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Opinion: A Crisis Made in Washington - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Has the West become accustomed to crises taking place in the Middle East, no longer caring about them (with the Syrian conflict serving as a prime example here)?

The truth is that the real crisis which everyone has to learn to live with is that of President Obama himself, and not those of the region. Today everyone is convinced the Middle East can expect nothing from Obama’s dithering administration, which is incapable of making serious decisions about the events taking place around us.

To make the picture clearer, we are facing a bloody Syrian conflict, a crisis in Iraq, and the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) amid the intransigence of Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki. We also have the barbaric Israeli attack on Gaza, which started for trivial political reasons, and which has also given Hamas and its leaders the opportunity they were looking for.

Despite all that, the Obama administration is still dithering and occupied with the illusion of an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program.

Leaving the region’s problems aside, it is enough to look at the way the Obama administration deals with the crime that was the shooting down of a Malaysian airliner over Ukraine, which represents a flagrant challenge to international security. Obama’s administration found it sufficient only to make the same kind of statements we have become accustomed to since Obama took office.

At this stage, we should ask the following questions: What if Egypt was left to the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the wishes of the Obama administration (especially as we see today the daily terrorist threats facing the Egyptian army)? In what state would Egypt be had the army and the people not acted? What would the situation be had Saudi Arabia and the UAE abandoned Egypt?

Therefore, what is happening now is that everyone has decided to deal with Obama’s leadership crisis, and not the region’s crises. The Obama administration is unable to remove Maliki from his perch, in order to form an Iraqi national unity government capable of fighting ISIS—a fight requiring the help of not just the US, but all of the region’s states as well, especially the Sunnis, because it is our battle, as I have written before.

The Obama administration is also incapable of making a decisive move regarding Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who previously said that the whole region would burn if his throne was threatened. Now the region is already aflame, and the answer lies in resolving the Syrian issue, especially as the fall of Assad would serve as a knockout blow to extremism and terrorism in the region.

The talk about Obama’s crisis is not only happening in the Arab world, it is also going on in the United States. Look at what columnist David Ignatius recently wrote in the Washington Post, and which was republished in this newspaper, when he blamed the Obama administration for its dithering in Iraq and Syria: “You can sympathize with the White House’s situation in a chaotic world that simultaneously craves and resents US leadership,” he said, adding that “when core US national security interests are involved—as in combating the Islamic State [of Iraq and Syria] or maintaining the strongest possible alliance with Germany—the White House must break through whatever resistance or inertia it encounters. The rest is excuses.”

Therefore, this is Obama’s crisis, and we have to learn to live with it for a while, unfortunately.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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