Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Obama’s Benghazi moment

The “Benghazi moment” is likely engendering a rethink in the United States’ regional strategies in the Middle East. One is inclined to agree with the Time magazine’s assessment that a Libya-style intervention by the US in Syria now becomes highly unlikely. 

A curious aspect of Tony Karon’s analysis is that he tosses the Syrian ball into the court of the Arab governments.

This is also in sync with the White House “readout” of President Barack Obama’s latest telecon with Turkish PM Recep Erdogan. The tone is restrained despite Erdogan’s deep frustration (which he openly voiced in a recent interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour) that the regime change in Syria may not come anytime soon and in the meanwhile he has been left holding a can of worms, with Obama in to mood to accept the can into his hands.

The White House said Obama and Erdogan “pledged to advance this important work” and left things delightfully vague at that. Meanwhile, there is a furious assault being mounted on Obama by the US’ allies who are disenchanted with his manifest reticence in getting America involved in a potentially debilitating Syrian quagmire.

The Saudi lobby in the US is indeed hitting out at Obama: “Syria burns and calls for help, but the call goes unanswered. The civil war there has become a great Sunni-Shiite schism. Lebanon teeters on the edge. More important, trouble has spilled into Turkey. The Turks have come to resent the American abdication and the heavy burden the Syrian struggle has imposed on them. In contrast, the mullahs in Iran have read the landscape well and are determined to sustain the Assad dictatorship.” Yes, Saudis are indeed turning up the heat. Read More