Search This Blog

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Arab Press Harshly Criticizes Obama Administration For Allying Iran, Turning Its Back On America Arab Friends

MEMRI: Arab Press Harshly Criticizes Obama Administration For Allying Iran, Turning Its Back On Arab Friends, Leading Region To Disaster

MEMRI: March 23, 2015 Special Dispatch No.6003 

Arab Press Harshly Criticizes Obama Administration For Allying With Iran, 
Turning Its Back On Arab Friends, Leading Region To Disaster 

Against the backdrop of the current U.S.-Iran nuclear negotiations and the 
war on the Islamic State (ISIS), in recent weeks dozens of articles in the 
Arab press, and particularly in the Saudi press, have harshly criticized the 
Obama administration's policy in the region – especially its Iran policy, 
which they term "destructive", "idiotic", "dangerous" and "narrow-minded." 

Expressing apprehension at the prospect of a U.S.-Iran nuclear agreement 
that would strengthen Iran at the expense of the Sunni countries, which are 
long-time U.S. allies, some writers stated that because President Obama 
seeks a nuclear agreement with Iran for his own personal glory, while the 
cost of such an agreement does not matter to him. They wrote that Obama 
disregards Iran's actions, and is giving it and the organizations affiliated 
with it a free hand to operate in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Bahrain, and by 
doing so is allowing Iran to further expand in the region. 

Some of the writers argued that the U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria that had 
given Iran freedom to operate in those countries had given rise to ISIS, 
since the U.S.-Iran alliance had humiliated the Sunni Arabs and created 
optimal conditions for the group to emerge. 

One writer even called on the Arab countries and Turkey to confront the 
Obama administration, thwart its policy in the region, and come out strongly 
against any agreement it signs with Iran that does not absolutely prevent it 
from possessing nuclear weapons. Another speculated that the countries of 
the region could be better off finding someone else to rely on rather than 
the U.S. 

The following are translated excerpts from several articles: 

Saudi Intellectual: Obama Has Allied With Shi'ite Militias Against Sunni 

Saudi political commentator Khaled Al-Dahil argued in the London-based daily 
Al-Hayat that Obama's policy in the region is destructive, and that the 
Arabs must not remain silent about it. He wrote that the Obama 
administration is allowing Iran and its militias in Syria and Iraq a free 
hand, and helping it fight Sunni organizations in the region, with the aim 
of pacifying it in advance of the signing of the nuclear agreement. :"... 
The Obama administration realizes quite well that the war on ISIS as it is 
currently being waged has destructive sectarian repercussions, which if not 
dealt with will blow up in everyone's face. But has this 
administration...done a thing to correct how this war is being 
conducted?...Certainly not! This administration has acted, and continues to 
act, contrary to the fears that it itself has expressed. [It does] this 
because of its wish to ally with Iran, as part of the war on ISIS – in an 
alliance that will be secret until a nuclear agreement [with Iran] is 
reached and [U.S.-Iran] relations are normalized. 

"Obama sees several advantages in this war [against ISIS]: It reassures Iran 
and gives it the sense that the U.S. seeks to rescue it from an additional 
enemy [ISIS], after saving it from the Taliban and from Saddam Hussein. 
Similarly, Obama hopes that in this way he will succeed in persuading Iran 
to make the necessary concessions in order to arrive at the longed-for 
nuclear agreement. 

"However, Obama has gone further than that: together with Russia, he has 
given Iran a free hand in Syria to support the Syrian regime and crush the 
local opposition. Thus, the American president's opportunism is very clearly 
exposed. As a skilled attorney and politician, he knows that ISIS, as a 
sectarian organization, is the natural and direct outcome of the sectarian 
wars that began with the American invasion of Iraq. [On the other hand], 
President Obama himself has called the Iranian regime theocratic – that is, 
a sectarian regime... – because a religious political regime is by 
definition, and necessarily, a sectarian regime. Furthermore, it was the 
Iranian regime that defined itself as sectarian in its [own] constitution 
(see sections 12, 71, and 115 of Iran's constitution). This means that... 
Obama is fighting the sectarian ISIS with a sectarian policy and sectarian 

"True, Obama has not allied formally with Iran for the war on ISIS, but he 
has allied de facto with Iran... [and] with its militias and the militias 
under its influence. That is why the Obama administration disregards all 
Iran's military and intelligence activity in Syria and Iraq – from its 
dispatching of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) fighters and its 
financing and training of Iraqi Shi'ite militias, to the fight against ISIS, 
whether by means of [Iranian] airstrikes against it or by means of these 
[same] militias. 

"It is striking that the Obama administration has deployed over 3,000 troops 
to train the so-called Hashd Sha'bi [Popular Mobilization] Forces – a group 
of Shi'ite militias that was formed after the collapse of the Iraqi army and 
Mosul's fall to ISIS last year. That is, the Obama administration has allied 
de facto with Shi'ite militias to fight Sunni militias... 

"The Houthi takeover in Yemen opens an additional front in the Sunni-Shi'ite 
war. Is it conceivable that the U.S. could partner with Iran in the war 
against the Sunnis in Yemen, as it has essentially already done in Iraq and 

"There is nothing to warrant remaining silent about this American policy, 
because it is the main factor that generated the terrorism in Afghanistan. 
This terrorism further intensified following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and 
it split [into several streams] as a result of the American silence in the 
face of the holocaust being perpetrated in Syria by means of the Russia-Iran 
alliance with the regime there. It is wrong [for us] to remain silent in 
light of a policy that is dragging the region into more destructive 
religious wars just because Mr. Obama aspires to reach an agreement with the 

Obama's Policy On Iran Nuclear Issue – "Gambling With The Future Of The 

In a second article, Al-Dakhil again attacked Obama, arguing that the deal 
that he was trying to make with Iran was based on the groundless assumption 
that within a few years Iran was going to change. He added that Obama was 
gambling with the future of the region: 

"President Obama's recklessness in reaching a nuclear agreement with Iran is 
manifested in the assumption on which he bases his justification of this 
agreement, and on the wording of the agreement that will apparently be 
agreed upon. The Israelis did well to expose the reckless aspect of this 
assumption, because with the exception of the five parties that are actually 
negotiating with Iran, it is they who know the most about the details of the 
American position on this issue. Israel is the Americans' closest and most 
important ally, and the one that is the most fearful about the upsetting of 
the balance of power [in the region] that will result if Iran or any Arab or 
Islamic country possesses nuclear weapons... 

"Why does Obama consider it necessary to reach such an agreement? Because 
the president's objective is to tie the Iranians' hands for 10-15 years, in 
hopes that by then, Iran will have a new leadership, and will become a 
different country – perhaps a democratic country with less of a desire for 
nuclear weapons. Obama seems to be basing his policy on this risky issue on 
hope, not on political considerations; thus, he is gambling with the future 
of the region... 

"At the same time, the Arab countries must deal with the other aspect of the 
American position, which is no less idiotic and dangerous. This aspect is 
reflected in Obama's response to events in the region – [a response] based 
on a nearly absolute belief that the danger currently threatening the world 
is Sunni extremism and the terrorism emanating from it, and that the only 
option for stabilization is through cooperation with Iran. It is nearly 
certain that this perception, along with the hope that Iran will change, is 
what is impelling Obama to reach an agreement with Iran. 

"However, this perception is superficial and faulty – because it is based on 
dreams that are more like delusions, and it also wants to see only the Sunni 
side of the sectarian equation that is stirring up the region..."[2] 

Iranian Journalist: Proponents Of The Deal With Iran Rely On A Fatwa By 
Khamenei Nobody Has Ever Seen 

Amir Taheri, a Paris-based Iranian author and journalist, argued in a 
similar vein that American proponents of the deal with Iran base their 
position on groundless assumptions, including on the claim that Khamenei 
issued a fatwa banning nuclear weapons – a fatwa that nobody has ever seen. 
The following are excerpts from a translation of his article published in 
the English edition of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat:[3] "Campaigning for a deal on the 
Iranian nuclear issue, the pro-mullah lobby in the West, especially in the 
United States, often cites three claims in support of President Barack 
Obama's appeasement of Tehran. The first is that a deal will help the 
'reformist' wing of the regime led by former president Akbar Hashemi 
Rafsanjani—which already controls the presidency through Hassan Rouhani—to 
capture other levers of power and embark on a genuine program of change 
aimed at returning Iran to normality. Rafsanjani is cast as a moderate, a 
turbaned version of Deng Xiaoping, capable of closing the chapter of the 
revolution and forging business-like relations with the US. Much is made of 
Rafsanjani's recent statements that he has always favored collective 
leadership and that once the Supreme Guide Ali Khamenei is shown the door, 
he would press for a collegial system and the end of 'one-man rule' in Iran. 

"The first step in that direction was supposed to come last Monday when 
Rafsanjani sought to get himself elected president of the Assembly of 
Experts... Capturing [it] was supposed to be the first step in a victorious 
march that would enable the Rafsanjani faction to win control of the Islamic 
Consultative Assembly or Majlis, the 290-member ersatz parliament. However 
the Assembly of Experts elected Ayatollah Muhammad Yazdi—one of Rafsanjani's 
oldest foes and a close associate of Khamenei—as its new president with 47 
votes to 24. The Rafsanjani faction's hopes of winning control of the 
parliament next year are unlikely to prove any better. Several polls show 
that even if the faction manages to mobilize all those who voted for 
Rouhani—33 percent of those eligible to vote—it still would not be enough to 
secure a majority of the 230 seats on offer. 

"The second claim, paradoxically, is built on a fatwa supposedly issued by 
Khamenei forbidding the use of nuclear weapons. Thus, while Obama hopes that 
Rafsanjani will eventually evict Khamenei, he is basing his policy on a 
fatwa issued by the latter. Since no one, and certainly not Obama, has seen 
the fatwa in question it is hard to assess its political importance. However 
in real terms the fatwa, supposing it does exist, is nothing more than an 
opinion and is thus devoid of legal authority. 

"The third claim is that the nuclear project is popular with the Iranian 
people and that by accepting a nuclear Iran the US would gain popularity 
there. However, ultimately there is no evidence to back that claim. The 
issue has never been properly discussed in any public forum, not even in the 
Majlis. In fact, successive governments, including under the Shah, have 
suppressed a number of reports warning against the dangers of a nuclear 
project, especially with reference to the threat that earthquakes pose to 
nuclear installations on almost all parts of the Iranian Plateau... 

"Obama's hope is that by making a deal he will enable Rafsanjani's 
'moderate' faction to win the power struggle in Tehran and initiate a change 
of behavior by the Khomeinist regime. That, many agree, is nothing but an 
illusion. In his address to the US Congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin 
Netanyahu also seemed to share this sentiment. As Aristotle observed 25 
centuries ago, character is action. In other words: You are what you do! A 
regime's nature dictates its behavior. As Sa'adi Shirazi—the famous poet of 
Shiraz—noted almost eight centuries ago, a scorpion does not sting because 
it wants to be a bad boy; it does so in accordance with its nature." 

Senior Saudi Journalist: Obama Leading Region To Disaster 

Tariq Al-Homayed, the former editor of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and currently a 
columnist for the daily, likewise wrote that U.S. Secretary of State John 
Kerry's recent visit to Saudi Arabia, which was aimed at reassuring the 
Saudis about the imminent U.S.-Iran nuclear agreement, not only failed to 
reassure it but also revealed the deep disagreement between the two 
countries and the dangers of the agreement. Stressing that the inevitable 
response to an Iranian nuclear bomb will be an Arab nuclear bomb, he warned 
that the countries of the region could "fall victim to the naïveté of a few 
people in Washington" and that President Obama is not aware of the gravity 
of his actions that could lead the entire region into genuine disaster. 

He wrote: "What is now clear is that the American president either is 
striving to attain personal glory, the outcome of which cannot be assessed, 
or he does not comprehend the implications of his actions. [The latter] 
possibility is more likely. 

"The truth is that a bad agreement with Iran is a disaster, and constitutes 
international recognition of Iran's occupation of the countries of the 
region and international approval of Iran's sponsorship of terror. 
Therefore, the region is facing a real disaster, and we do not know how 
matters will develop by the end of the presidential term of Obama, who is 
leading the entire region to real disaster. It is inconceivable that there 
will be a nuclear Iran in the region while the rest of the countries of the 
region stand by. The response to the existence of an Iranian bomb will 
undoubtedly be an Arab nuclear bomb. Otherwise, our countries will appear to 
have welcomed the Iranian game, and will have fallen victim to the naïveté 
of some people in Washington. Therefore, Kerry's Riyadh visit is worrisome 
and not reassuring, and all the relevant countries in the region must 
consider every possible option in responding to this absurd American move 
that can release the [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini genie – which will bring 
to the region nothing but destruction and civil war."[4] 

Former Jordanian Minister: U.S. Handed Iraq, Syria Over To Iranian 
Occupation, Leading To Rise Of ISIS 

Former Jordanian information minister Saleh Al-Qallab also harshly attacked 
the U.S.'s regional policy and accused it of handing Syria and Iraq over to 
the Iranian occupation and of being responsible for the rise of ISIS. In his 
column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Al-Qallab claimed 
that the U.S. was conspiring with Iran, enabling it to take over strategic 
countries and areas in the region, and kept silent in the face of the harm 
done to Sunnis, with the unconvincing pretext of wanting the nuclear 
negotiations to succeed. 

Al-Qallab wrote: "...The Americans should know that their reputation in the 
region... is poor and that those whom they consider their friends [among the 
Arab countries], and who are indeed [their friends], have grown tired of 
them, of their policy, and of their behavior, and repeatedly say – if not 
loudly then with a whisper – 'Allah save us from our friends; our enemies we 
can handle ourselves.' We can assume that the decision-makers in the U.S. 
know that the reason for increasingly strong ties between Egypt and Russia, 
especially in the military field, is the consequence of the Obama 
administration's betting on the MB organization in Egypt and elsewhere as 
the [force] capable of combating extremism and terrorism in this region. If 
this isn't a foolish policy, then it is certainly... a plot meant to prevent 
the Arab ummah from standing on its own feet and taking the place that it 
deserves at this decisive historical moment... 

"Barack Obama is acting strangely. Contrary to the U.S.'s interests in this 
region, which is... a Sunni region from Tetouan in Morocco to Saif Sa'ad in 
Iraq, Obama shamelessly said that he wants to work with a single 
decision-maker – the leader of the Iranian revolution, Ali Khamenei, and 
that he [only] wants to work with one country – the all-powerful Iran – to 
redraw the future of this region. This means that the U.S. president 'washed 
his hands' of all the U.S.'s friends and allies from the time of the Cold 
War and the inter-bloc struggle... 

"Is the American position regarding the events in Yemen nothing less than a 
conspiracy and a plot [with Iran] done in broad daylight? Do Obama and his 
government officials not understand that by remaining silent in the face of 
Houthi actions they will enable Iran to rule the Straits of Hormuz, Bab 
El-Mandeb and the Arabian Sea – which could become the Persian Sea – and the 
Red Sea? ... 

"The U.S., whether by conspiring [with Iran] or out of political stupidity 
and narrow-mindedness, is the one who enabled Iran to occupy Iraq during the 
term of the ill-reputed Paul Bremer. Obama's hesitancy and unstable position 
[also] led the U.S. to abandon the Syrian opposition, thus handing Syria to 
the commander of the Iranian Qods Force, Qassem Soleimani. [The U.S.] is 
responsible, obviously along with the Assad regime, for the appearance of 
all those terrorist organizations that did not exist before, at the early 
stages of the Syrian people's uprising in March 2011, which started as a 
peaceful uprising [in demand of] just and reasonable democratic reforms. 

"Truthfully, is the U.S. not responsible for the creation of ISIS and for 
the fact that it has managed to get so far after [the U.S.] cleared the way 
for it? After all, [the U.S.] is the country that invaded Iraq, cut off its 
limbs, and dismantled its institutions and army... in order to take 
vengeance on Sunni Arabs, humiliate them, and damage their honor, which 
forced them to become a demographic hotbed for ISIS and all these terrorist 
organizations, which bred like locusts. 

"The U.S., which has been forced to return shame-faced to Iraq, is 
suspiciously silent in the face of the harm done to Sunni Arabs, and 
consents to the Iranian occupation of Iraq, all under the unconvincing 
pretext of wanting the Iranian nuclear negotiations to succeed. This, while 
ISIS hasn't lost even one percent of the Iraqi and Syrian territory it 
conquered while the Americans watched from the sidelines..."[5] 

Bahraini Journalist: U.S. Wrong To Separate Iranian Nukes From Regional 

Bahraini journalist and writer Sawsan Al-Sha'er also criticized the fact 
that nuclear negotiations between the U.S. and Iran take place while the 
U.S. ignores Iran's expansionist policy, which has caused its Sunni allies 
to exclude themselves from the struggle against terrorism. She wrote in 
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "The U.S.'s efforts to wrap up the Iranian nuclear 
dossier in any way and by any means have caused it to ignore Iran's regional 
expansionist policy...The American administration's policy of separating the 
struggle against terrorism from the Iranian issue and Iran's ambitions is 
what sabotaged the role of its Sunni allies... in the struggle against 
terrorism. [This policy] is what prevented the popular participation of 
[most of the region's Sunnis] in the efforts to combat terrorism, and 
contributed to sparking sectarian sensitivity, which made the task of 
combating terrorism more difficult... 

"The statements by the Democratic [U.S.] administration that it does not see 
the role Iran plays in Bahrain, Iraq, and Yemen are very much an insult to 
logic and intelligence and an attempt to block out the sun with a sieve, and 
indicate a disconnect from reality. [This,] since Iran's support for Shi'ite 
militias in these countries is not confined to considerable political 
support, but also includes training and financing them, as well as 
dispatching IRGC commanders to run the battlefronts."[6] 

Lebanese Journalist: We Need Unified Arab Front Along With Turkey To Thwart 
Obama's Regional Policy, Oppose Iran Deal 

'Ali Hamada, a journalist for the Lebanese daily Al-Nahar, warned of the 
nuclear agreement between Iran and the superpowers and called on Arab 
countries, along with Turkey, to directly confront the Obama administration 
and work to thwart its regional policy. He wrote: "The Arab front, [which 
includes] the Arab Gulf states, Jordan and Egypt, and which is in conflict 
with Iran, must give some serious thought to the day after [Iran signs] an 
agreement [with the superpowers] on March 24, 2015. Turkey, whose vital 
political and economic interests intersect those of the Arab front... should 
seriously address this issue [as well], and form strategic ties with the 
Arab front states in order to create a balance, in light of the grand 
strategic turn that will happen in the region once Iran possesses an 
agreement regarding its nuclear [program]. 

"The Barak Obama administration has already proven that it is determined to 
continue building a strong alliance with Iran at the expense of the Arab 
region and Turkey. Therefore, we must confront the Americans directly and 
without hesitation. Honestly, we cannot [just] stand by and watch the 
current American strategic shift. The Arab front, which is facing the 
explicit Iranian occupation of the Arab east, must be firm and confront the 
Obama administration with resolve and explicit positions. In an 
understanding with Turkey, it must come out strongly against any nuclear 
agreement with Iran that does not completely prevent Tehran from possessing 
nuclear weapons and that will cause it to further attack the entire Arab 

"We will not dwell on the stream of official and unofficial Iranian 
statements by high-ranking officials regarding the so-called 'Iranian 
Empire.' More important than expressing positions and making statements is 
to work towards a direct confrontation, starting with breaking the Obama 
administration's regional strategy and circumventing it with regards to the 
Syrian campaign by massively arming the rebels... There is no escaping [the 
need to] thwart the Obama administration's regional policy."[7] 

Saudi Journalist: Gulf States Will Consider Replacing U.S. Alliance With 
Russian Alliance 

Saudi journalist 'Abdallah Nasser Al-'Otaibi criticized the U.S. in the 
London daily Al-Hayat, and wondered whether its regional allies should seek 
alternatives to it: "The big problem of the moderate countries in the region 
is that Russia's local allies are currently the victors. Iran is spreading 
in all directions with Russia's backing in the UN Security Council; Bashar 
Al-Assad is still harvesting the souls of Syria's sons with open and direct 
support from the Kremlin; the Houthis act like they own Yemen under the 
auspices of a Russian veto [in the Security Council]; and meanwhile, the 
countries considered the U.S.'s regional allies are suffering defeat after 

"The U.S. should know that constantly taking a neutral position and 
occasionally negotiating with regional powers [i.e. Iran] behind the backs 
of its allies will damage the historic alliance that has existed since the 
1940s, and will cause its regional allies to consider shaking hands with the 
other global power [i.e. Russia]. At the same time, the regional allies 
should openly tell the Americans that the demands and conditions for 
renewing their alliance are to address their problems and help them solve 
them in an acceptable fashion. There is no alternative but to strongly push 
in this direction by formulating a strategy for dialogue with the U.S. on 
the conditions for the alliance [between it and its regional partners] and 
the commitments on both sides. It is not enough that from time to time, the 
Gulf states express their displeasure with the American partner in light of 
the grand achievements made by Russia's regional allies. They must switch... 
to a response that penetrates all the American elites..."[8] 

Saudi Government Daily: U.S. Must Stop The Deception, Be Clear On Iran 

"The Saudi government daily Al-Watan stated in an editorial: The secretary 
of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, [Ali Shamkhani,] boasted two 
days ago that Iran is now on the shores of the Mediterranean and the Bab 
Al-Mandab Straits and that it prevented the fall of Baghdad, Damascus and 
Erbil to the Islamic State [ISIS] organization. This proves that Iran no 
longer conceals its imperialist policy, and that it has found an opportunity 
to penetrate Arab states thanks to the chaos created by the Bashar Al-Assad 
regime in Syria and by the Houthis in Yemen, [and as happened] and is still 
happening in Iraq [after] the U.S. destroyed its infrastructures and allowed 
Iran to do as it pleased [there]… 

"The extent of U.S. collusion with Tehran is apparent from the suspicious 
[U.S.] silence towards the unusually [extensive] deployment of Iranian 
forces in Iraq under the pretext of fighting the ISIS organization. If we 
add to this the IRGC deployment on Syrian territory to support the Assad 
regime, then all these things become totally clear and add up to one 
conclusion: that Tehran is playing its own game while exploiting the 
weakness of various countries in its attempt to gain time for realizing as 
much as possible of its Persian [Empire] dream. 

"This declaration [by Ali Shamkhani] is not the first and definitely will 
not be the last. Four days ago, [Ali Younesi], the advisor to Iranian 
President [Hassan Rohani], said that Iran has now become an empire [again], 
as it was throughout the course of history, and that its capital is Baghdad, 
which is the center of our civilization, culture and identity, as it was in 
the past. [His statement] reveals the truth about the Iranian aspirations to 
restore the glory of the [Persian] Empire and take revenge on the Arabs… 

"All the aforesaid shows the importance of opposing Iran's policy and its 
schemes in the Arab region. To this end, there is no choice but for the GCC 
countries and the Arab League to begin cooperating immediately in order to 
pressure the international community in every possible way to limit Iranian 
expansion. The U.S. must choose between two options: to continue with its 
undeclared game with Iran, or to alter its policy and decide in favor of its 
interests with the Arabs. It must stop the deception and be clear about 
everything pertaining to Iran, for the current situation can no longer be 
taken lightly."[9] 


[1]Al-Hayat (London), February 15, 2015. 

[2]Al-Hayat (London), February 22, 2015. 

[3], March 13, 2015. 

[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), March 7, 2015. 

[5]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 12, 2015. 

[6]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), February 3, 2015. 

[7]Al-Nahar (Lebanon), March 10, 2015. 

[8]Al-Hayat (London), February 23, 2015.

No comments:

Post a Comment