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American turmoil in the Middle East

by on November 27, 2013

Post-2011 saw massive change within the Middle East. More importantly, the outside influences we’ve recognized mainly as the United States publicly saw these changes as a huge welcome, not only to themselves but also under the banner of freedom of speech and democracy. However, the turn of events has dramatically deteriorated relations with the United States, primarily from the main players who are, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The Middle East is a key strategic point for the USA as well as the two nations in question that are seen to have great influence over the region. Therefore, Israel and Saudi Arabia are important to the USA’s foreign policy interests. Yet, the United States recent policy change towards the Middle East has thawed relations between the three main players. They have expressed disappointment as well as anger towards the USA and its intentions. This post will briefly look at what issues the USA has encountered with each nation, respectively.

 

Israel:Kerry + netan

Israel without a doubt is one of, if not, the US’ closest ally in the Middle East. However recent years under the Obama administration has spawned diplomatic spats over conflicting interests that both cant see eye to eye. The USA’s unequivocal support for Israel has most recently taken an even further dip while the worlds permanent 5 plus Germany have kick started- and possibly agreed on- a ‘comprehensive nuclear deal’ with Iran. This is seen to be the closest for the west to sealing a deal with Iran who have been isolated from world affairs for more than 30 years. However, while Obama is fishing for positive results out of the Middle East, Israel particularly Netanyahu has been in uproar over the US’ friendly approach. Western powers have reiterated, there are no firm commitments thus far, but what is really bugging Netanyahu is the consideration of limiting the enrichment of Uranium rather than the preferred complete eradication of a nuclear Iran. Netanyahu was anything but shy voicing his serious concerns over the “partial deal” stating,“ What was accomplished last night in Geneva, is not a historic agreement, it’s a historic mistake.” Obama and Kerry are finding the silver lining of this deal claiming it’s a,“ New path to a more secure world.” while Kerry reverberates the same tone claiming that the comprehensive deal makes US allies in the Middle East- including Israel safer.

However, Israel’s stubborn and paranoid attitude will prove to beproblematic for the US in the long run, with the recently re-appointed Israel foreign minister Avigdor Liberman so far as saying “ there is no doubt they received acknowledgment of their ‘legitimate’ in their own words, right to enrich Uranium and that brings us here to a middle East Arms race.”

Israel’s zero-sum attitude will prove detrimental for the US. Though, as always, Israel sticks out like a sore thumb holding views that conflict those of its neighbors causing political ruptures. Though rebuilding new relations with Iran is a huge step for the USA to take, this will ripple back to American foreign policy in the Middle East, More importantly the divisive talks between the Palestinians and Israelis.

faisl +kerry Saudi Arabia:

The USA has never had a more straightforward relationship than with the Saudis. Many American presidents have made predominant visits to Saudi Arabia reassuring state as well as personal relationships between the two. However, The US’ approach towards the Syrian civil war as well as its coziness with Iran has flipped the Saudis attitude towards the world and particularly its closest friend, the US, a full 360 degrees. While going the same root as the Israelis publicly slamming both events, the Saudis took a more heroic approach to get its point across. On September 7th, the Saudi foreign minister was scheduled to address the UNGA however dropped out in the last minute refusing to deliver the speech. The fundamental reason was the Saudis shock at the weak global response towards the Syrian Civil war, pointing their finger at the UN Security Council particularly claiming it to be inept and dysfunctional as well as the Americans. The Saudis took an even further step when it rejected its upcoming seat at the Security Council in the coming rotation for the same reason, which are that of negligence over the Syrian civil war. This then leads to a separate problem for the Saudis, which has some link between the two. The Iranian talks in Geneva seem to have angered the Saudis further who – like the Israelis- are lobbying extensively against the deal. Using diplomatic maneuvers seems to be the only way the Saudis can really grab the attention of the west. The Saudis biggest concern is that its regional power doesn’t pack the punch Western powers posses– especially the USA’s. The Arab-uprisings post 2011 have changed the balance of power and has made the Saudis realise its approach regionally and globally need to become more proactive as the US’ foreign policy is slowly drifting away from old friends of the middle east, and seeking new ones.

Sources: 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/10400680/Israel-clashes-with-US-as-it-calls-for-destruction-of-Irans-nuclear-industry.html

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/11/24/israel-slams-iran-nuclear-agreement-calls-it-a-bad-deal/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/11/10/israel-us-relations-iran/3488455/

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/26/world/middleeast/us-and-saudis-in-growing-rift-as-power-shifts.html?_r=0

 

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One Comment
  1. It is clear that the resent events between Iranian diplomats and the US secretary John Terry, in representation of the US government, is coming to a convenient agreement. It is also clear that the Israeli’s ambition to intervene militarily onto Iranian’s nuclear facilities, with the possibility of a new armed conflict engagement in the region is coming to and end. Likely, the negotiations between the so-called P5+1,- the permanent members of the UN Security Council along with Germany – and Iran are at least in the first step of negotiations. The agreement already reached in Geneva points politics to a different direction. A possible lifting of sanctions are on the American agenda in return for Iranian’s willingness to slow down the uranium enrichment to 5%. The first nuclear deal with Iran in almost a decade has already jolted strategic alliances around the Middle East region, where unlikely bedfellows Israel and Saudi Arabia have joined forces to voice their opposition. It could also lay the groundwork for future co-operation between the US and Iran which have not had diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and the Iranian hostage crisis. The deal is seen as a rational step in terms of international relations, but it is obvious that the Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not support that idea of a deal with Iran, he instead criticised the deal saying that it will put Israel in danger in terms of security and that “I will not ‘shut up’ when Israel’s interests are at stake”. Therefore, the relations between Israel, Saudi Arabia an other traditional US allies in the region have already been deteriorated and new international political outcomes may flourish in the near future.

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