Appeasing Iran’s political arrogance

Iran’s growing arro­gance reflects failure and bankruptcy of fatuous Obama-Kerry-Susan Rice policy.

Obama administration has given away too much to Iran for nothing in return


2016/02/12 Issue: 43 Page: 7


The Arab Weekly
Claude Salhani



Talk about misreading foreign policy. The Obama administration wrongly believed that appeasing the Iranian regime would win it a new and powerful ally in the Gulf region.

Talk about a disappointment. Washington supported lifting international economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, hoping to bring about a new beginning in US-Iranian relations only to realise that there would be no change coming from the Iranian theocratic leaders, who continue to behave just as they had in the past and continue to regard the United States with trepidation, distrust and animosity.

The Iranian mullahocracy looks at the United States as a power to be feared, a power that infringes on the domes­tic affairs of countries in the region and a country it con­siders to be an enemy of its Islamic revolution, one that Tehran aspires to export.

The Obama administra­tion bet on improving rela­tions with Iran much to the detriment of neighbouring Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that regard Iran with just about as much trepidation, distrust and animosity as Iran harbours for the West.

Indeed, the Saudis had hoped they could convince Washington of the dangers posed by Iran to the stability of the region. In one of the many tens of thousands of US State Department cables that were leaked, former Saudi King Fahd wrote to the White House, asking the Americans to “cut off the head of the snake”, in reference to the Iranian leadership.

The Saudis were terribly disap­pointed by the lack of leadership shown by US President Barack Obama in handling the crisis in Syria where the regime of Presi­dent Bashar Assad, supported by Iran, was killing mostly Sunni Muslims.

Obama’s indecisiveness and poor counsel from his secretary of state on how to handle the Syria crisis have strained previously sturdy relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States that, with minor deviations, existed since the end of World War II.

Indeed, relations between the two countries have reached their nadir since the two countries first established a partnership under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and King Abdelaziz ibn Saud.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry led this misadven­ture of US foreign policy in what became the Obama’s White House policy (or rather lack thereof) in dealing with Syria’s civil war.

Washington perhaps expected Tehran to be somewhat thankful and a tad less abrasive in recogni­tion of its support in having inter­national sanctions lifted over the nuclear talks. Perhaps Washington believed — erroneously — that the Iranians would be thankful and somewhat more helpful in securing the oil-rich region from the imme­diate threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS).

But with the ink not yet dry on the agreement, the Islamic Republic returned to its old habits of promoting anti-American senti­ments and encouraging continued calls of “Death to America”. Friday sermons in mosques across the land continued to call for the de­struction of the United States and the death of Americans. Hardly the way one treats potential allies, is it?

The shortcoming of the US foreign policy is undoubtedly Washington’s naiveté in falsely thinking that other countries and other entities will act and react in manners similar to its own.

Indeed, Iran’s growing arro­gance and contempt towards both Saudi Arabia and the United States reflects the failure and bankruptcy of the fatuous Obama-Kerry-Susan Rice policy.

The Washington trio really as­sumed that freeing up Iran’s frozen assets would bring the Islamic Republic back into the fold of the international community.

Talk about taking one’s dreams for reality.

Washington observers say there was a feeling around the Obama White House that perhaps Iran would help fill the power gap in the region and join the United States in fighting ISIS.

Still, the United States continues to mindlessly appease Iran, failing to realise that there is potentially a far greater threat to the region and beyond than the now shrinking ISIS. The Iranians don’t bother to hide the fact.

Furthermore, not only had Washington miscalculated on Iran politics and policies but it also failed to predict Russia’s entry into the conflict giving Moscow a far sturdier footing in the Mediterra­nean than it ever had, even under the Soviet Union.

Talk about erroneous foreign policies.


Claude Salhani is the Opinion section editor of The Arab Weekly.


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