The American administration called it “a historic agreement”, the Israeli Prime Minister described it as “a historic mistake”, for the Arabs the Obama endorsed nuclear deal with Iran signed on Sunday represents a ‘historic defeat”.
As Secretary Kerry was negotiating with the Iranians, Tehran’s proxy groups were bombing Saudi forces on the Iraqi borders, attacking Yemeni forces in Shia dominated north and threatening the Saudi Embassy in Beirut. For Arab Gulf sheikhdoms and Egypt, this American administration naïveté and short vision in the region is troublesome.
An agreement that temporary halt uranium enrichment but doesn’t call for a dismantlement of Iran’s’ nuclear infrastructure will not succeed in making the world safer as long as the Jewish state is not on board. The threat of an Israeli unilateral military action is still on the table and would likely bring American involvement.
"Despite deep pockets and an armada of lobbyists and advisers, oil-rich Arab nations are unable to get their message through in Washington"
Ironically, Israel seems to be doing all the heavy lifting among its apprehensive neighbors. The Arabs, mad as hell, are unable to either articulate their positions or take appropriate measures to make their feelings of outrage heard when the White House seems “indifferent”.
For many in the Arab world, fearful of a Shia dominated region, Iran’s agreement to halt the progress of its nuclear program is a ploy to get sanctions relief and an attempt to buy time to solidify the mullahs’ grip in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain.
As during the Syria ”chemical weapon attack” crisis, the Russians came on top since their allies look triumphant while America’s partners are resigned to mystification and anger. The Geneva agreement further deepens America’s diplomatic retreat in the Middle East, weakens Arab allies and emboldens Iranian hardliners. For the Free Syrian Army and the moderate Sunnis in the Arabian Peninsula, the American decision to release more than 8 billion dollars of assets to Tehran amounts to funding Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
Despite deep pockets and an armada of lobbyists and advisers, oil-rich Arab nations are unable to get their message through in Washington. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries apprehension with the deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange of lessening economic sanctions has not materialized into an Arab strategy to convince the Americas to change approach. Now Arab “hopes” are pinned on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s attempts to stop the Obama deal.
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The GCC views the American administration’s evasion to address Iran’s role in prolonging the carnage in the Iraq and Syria crises as reprehensible. Iran’s support of the Syrian regime and the Maliki Shia dominated government is as detrimental to the security of the United States and Israel as “the bomb”. For Arab countries in the region, Iran’s quest for a nuclear bomb is directed toward them more than Israel. The mullah’s anti-Israel talk is designed to portray the Islamic Republic as heroic and revolutionary when the goal is to intimidate Sunnis in the Middle East.
Saudis and Israelis understand the Iranian game and view the American positions as gullible and ineffective. Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the real power in Tehran, feeling the pinch from the sanctions and bowing to pressure from local merchants and the middle class who have been suffering, decided to roll out “plan B” which consists of delaying the bomb in exchange for a temporary economic relief.
Americans weary of another war in the Middle East were happy to embrace a newly elected Iranian president the “moderate” Hassan Rouhani. For Riyadh and Tel-Aviv, Rouhani is a ruse and a dishonest attempt by hardliners to sidestep sanctions without giving up on their nuclear program.
Iran’s efforts to destabilize its neighbors are at the core of the Khomeini revolution and will remain a goal of the current ruling circles.
By buying into Tehran’s proposal without guarantees that Iranian interferences in Syria will cease, Washington is playing into the hands of Khamenei. For Saudi Arabia and Israel, the easing of sanctions means more money for the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah to support the Assad the Maliki regimes.
Since it is the distressing economic condition that has pushed Iran to come to the table, it doesn’t make sense to remove the stick and keep the carrot.
This is a “bad deal” that will turn a dangerous region more hostile to US presence and less trusting of Washington assurances. For Arabs, America keeps on breaking promises.