by: Elias Harfoush
There is no exaggeration in saying that Barack Obama has disappointed many in the Arab region. Those individuals who had hoped to see the American president stand by the issues of justice and Human Rights and against the violations of the radical regimes are now surprised by the fact that Obama, a democrat with a Nobel peace prize, does not hesitate to indulge such regimes and adjust to them, including making deals with them against their opponents.
Many examples exist that illustrate the American president’s disregard of the people’s rights and his constant tendency at concluding deals with the regimes and governments. In this endeavor of his, Obama has blatantly broken all the promises he made during his campaign and after he came to office. In those promises, Obama had repeatedly alluded to his commitment to the principles of the United States, namely the respect and support of people’s right to self-determination and their right to struggle in order to lift any injustice.
We do not need to remind the readers of the promises that Obama made to the Palestinians since the launching of his first term, when Hillary Clinton was serving as a secretary of state. He then insisted on rejecting the policy of settlement and on the Palestinian people’s right to establish an independent state where they will be free to decide on their own fate. We also do not need to remind the readers of what became of these promises when Obama slammed against Netanyahu’s stubbornness and when he realized that confronting Israel might block the way for his return to the White House.
Obama’s attitude regarding the Syrian crisis is yet another clear example. Over the past two and a half years, Obama kept telling us that “Bashar’s days in power are now limited” and that he will have no role in planning Syria’s future “because he is now a part of the problem and cannot therefore be a part of the solution.” Then came the story of the famous “red line” when Obama threatened the Syrian regime that there will be a dire price to pay in the event that chemical weapons are used.
But then what? The regime – that initially denied being in possession of chemical weapons then denied the use of these weapons to kill its people on August 21 – is now being congratulated for cooperating with the international inspectors who are dismantling the chemical weapons (that did not even exist two months ago)! One can just listen to the recent statements of Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, in order to verify the “seriousness” of the threats made by the U.S. president. Kerry praised Al-Assad’s actions yesterday and considered that “this is a point in favor of the Syrian regime.”
Could Kerry have been so naïve to the point that he failed to realize the reason why Bashar al-Assad is offering all this support to the inspectors and allowing them to visit “any location they wish” to look for chemical weapons? Did Kerry forget the details of the deal that he had concluded with the Russian leadership and that turned the Syrian regime into a side in the settlement, thus providing Obama with an excuse to back away from his threat to strike Syria? These threats eventually proved to be nothing but mere words.
Iran represents another example on how Obama is disregarding people’s rights in our region and how he is leaping beyond these rights to serve his own interests. All diplomatic news items currently indicate that a deal is being prepared between Tehran and the five major countries plus Germany prior to the Geneva meetings this month. The deal will result in Iran agreeing to halt the uranium enrichment at a twenty percent level and handing in the uranium that has already been enriched at higher levels to a major nuclear country (probably Russia). In return, Iran will be supplied with sufficiently enriched fuel to operate the reactor that it supposedly established in Tehran for medical reasons.
In addition, the American leadership is praising the “moderate” President, Hassan Rohani. Washington must know where the real decision-making process occurs in Tehran. However, in its hasty quest to solve its crisis with Iran, Washington placed its bets on the losing horse. This placed the Guide, Ali Khamenei, in a strong position and he can now dictate Rohani’s limits. Khamanei also reminded Obama that he is the man to whom the American president must reach out in his quest for a real settlement with Iran.
As a result of all this American hesitation in our region, some stubborn and oppressive regimes have succeeded in staying in power and maintaining the grip of their forces and their “guards” over their people via fictitious deals with Washington. The chemical and nuclear weapons – that had been initially produced to serve as tools for oppression and control – have now turned into tools for these deals and can now be abandoned in order to preserve the regimes and proceed with the oppression of the people.