Middle East Chaos: The Cost Of Obama's Retreat From Leadership Begins To Come Clear
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Saudi Arabia raised the threat to the peace and stability of the world with its display of more barbarism in the Middle East, executing 47 dissidents on January 2, some on the gallows and some beheaded in the government butcher shop. The execution of a prominent Shia cleric was particularly provocative.
Religious antagonism and discrimination are insoluble facts of life in the Middle East, and the Wahhabi ultraorthodox Sunnis in Saudi Arabia are particularly troublesome. In fact, some analysts say that Wahhabi Sunni proselytizing throughout the Islamic world is responsible for the current wave of Sunni terrorism, matching Shiite terrorism directed by the mullahs in Iran.
The executions, which led to violence against the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and a break in relations between the Saudis and their allies on one hand, the Sunni Gulf states, and Iran, has provoked fears in Russia and China that the violence will spread. “The conflict is playing out on Arab streets big time,” says Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the London School of Economics. Both governments have urged all parties to cool their anger. So has the United States, but President Obama has reduced American influence in the region.
The eruption of diplomatic and sectarian violence is more evidence of the failure of Mr. Obama’s Middle East policy, or lack of a coherent one. U.S. entreaties to spare the lives of the 47 dissidents, lest their deaths further inflame the region, was quickly scorned. Once considered close allies, the Saudis have drifted away from American influence in the face of Mr. Obama’s attempted romance with Iran.