Russia won in Syria thanks to President Barack Obama’s inaction. The Middle East unraveling of the past decade is due in no small part to America not listening to her allies in the region. Never mind President Donald Trump’s Muslim-bashing rhetoric, he may just be a better partner.
This is the case Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri laid out in an exclusive interview with The Global Politico at the end of a weeklong visit to Washington. The tone was measured but taken together his comments amount to a striking and stark indictment of Obama and much recent U.S. policy in the Middle East. “The unfortunate consequence of not acting” there, Hariri argues, has been Russia’s restoration as a regional heavyweight, the resurrection of Bashar Assad’s bloody regime in Syria and the failure to produce an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Much of Hariri’s critique of Obama comes down to naivete — and the big gap between America’s inspirational rhetoric and its actions. Hariri also faults Obama for the big gap between the “inspirational” words in his 2009 Cairo speech suggesting a new American approach to the region — and the “nothing” that came of Obama’s efforts to forge peace between Israel and the Palestinians. And he points out that while Arab leaders opposed President George W. Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, they were also strongly against the 2011 American pull out of Iraq during Obama’s presidency, a withdrawal that many in the region believe left a dangerous vacuum eventually filled by the rise of the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria.
Source Credit: The Global Politico
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