There’s a buoyant sense at the White House this week — a feeling that a much-embattled President Obama has achieved the goal he set in January 2009 of engaging Iran on the basis of “mutual interest and mutual respect.” But like the dog who catches the car he’s been chasing, Obama must now worry about what to do next.
That Iran dreams about and works to act as the policeman of the Gulf is up to Tehran. But that the West, led by US, would allow it to be so depends on their mutual interests with Iran. What Washington and Tehran, its new friend in the region, are not aware of is that the Gulf area pre-Operation Decisive Storm is different to what it is following this, and the sole real policeman are the countries of the region whose coalition has proved rational, realistic and logical. The ten-strong coalition does not seek wars as much as it aspires to achieving stability and security in the region by preventing foreign intervention in its internal affairs. Only Operation Decisive Storm will be there to carry out the tasks of the policeman in the Gulf, without allowing Iran to act so.
For nearly two weeks, Saudi fighter-bombers have pounded Houthi rebel positions and convoys around Yemen, but so far the offensive has forced them neither to retreat nor sue for peace.
The United States has approved a potential $57 million sale of air-to-surface missiles to Egypt and an estimated $1 billion sale of helicopters and missiles to Pakistan, according to proposed arms deals that are expected to benefit U.S. national security.
There have been bits of good news here and there regarding the U.S.-led war against ISIS. Last week, for example, Iraqi government forces with the help of allied Shiite militias liberated the city of Tikrit from the jihadist terrorists. That was right after U.S. fighter jets and drones were called in to soften enemy emplacements.
One afternoon this March, during a visit to Jordan, I sat on the banks of the Dead Sea with my Iraqi friend, Azzam Alwash. As we stared across the salt lake and watched the sun disappear behind the rocky crags of Israel, I recounted a trip I had taken to Jordan 20 years earlier to conduct field research on Palestinian refugees, as part of a Middle East peace effort designed to ensure that within a decade nobody in the region considered himself a refugee.
The framework concluded last week on Iran’s nuclear program was doomed to disagreement. Even the “fact sheets” issued by the United States, France and Iran — all parties to the talks — didn’t agree on the facts.
Why did the British government respond in the way it did to the Arab Spring? Some analyses have argued that Britain’s inconsistency demonstrates that Britain’s policies toward the Middle East in the wake of the uprisings in 2011 was hypocritical. Indeed while Britain condemned government violence in Syria, took military action in Libya it offered only muted comment on brutality in Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen.
Six years before the Arab Spring, a group of rural highlanders in Yemen called the Houthis rose up against an autocratic government and its foreign patrons to demand their rights.
The Arab League’s decision to establish a joint military force should be viewed, above all, as a major accomplishment for Saudi Arabian foreign policy — though Egypt’s president has also been advocating this. It comes with serious risks, however. It all starts with Riyadh. As Arab Spring uprisings appeared to sweep all before them in 2011, the Saudi regime seemed confident that it was immune. Even after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s swift fall from power. The Saudi leadership’s lack of assurance was betrayed, however, by a series of panicky steps.