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The Region: How US policy is betraying not only Israel, but also Sunni Arabs
By BARRY RUBIN
01/12/2013
The US has objectively sided with Iran, and that is one of the reasons the Saudis are angry.
 
In 1948, there were hopes that the Arab-Israeli conflict would be resolved in the long run. But it wasn’t. In 1967, there was hope that the magnitude of Israeli victory meant that the Arabs would eventually come to terms (Egypt and Jordan did in a way, although the final word has not been written). In 1982, people believed that the conflict could still be solved, but it wasn’t. And finally, during the negotiations from 1993- 2000, there were renewed hopes that the conflict would be resolved. It wasn’t.

Today, the conflict is even further from being resolved, especially with the entry of Iran, Islamism, and the radical government in Turkey. Maybe it is time to conclude that the Arab-Israeli conflict will never be resolved.

There have since been at least three more examples following the same pattern. The first is obviously Iran, its nuclear intentions, its trickery and its desire to dominate the region.

But that’s not all; consider what the US has done to Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It is probable that Iran is going to give Syria a victory in the civil war. The fact is that Iran, Hezbollah and the Syrian government are on one side, and Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been on the other side.

But now, in essence, the US has objectively sided with Iran, and that is one of the reasons the Saudis are angry.

Here is what the Saudi ambassador to England, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, had to say on the matter: “Appeasement hasn’t worked in the past, and I don’t think it will work in the 21st century. That is why the frustration really is toward the main players within the United Nations Security Council, that’s their responsibility.

And they will share also the blame, whatever deal comes out, they are responsible for it.”

The statement from the Saudi ambassador to London also expressed in his Times of London interview, an unusually abrasive criticism of the West for what he said was a too-soft approach toward Iran, calling Washington’s “rush” to engage with Tehran “incomprehensible.”

A senior Saudi diplomat issued a rare direct threat to Iran, warning that “all options are available” should the international community fail to rein in Iran’s alleged drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

This statement could easily come out of the mouth of an Israeli politician.

It is amusing that with this parallelism to Israel’s viewpoint, the senior diplomat had to deny that he saw something in common with Israel.

In other words, Saudi Arabia feels that it has been betrayed by the United States, and will respond to that betrayal.

Then there is Egypt. Let’s review American behavior. Two years ago, the United States basically helped and celebrated a Muslim Brotherhood electoral victory. Every anti-Islamist knows this. When the Egyptian military coup happened a year later, the US opposed it.

In other words, if the Muslim Brotherhood had won and crushed freedom by staying in office, it would be have been backed by the US, but since there was a coup, the election was stolen.

Doesn’t everyone in Egypt know that if the coup had not taken place, the US would have supported the Muslim Brotherhood government? Don’t the Egyptians know that the US was willing to sell Egypt into Islamic fundamentalist slavery? Would anyone believe the US would protect any of its other allies? But suddenly, the US turned around and Kerry actually said that the Muslim Brotherhood had “stolen” the revolution.

And that is why the Egyptians are turning toward Russia today and do not trust the US. Frankly, one would think the Obama administration wants to sabotage US Middle East policy.

By the way, the Egyptians were so angered by their perception of Turkey cuddling up to Iran and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood that they threw out the Turkish ambassador.

The author is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya and is editor of The Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan).
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