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President Obama Photo: EPA
President Obama Photo: EPA
 
 

Weak and unreliable ally

Op-ed: Timid response to Assad regime's violation of international norms will not restore US deterrence

Shoula Romano Horing
Published: 09.07.13, 14:05 / Israel Opinion

Until now there was a suspicion in the Middle East that Obama was a weak and unreliable ally but now after he flip flopped and delayed attacking Syria, this suspicion has become a reality.

 

The president’s decision not to make a decision and put it into the hands of the US Congress, after vigorously making the case for it and promising to punish Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people, is an encouraging message for Iran and its evil puppets. The fact that Obama blinked first while staring eye to eye with the axis of evil, should be a wake-up call to US allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Egypt that they are alone facing Iran and other jihadists and that Obama does not have their back. These Arab countries must put their past hatred and differences with Israel aside and join together with it to protect their own self- interests and future survival against Iran.

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If President Obama could not follow through with his decision to attack, with a few cruise missiles, an unstable, ravaged, and broken down regime, how can US allies trust him to make the major decision to attack a stable, militarily dictatorship like Iran and try to dismantle its nuclear weapons program?

If Obama cannot enforce his own red line concerning the use of chemical weapons how can anybody trust him regarding his other reassurance that he won’t hesitate to use force to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon?

 

After Barack Obama’s recent non-performance, Netanyahu must realize that the president will never approve any Israeli attack on Iran and it will not support or undertake the major operation to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program. The prime minister’s recent efforts to appease Obama and his administration by releasing Palestinian terrorists and restarting negotiations with Abbas will not change Obama’s mind and will only divert world attention from Iran. As the president bluffed about Syria, he is bluffing about Iran. Israel must act on its own as it did in destroying the nuclear reactors of Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007.

 

Obama’s policy of negotiating with Iran, imposing economic sanctions, and restarting talks with the falsely perceived moderate newly elected Iranian president, will only delay Israeli action. Bibi must follow through on his own red line on Iran he stated a year ago in front of the UN General Assembly.

 

Victims of chemical attack near Damascus (Photo: Reuters)
Victims of chemical attack near Damascus (Photo: Reuters)
 

 

The Saudis and the other Gulf states must know by now that Iran is the main danger to their interests, not Israel, and that only Israel has the will, the self- interest and the know how to stop the Iranian menace.

The Saudis should be aware by now that Israel’s leadership is more loyal to its Arab allies than President Obama. While Israel with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states stood by Mubarak, it took Obama three days to call for the Egyptian president, a long time US friend, to leave office. It seems that Obama only confronts and abandons allies, but prefers not to meddle in the internal revolts of enemies like Syria and Iran.

 

Thereafter, Obama called for a quick presidential election in Egypt knowing that the Muslim Brotherhood was the only party that was politically organized enough to win the election. Despite the fact that Morsi let Jihadists run free in Sinai and threaten Israel and other Egyptians, Obama embraced Morsi and ignored his attempt to take over Egypt and impose his extremist views. A few weeks ago, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Emirates again were on the same side, supporting the Egyptian army’s taking power in Egypt while trying to dismantle the Muslim Brotherhood. Again Barack Obama and many in his administration were on the other side supporting the elected Muslim Brotherhood. They only condemned the Egyptian army while threatening them with cuts in aid and US cooperation if they did not release the jailed Morsi, or share power with the Muslim Brotherhood, or call for a new election.

 

The damage to US credibility is done. Even if Obama eventually gets the approval of the Congress and attacks, he has already showed that he does not have the stomach to lead the world and that he is weary of wars and military confrontations. He also showed that he lacks any understanding of the Middle East.

The Middle East is a dangerous neighborhood that houses some of the most dangerous, evil dictatorships that are willing to gas and kill their own people, including children. The perception of power in the Middle East is more important than actual power. Such immoral enemies are not deterred by a paper tiger, only by a tiger that is willing to be merciless and use deadly force.

 

While Barack Obama has stated that no one is more war weary than him he repeatedly reassured the Assad regime and its accomplices Iran and Hezbollah that the attack would be a limited operation with no boots on the ground, with the intent only to punish but not to change the regime or interfere in the civil war.

 

Such a weak and timid response for violating long held international norms will not restore US deterrence power.

 

Shoula Romano Horing is an attorney; Her blog: www.shoularomanohoring.com 

 

 

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