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Thu Mar 5, 2015, 01:44 PM

Like Israel, U.S. Arab Allies Fear Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal

By Yaroslav Trofimov

The Israeli prime minister’s public confrontation with President Barack Obama over the U.S. administration’s pursuit of a nuclear bargain with Iran may have drawn all the spotlight this week. But America’s other key allies across the Middle East—such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates—are just as distraught, even if they lack the kind of lobbying platform that Benjamin Netanyahu was offered in Congress.

These nations’ ties with Washington have already frayed in recent years, dented by what many officials in the region describe as a nagging sense that America doesn’t care about this part of the world anymore. Now, with the nuclear talks nearing a deadline, these allies—particularly in the Gulf—fret that America is about to ditch its long-standing friends to win love from their common foe, at the very moment that this foe is on the offensive across the region.


Trying to assuage such concerns, Secretary of State John Kerry flew Wednesday to Saudi Arabia. There, he is slated to discuss with King Salman and foreign ministers of other Gulf nations their worries that the nuclear deal may enable Iran to dominate the region... Steven Simon, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute who served as senior director for Middle East and North Africa at the White House in 2011-12, noted that the Gulf countries—while genuinely alarmed by the U.S. outreach—can’t really propose a viable alternative. “The alternative to what the administration is doing with Iran is war,” he said. “And I don’t think the Saudis and the Emiratis and others are actually prepared for war.”

A joint effort to contain Iran and its proxies after the 1979 Islamic revolution was the key reason for the massive architecture of military, political and economic ties that the U.S. built with its regional allies in recent decades. Even before the revolution, Iran tried to dominate the Gulf, laying claim to Shiite-majority Bahrain and seizing disputed islands claimed by the U.A.E.

Taking advantage of the Obama administration’s attempt to pivot away from the region, Tehran in recent years asserted its influence in Baghdad and solidified its control in Damascus and Beirut. Last month, pro-Iranian Houthi Shiite militias seized power in Yemen’s capital San’a and ousted that country’s U.S.-backed president. The Sunni Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia that are engaged in proxy conflicts with Tehran in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain and Lebanon view this confrontation as an existential zero-sum game—and interpret any American opening to Iran, and any relaxation of the economic sanctions that have hobbled Iran’s ability to project power, as succor to the enemy.


The White House decision to focus the U.S. military effort exclusively on Islamic State, sparing the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, has allowed the regime and its Iranian-backed allies to regain ground there. This means that even the fighters of the U.S.-funded Free Syrian Army, which is supposed to help defeat Islamic State one day, are no longer sure about which side Washington really supports.


In Iraq’s war against Islamic State, the U.S. has in fact become a cobelligerent with Iran, which maintains brutal Shiite militias and is directly involved in running major campaigns, such as the current assault on the Sunni city of Tikrit.“Any opportunities that the Arab countries will have to undermine the deal, they will not miss it,” said Riad Kahwaji, CEO of the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis in Dubai. “They will all conclude that the U.S. is no longer a reliable strategic ally, and that the U.S. can sell them out any minute.”



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Reply Like Israel, U.S. Arab Allies Fear Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal (Original post)
question everything Mar 2015 OP
Comrade Grumpy Mar 2015 #1
question everything Mar 2015 #2

Response to question everything (Original post)

Thu Mar 5, 2015, 01:58 PM

1. Gee, those poor Arab states. Big Bad Iran is gonna get 'em.


I shed a tear for the medieval monarchs.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #1)

Thu Mar 5, 2015, 02:09 PM

2. Still interesting that Iran is fighting ISIL

alongside the U.S..

Personally, I'd rather have the Iranians "boots on the ground" than ours.

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