Sunday 14 July 2013

Obama, president of Lebanon?

"No winner and no loser" image from

The White House readout of U.S. President Barack Obama’s call with King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia:
President Obama spoke by phone today (July 12) with King Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.
The President relayed his warm wishes to the King on the occasion of Ramadan.
The leaders reaffirmed the strong and enduring partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia and discussed regional issues of mutual interest.
The President and the King shared their perspectives on the situation in Syria and expressed their strong concerns about the impact of the conflict on the region.
The President emphasized the United States’ continued commitment to provide support to the Syrian Opposition Coalition and the Supreme Military Council to strengthen the opposition.
The President and King also exchanged views on recent developments in Egypt.
They agreed that the United States and Saudi Arabia have a shared interest in supporting Egypt’s stability.
The President expressed his serious concern about the violence in Egypt and underscored the urgent need for an inclusive political process that will enable an early return to a democratically elected civilian government in Egypt. 
The leaders pledged to continue close consultations between their two governments.
Separately, Tariq Alhomayed, the former editor-in-chief of Saudi Arabia’s leading daily Asharq Alawsat, writes today of Obama seeming like a president of Lebanon:
A watcher of the U.S. president’s approach to our regional files does not perceive Barack Obama as leader of the world’s most powerful nation, but as the president of Lebanon, where the mantra is “no winner and no loser.”
In Egypt, the Obama Administration is still at a loss whether to describe the June 30 “corrective movement” as a military coup or a response to popular demands, despite saying Mohamed Morsi’s government “wasn’t a democratic rule.”
While confirming plans to send four shiny F-16 fighter jets to Egypt’s military, the Obama Administration formally puts U.S. aid to Cairo under review. It urges the Muslim Brotherhood to renounce violence and at the same time warns the interim leadership against Brotherhood arrests.
Worse still, the Obama Administration calls for Morsi’s release just as the White House says, “We’re not taking sides in Egypt.”
Can you imagine a worse muddle?
As concerns Syria, the fumbles are greater, more serious and profound.
Obama had asked all sides to wait for his reelection campaign to end, but nothing changed thereafter.
He did zilch despite Bashar al-Assad forces killing more than 100,000 Syrians and disregarding his “game-changer” threat that moving or using chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and “change my calculus.”
When Iran and Hezbollah intervened in Syria to defend Assad, Obama remained passive.
And after he undertook to arm Syrian rebels, he failed to deliver.
His administration cites broad-based concerns the weapons could fall into wrong hands of hardline Islamists. Strangely, the administration has no such concerns about Egypt’s hardline Islamists, despite the Egyptian Army being targeted in Sinai by terrorists loyal to the Brotherhood.
The Obama Administration’s fumbling and dithering is countless.
The president’s rash exit from Iraq turned it into an Iranian springboard to attack Syrians and defend Assad through the Baghdad government and armed Shiite groups.
Also we’re now into the fallouts from the planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, not to mention American heedlessness to Libya.
President Obama doesn’t want to do anything anywhere, despite all the security threats, risks to U.S. political interests and the violations of laws and principles such as in Syria.
The Obama Administration has also disconcerted other regions. European countries are demanding that Washington immediately stop its eavesdropping on European Union officials and diplomats.
There too, Obama is trying to circumvent the issue à la Libanaise – “no winner and no loser.”
Obama has the earmarks of a president of Lebanon, instead of the president of the most powerful nation on earth.