Obama and Repairing the State-of-Affairs
18 April 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
This could be the last visit for President Barack Obama -as the U.S.
President- meeting with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin
Abdulaziz along with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders. The summit
signified the second chapter of the first Camp David meeting, which took place
a year ago, when the U.S. President met with GCC leaders, prior to the signing
of the nuclear deal with Iran.
The state-of-affairs shared by Saudi Arabia and Washington has not improved
significantly, when addressing matters on Iran's involvement in Syria, Iraq
and Yemen which ultimately caused unprecedented regional volatility.
Within the year separating the Camp David summit and the Riyadh recent summit,
the White House managed signing the nuclear deal with Iran and failed to
provide a similar assurance to the other party; which is a measure to balance
the dangerous step taken, from the Gulf's perspective.
At the same time, Iran alongside its allies has not rested efforts to dominate
over the region; especially as it exploited currently unstable countries and
threatening GCC nations' peace and security.
The current regional warfare – waged directly and indirectly- has left no room
for the accord with Iranian plan put by GCC members and Washington. The
nuclear deal has allowed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to sum
up the ego and cross borders, fighting at unparalleled wars on the outside.
What was expected after last year's U.S.-GCC Camp David's summit was that the
U.S. would eventually balance out the lifting of sanctions with a strict
policy against Iran's violations and plans of expansion threatening its
neighbors. However, such a balance has not been realized.
Iran has won over relief from sanctions, delivery of its financial stocks, the
striking of deals and has been brought into the negotiations concerning
regional crises, in addition to the military operations it is running across
three different frontiers.
Iran has also not been as much as threatened for its violations against U.N.
Security Council's decision prohibiting the arming of insurgents in Yemen;
given that all of U.S., British, French and Australian naval facilities have
apprehended Iranian cargo on its way to Yemen.
Gulf countries have committed to the agreement on the international accord at
Camp David last year, as to demonstrate before the U.S. that they do not stand
against the West's reconciliation with Iran.
Gulf countries are against Iran's policy on spreading chaos and endorsing
insurgencies across the region. Iran's approach has not changed since it was
laid down by its former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, after clergymen
took over rule of Iran in 1979. The current Iranian government largely employs
the same method.
The aforementioned, evidently put a
spoke in the wheel of Gulf Saudi –U.S. affairs.
Washington cannot open up doors to Iran allowing it to threaten regional
countries and interests while asking the afflicted countries to settle
Moreover, Obama's term in presidency lasts till the end of 2015, which is not
a short period measured in Middle Eastern state-of-affairs minutes, bearing in
mind the accelerating dangerous events covering the region from Syria to
Libya. A few months can hold grave significance.
During the months left, if Obama truly wishes to end his term both in
sustaining his project with Iran and reserving the long-held special
relationship with the Gulf countries, and Arabs in general; he must seek out a
proper balance which neutralizes the defects caused by the nuclear deal's
Countries cannot help but sense that Iran
is spreading its span of dominance over Syria, Iraq and Lebanon all in one
step, and cannot stand still and watch Iran take over its northern bordering
neighbors and spur anarchy against them in Yemen.
How could Obama strike a balance? Following through with his declarations,
support removing the head of the Syrian regime and back the U.N. resolutions
which the U.S. has already agreed on concerning empowering legitimacy in Yemen
could be a place to start.
Would Obama actually do that after leaving Riyadh? There isn't much hope to
that, the president has not said a word and neither does his policy suggest
such proceedings. It appears that Obama is betting on the sides to the
conflict consuming each other and finally settling to some solution.
He no longer is enthusiastic on undertaking action, perhaps it is because he
no longer sees strong reasons to the alliance with the GCC, and no longer
believes that some countries are closer to the U.S. than others.
Leading from behind seems to be Obama's favorite adopted policy, which he has
employed since his rise to power seven years ago. Reality proves that his
approach failed, noting that regional forces proved their capacity to endure
for a longer period of time than expected.
Obama's take on things also proved mistaken after observing the spreading
chaos. Anarchy coming from al-Qaeda, ISIS and several other terrorist
organizations threatens the whole world today. Pressuring Iran and confronting
it would be enough to put an end to the crises in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and
Yemen; or perhaps would at least inhibit the largest of fights induced.
Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly
magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of
Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass
communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is
currently based in Dubai.