an open relationship with it.”
James K. Glassman and Michael Doran in 2013 wrote a disturbing article in which they proposed that the nuclear deal with Iran was just the beginning of a longstanding plan inside the Obama administration to reconfigure the Middle East with Iran as the dominant power. Glassman and Doran wrote:
Rather than merely being feckless, the administration may actually have a long-term plan, and this initial nuclear deal is only a tactic in a broader strategy. The overall aim is a strategic partnership with Iran because the administration sees that country as the only island of stability in a sea of chaos and violence. …
Hard-bitten realists sacrifice values for stability. They make a poor tradeoff, but at least their calculation is perfectly understandable. A strategic partnership with Iran, however, is far from realistic. It represents the sacrifice of traditional allies and principles for a dream of stability that won’t be realized.
Is this far-fetched? The Obama foreign policy is like a Clinton email account—we just don’t know what we don’t know.