He ways that many of the people in this part of the world are confused when they talk about Obama’s legacy in the Middle East. However, Jay beiges that it wasn’t his own policies that seemed incoherent, but also the idea of how the Middle East saw him. Jay writes, “Obama could not decide on the Machiavelli conundrum of whether it is better to be feared or loved. It is as though he decided on neither, leaving a vast chasm open for regional intervention initially, rather than a global one, until Russia arrived in Syria in the late summer of 2015.”
Many of the failures in his term that can be attributed to decision blunders — the greatest one coming from his predecessor’s decision to disband the Iraqi army shortly after the US invasion of 2003. This one shouldn’t be underestimated as an error, a milestone that others were to follow, including Obama himself.
Jay writes that her has a question for Obama, “Do you regret pulling US troops out of Iraq in 2008?” He argued that this was a mistake that fueled the creation of what we now call ISIS or Daesh (Islamic State, formerly ISIL) in that country, and in Syria, of course.
Singular mistakes can be forgiven, given the objectives of his administration and its policy goals. But, Obama did not come in on a ticket that promised less drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. in fact, he increased them dramatically from George W. Bush. Obama came in on a pledge to bring troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. This was a decision that bore only pain, not gain, for the first black US President. He may have set himself up for a fall with this promise, but he badly wanted change, a completely new viewpoint on foreign policy, like so many other in the Middle East.
It’s argued that this radical overhaul on Washington’s policies the Middle East can be traced back his appointment of Samantha Power, the Middle East advisor who once called the US , “Nazi Germany”, and slandered Hillary Clinton as a “monster”. It was Power, who had campaigned to reform the UN earlier, but grew despondent over that and lated joined it. Power was not a fan of Israel and wanted to downgrade the intensity its relationship with Washington. Perhaps more poignantly, she never had the fear and hatred of Iran that was the stance of her predecessors and, most likely, of the main Trump appointments in the region today.
She led Obama toward of reform in the region that with a number of policy decisions that don’t add up. ‘Like, for example, arming Syrian rebels who fight for the downfall of Assad, while also thawing relations with Iran, the chief sponsor and geopolitical Big Brother of Syria,” Jay writes, and adds, “But it is Iran and Hezbollah – or rather the Iranian sphere – which Obama will be remembered for by a great many Arabs in the region. Obama’s somewhat incoherent policies resulted in a greater intervention in Iraq by both US forces, who finally came back in the form of special forces, but also the Iranian military and infamous Shia militias who are currently doing all the really gruesome fighting in Mosul today.”
Jay believes that Obama not only signaled an entirely new era of putting up with Iran as the new superpower in the region, but that he encouraged it. Today, most Arabs criticize the fact that Iran and its allies are strengthening their grip on the region. He beiges it to be no accident that the appointment of a new President in Lebanon, who is allied to the militant group, Hezbollah, came during Obama’s time. President Obama pushed for the Iran deal, which seeks to release Iran from crippling sanctions and unfreeze $100 billion of cash in the West. This tactic was supposed to shake up the region and signal an end to the status quo of Saudi Arabia calling the shots on everything, with Israel being the closest of all allies.
Donald Trump has just appointed some of he greatest adversaries of Iran. One, the US defense chief, and the others, a US ambassador to Israel, James Mattis and David Friedman. These two individuals probably agree with both Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s views that Iran is a threat that has to be dealt with. This new threat is no longer a military one, but an economic one, which presents an entirely new quandary for Washington, who can’t quite understand that Iran is a country with a modern, reformist group of people who clash with the old, conservative hardliners, unlike Saudi Arabia, which doesn’t show signs of ever allowing reform to come from its citizens. Jay believes that Iran is progressing.
With Iran’s growing economy expected to reach at least five percent growth, and $50 billion of investment expected to pour in, the country’s geopolitical strategies will be able to expand as well. With the war in Syria more or less over. But we should remember that the fall of Aleppo is not only a victory for the Assad regime, but, more importantly, the spoils of war for Hezbollah, whose leader recently underlined in a speech that the West can now “forget about toppling the Syrian regime.”
Jay writes, “The Lebanese Shia group’s experience in Syria has dramatically improved its battlefield kudos, and everyone knows where this is leading: an inevitable war at some point with Israel. It’s hardly a secret that the US has been in talks with Hezbollah, with some reports claiming that British diplomats are being used as go-betweens so that no US laws are broken. But who would have thought that, as sources within the intelligence community have told me, that US satellite photos of ISIS positions would be shared with the Lebanese group, who recently drew the wrath of American journalists when US made military troop carriers were found to be in their hands in Syria.”
“Given that Iran and its allies are stronger, better equipped, richer, and want to enhance their influence in the region, the Trump team that takes office already has a number of nightmare scenarios coming its way, with probably a new conflict emerging in Gaza when the 50-year anniversary of the occupation reaches fever pitch in the blistering summer heat in June of this year. Similarly, ISIS and Al Qaeda are expected to move to Yemen and Libya, while tensions between Israel and Hezbollah boil, as the latter boasts of “thousands” of new grade rockets aimed at Tel Aviv – a footnote of a speech that years earlier the Hezbollah leader would not have been able to make, but now asserts proudly, while making sure to no longer run down Uncle Sam, his new chum who made all of this possible,” Jay concludes.