NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Obama is now finding that his previously-voiced fears are coming true: His nuclear capability deal with Iran is backfiring all over the Middle East. If Iran is permitted to keep some level of uranium enrichment ability, Iran’s neighbors are saying they will match Iran’s level themselves. Presumably, what they mean to convey is they intend to match Iran nuke for nuke, bomb for bomb, and warhead for warhead. The meaning we can all glean from these statements is that Iran has proven itself to be so radical and untrustworthy that no other solution seems practical. It appears Mr. O has unleashed the demons of hell upon the Middle East with his “legacy move,” founded upon Obama’s own desperation and weakness, of giving Iranians the keys to the nuclear stockpile in the Middle East, rather than locking them out of it. Can you say “nuclear proliferation”?
When Obama began making the case for a deal with Iran that would delay its ability to assemble an atomic weapon, his first argument was that a nuclear-armed Iran would set off a “free-for-all” of proliferation in the Arab world. “It is almost certain that other players in the region would feel it necessary to get their own nuclear weapons,” he said in 2012.
Now, as he gathered Arab leaders over dinner at the White House on Wednesday and prepared to meet with them at Camp David on Thursday, he faced a perverse consequence: Saudi Arabia and many of the smaller Arab states are now vowing to match whatever nuclear enrichment capability Iran is permitted to retain.
As a related issue, King Salman of Saudi Arabia has declined an invitation to participate in Obama’s Gulf summit meeting in Camp David this week. Both the United States and Saudi Arabia are working to minimize the fallout from this decision, but from the Saudi standpoint, this summit does not hold much attraction. Only two other heads of the Gulf states are attending. Two are in poor health, but the other non-attendees may be following Riyadh’s lead. Some of this reticence may derive from a festering series of policy disagreements that contribute to seriously frayed relations with the Gulf monarchies.
In their view, Obama was surprisingly willing to promote the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, declaring that it was time for him to go and insisting on being on the “right side of history.” Arab monarchs began to wonder whether, if this could happen to Mubarak, would this administration decide that they, too, were on the wrong side of history? They then witnessed the president’s about-face on Syria, backing away from even minimal military action against Bashar Al Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Most worrisome is the impending agreement with Iran on its nuclear program, which portends a closer American relationship with the perceived archenemy of the Gulf Arabs. Removing sanctions against Iran and freeing up billions in funds raises the threat level perceived by the Saudis and their neighbors, who fear a growing encirclement by Iran and its proxies, to say nothing of the prospect of a nuclear capable Iran that would dramatically change the balance of power in the Middle East.
[from reports in The New York Times]
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis