mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Obama Administration Alienates Saudis with Outreach to Iran

US President Barack Obama listens to a t

The Obama administration is alienating the Saudis with its Syria and Iran policies, perhaps to unprecedented levels.

The Saudis are good at what they do and are not sentimentalists. In Egypt, Saudi support for the generals led to an embarrassing flop of the Obama administration’s pro-Morsi policies. In Syria and Iran, the Obama administration again finds itself at odds with its Saudi allies. As this goes on, we can expect more blowback from what in Riyadh must look like a deliberate break with some of the fundamental elements of the US-Saudi relationship.

In effect, what Obama is doing right now is risking our relationship with the Saudis in the hopes of developing one with Iran. As the New York Times reports today:

This week, Mr. Obama indicated that he might finally have found a pen pal in Tehran.

At the core of Iran’s recent diplomatic charm offensive—a process that has included the release of 11 prominent political prisoners and a series of conciliatory statements by top Iranian officials—is an exchange of letters, confirmed by both sides, between Mr. Obama and President Hassan Rouhani.

The risks to this approach are much higher than most of the media commentary seems to understand. So far, this administration has not been particularly deft in the Middle East.

[Obama and King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud photo courtesy of Getty Images]

Features Icon
show comments
  • bpuharic

    This is the Saudi Arabia that supplied 15 of 19 9/11 hijackers, right? They’re SO pro-American.

    Screw the Saudis. They’re our enemy at worst, a mere strategic partner at best.

    Yeah let’s coddle the fanatic Wahabi Saudis. Let them lead us by the nose around the middle east.

    How many more dead AMERICANS will THAT cost us? It’s time we started treating the middle east like the cesspool it is.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    “So far, this administration has not been particularly deft in the Middle East.”

    Via Meadia should realize that it is a Blog, and dump all the diplomatic language at the ends of its articles, in the interests of clarity and the truth.

    For Example: Obama’s foreign policy has been at a level of stupidity and idiocy unrivaled in American history. Iran’s strategy all along has been to talk (they’ve been talking for better than 12 years), to delay any military response, while they go at full speed to obtain nuclear weapons. Obama’s stupidity will play right into this strategy, and after long painful discussions, he will get a piece of paper and
    declare “Peace in our Time”, and Iran will get nuclear weapons, and it will be too late.

    • bpuharic

      I love the apocalyptic hysteria of the American extremist right wing

      THey bankrupted the country with their supply side myths, killed 4400 US troops in a worthless Iraq war, while spending 2 trilllion

      And it’s Obama that has the worst foreign policy

      Folks you can’t make this stuff up.

      Take a stress pill and think things over, Dave

  • Kavanna

    After some foreign travel the last few years, it became clear to me that it started to dawn on foreigners a couple years ago just what a disaster this administration is. Of course, the concern, bafflement, and slowly rising panic out there has been largely ignored or misreported by the US media.

    Having just returned from the Middle East, I can say that it’s painfully obvious to everyone that we’re now in another “superpower lost” era, like the Carter years. Countries are starting to make “other arrangements,” as they say. See also the rising tension in Asia, a predictable result of an amateurish and retreating US — no “pivot” there! Regional wars are becoming more likely.

    Of course, the political situation is very different today in the US. The US media has abandoned independent reporting from outside the US. The Boomers now in charge are, if nothing else, well-practiced experts in self-absorption and navel-gazing.

    Overall, the US was serious country in 1980, but apparently not one today. If it were, the absurdly unqualified Obama would not have been re-elected and, indeed, would never have become the object of a bizarre personality cult in the first place.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service