For much of the past five years these pages have been critical of President Obama’s foreign policy, especially in the Middle East. It would be unfair if we neglected to mention a great Middle East accomplishment of the Obama Administration. This President has been able to do something no other President has been able to do, bring together Saudi Arabia and Israel.
On Friday, Prince Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia commented on the then proposed deal:
He notes this startling alliance of Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, custodian of Islam’s holiest sites, and the Jewish state. “For the first time, Saudi Arabian interests and Israel are almost parallel,” he says, his voice rising. “It’s incredible.”
The prince stops short of endorsing an Israeli military strike on Iran, but in the same breath says he thinks a military option to “neutralize” Iran’s nuclear potential is preferable to a bad diplomatic deal.
The day after signing a deal with Iran, President Obama finally got around to calling Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. And according to sources gave him an earful.
“The prime minister made it clear to the most powerful man on earth that if he intends to stay the most powerful man on earth, it’s important to make a change in American policy because the practical result of his current policy is liable to lead him to the same failure that the Americans absorbed in North Korea and Pakistan, and Iran could be next in line,” Likud Beytenu MK Tzachi Hanegbi told the Knesset Channel.
Saudi Arabia had been more low profile in its opposition, but its diplomats have been quietly briefing the US media about the dangers posed by Iran.
But yesterday, they brought their objection out into the open, big time. Yesterday after the deal was made Nawaf Obaid., a senior adviser to the Saudi royal family has accused the West of deception in striking the nuclear accord with Iran and said Riyadh would follow an independent foreign policy.
Nawaf Obaid told a think tank meeting in London that Saudi Arabia was determined to pursue its own foreign and policy goals. Having in the past been reactive to events, the leading Sunni Muslim nation was determined to be pro-active in future.
Mr Obaid said that while Saudi Arabia knew that the US was talking directly to Iran through a channel in the Gulf state of Oman, Washington had not directly briefed its ally.
“We were lied to, things were hidden from us,” he said. “The problem is not with the deal struck in Geneva but how it was done.”
Last week there were reports that Israel and Saudi Arabia were working together on a plan to militarily attack the Iranian nuclear program. Whether or not that is true (neither side will ever acknowledge it publicly) what can be said is Israel and Saudi Arabia are speaking with one voice on the issue of Iranian nukes.
While there are attacks on the deal Obama made with the Iranians which IMHO are all true, and the deal does make the world more dangerous, what can be said is it created an alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia. I does not matter that any alliance may be blown up by an Iranian nuclear attack. It should be seen as an Obama accomplishment.
Who says President Obama has accomplished nothing in the Middle East?