Obama’s “historic” 15-minute phone call with the ostensibly moderate Iranian president Rouhani, the white house says it won’t be suckered by the Iranian, American allies aren’t buying it.
Netanyahu made his skepticism known tha the way to deal with the Iranians and their nuclear program is to “distrust, dismantle and verify.” American allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council—Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman are playing is closer to their vests that the Israelis, sharing their grievances with the adm., in much less public settings.
Tariq ak-Homaved a columnist for Asharg al Awsat, said “GCC officials are all very diplomatic but when you talk to some of them, they say it clearly. They see the adm, approach to Iran in light if its confusing Syria policy. When asked one senior GCC official what he thought about obama’s Syria policy and he responded, “What day is it today, what hour? Because in half an hour th4e white house will have another position.’ With Iran they’ve worried about the adm falling into the Tehran regimes games”.
Obama is taking Khanenei’s supposed fatwa against nuclear weapons seriously is patently absurd to Iran’s Arab neighbors. The Brookings Institute, Micael Dorna said the American allies in the Middle East do not trust Obama. “They are restrained in expressing it openly. Their fear is that if they show publicly how much they distrust the WH they are likely to get even less of what they want. So whatever criticism we are hearing publicity raise that to the power of 10 and you get a sense of where our allies are.” The GCC is preparing for the possibility that, after 70 year’s of dominance, American may be bowing out of the Persian Gulf.
Arabs assume that the USA is withdrawing from the region at least for time being. Gulf states are taking matters into their own hands. “The idea is that we did it with Egypt.” Explains Homayed, referring to the support and money the GCC states poured into Cairo after General Adbel Fattah al Sisi overthrew Morsi. The WH declined to stake out a position, “so why wait on obama with Syria says Homayed.
With the WH leaving a vacuum in Syria, Bandar has wrested control of the rebel forces form Qatar and lined up the UAE and Jordan as useful allies. This is precisely the sort of alliances building that, up until now had been the role of the US.
Without Washington, the Arabs are looking to hedge their bets, for sources say that Kuwait has socked away several billion dollars as a future gift to ingratiate itself with either Iran or Russian, depending on who winds up winning the regional sweepstakes now that the WH doesn’t want to play Bandar’s much publicized recent visit to Moscow, where he offered to buy $15 billion worth of Russian arms if only Putin would scale back his support for Syria. This was meant to get obama’s attention!
Relations between Israel and the Gulf States, especially Saudi Araba and the UAE have never been warmer with key albeit unnamed Arab officials reportedly visiting Jerusalem for high level consolations on Iran. “Israel” says Homayed “is the most important player in the Middle East right now regarding Iran.
By 2005 Iran had replaced Saudi Arabia as the primary funder of Hamas and leading members of the royal family like Prince Nayef repudiated the Muslim Brotherhood. A huge shift in Saudi policy which narrowed the degree of conflict it had with Israel. As the Iranian threat became even more apparent, Gold explains Israel and Arab interest further converged. “The GCC countries face a situation very similar to Israel “. Israel is encircled by Iranian supported insurgencies—Hezbollah to the north and Hamas to the south, In comparison the GCC faces an Iranian backed insurgency in Yeman and Iranian backed Shia government running Saudi Arabia’s northern neighbor Iraq.
Obama’s legacy in the Middle East will be to have driven Israel and the GCC into each other’s arms; the reality is that it’s not clear how durable this relationship can be. Homayed acknowledges that while Israel is the most important actor in the region right now, it still needs the WH on its side against Iran.
Riyadh would come under attack regionally and domestically for making common cause with a people typically described as enemies of Islam’.
It’s not obvious that the Saudi have anything Israel really needs. By holding Rouhani in a close embrace as his partner in resolving the nuclear issue, Obama has effectively erected an antimissile defense around Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Sources—weekly standard, lee smith, and above