Saudi Arabia Calls Oâ€‹ut President Obama
by … Donna Cole
In an unusually strong diplomatic move, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United Kingdom takes to the pages of The New York Times to voice his displeasure with President Obama’s foreign policy writing a piece titled “Saudi Arabia Will Go It Alone.” Make no mistake here, this is not only his personal displeasure, as a member of the Saudi royal family he takes his orders from the king. This is the entire Saudi government’s displeasure. Also, the fact they feel the need to voice this in such a public way shows they do not believe they are being heard by the White House, and they want to spark conversation in the American press. Stir the pot so to speak.
Now, the ambassador never mentions the president by name, he uses terms like “our Western partners”, but who this message is for is plain as day. The main point of this piece is to say the Saudis can no longer rely on the United States, who he notes “Saudi Arabia has been friends with…for decades”, and they will do what they need to do to protect themselves without asking Mother may I? This includes ending (winning) the Syrian war by getting rid of Assad, and dealing with Iran’s nukes (and regime) if and when necessary.
The Saudi’s have an interesting take on Al Qaeda terrorists in Syria that is worth mentioning. The ambassador says, “Al Qaedaâ€™s activities (in Syria) are a symptom of the international communityâ€™s failure to intervene.” In other words, President Obama’s inaction left a void and Al Qaeda filled it. He continues with, “The way to prevent the rise of extremism in Syria â€” and elsewhere â€” is to support the champions of moderation: financially, materially and yes, militarily, if necessary.” That “elsewhere” is Iran.
In conclusion the ambassador lays out the truth for any doubters, “Saudi Arabia will continue on this new track (doing what we need to do) for as long as proves necessary. We expected to be standing shoulder to shoulder with our friends and partners who have previously talked so much about the importance of moral values in foreign policy. But this year, for all their talk of â€œred lines,â€ when it counted, our partners have seemed all too ready to concede our safety and risk our regionâ€™s stability.” OUCH! President Obama, the Saudi’s just called you out big time! That statement is about as strong as it gets in public diplomatic language.
If you are wondering why the Saudi UK ambassador and not their US ambassador wrote this, you need to understand Arab politics, the politics of saving face. The UK Ambassador saying this allows President Obama some room to talk with the Saudi US ambassador and still save face. This is why they use the terms like “Western partners” instead of saying the US directly, but just to be sure no one misunderstands the nuance, he throws in “talk of red lines.” There was only one person laying down meaningless red lines, and he lives in the White House.
Speaking of nuance, the ambassador also writes, “Nothing is ruled out in our pursuit of sustainable peace and stability in the Arab World as King Abdullah â€” then Saudi Arabiaâ€™s Crown Prince â€” showed with his leadership of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Diplomatic translation; Israel (“Nothing is ruled out”), we are with you on Iran even if the US is not. We have mutual interests. It’s also a not so subtle reminder to Israel, as if they need one, that President Obama hasn’t lifted a finger to “resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” American presidents have always at least gone through the motions of trying to resolve this issue, however Nobel Peace Prize winner President Obama doesn’t even have the time in his busy schedule to pretend to give a dam.
Just to add, some of the issues Israel has pulling off an airstrike against Iran’s nuclear program is one of distance to the target and another is crossing other country’s airspace. An airbase in Saudi Arabia solves both of these problems. They have plenty of really nice airbases too, we (the US military) built them. Funny how that mutual interest thing works, you can put a lot of crap aside when a nuclear bomb is hanging over both of your heads.
The Saudis fully understand the American public have no will for another Middle Eastern war, and that’s not what they are asking for. What they are asking, begging, for is some leadership from President Obama. For him to use the United States’ diplomatic weight to prevent a war before it starts. For him to stand on the side of what (and who) is right. To stop Iran from producing the ultimate weapon of mass destruction.
Clearly, now the Saudis fully understand another thing. They can no longer trust President Obama to provide that leadership they seek. In fact, looking at the world from Riyadh or Tel Aviv, it seems his administration is working with Iran against them. It looks that way to this viewer from Wisconsin as well.
Lastly, for all of President Obama’s domestic failures, his handling of Middle Eastern foreign policy may be his worst mistake of all, with long term consequences that will make all the others seem small by historical comparison. You may not count the dead by hundreds or even thousands, but by the millions. That blood will be on the president’s complacent hands, not the Saudi’s.
by … Donna Cole