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There is no disputing the fact that Obama’s perceived weakness and his appeasement of Iran and Syria have boosted the power of the radical anti-American and anti-peace coalition: Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. As the Lebanese Forces website pointed out in its September 30, 2010 issue:
As the West, led by the Obama administration, has warmed to an unreformed Assad and downgraded its support of Lebanon’s moderates; Hariri has gradually toned down his antagonism to Syria. His first visit to Syria came in 2009, and since then he has become a frequent caller in Damascus, each time leaving a little more of Lebanon’s independence at Bashar’s feet.
The report added:
Just as the success of the Cedar Revolution was not all the Bush administration’s doing, the loss of Lebanon did not result in its entirety from the Obama administration’s actions. But there is little question that policy shifts in Washington changed the regional realities to the point where Saad Hariri (Sunni-Muslim Prime Minister of Lebanon-JP) now feels he has no choice but to side with Syria if he hopes, quite literally, to survive.
Egypt, in whose capital city Obama addressed the Muslim world and exalted the virtues of Islam, is now reaching a decisive turning point. Will Jamal Mubarak, the son of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, succeed his father or will there be elections? If not rigged, elections are likely to bring the Muslim Brotherhood to power. And, just as with Hamas’s 2006 victory in Palestinian elections — which turned out to be a “one time election”– Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood would similarly win power by the ballot-box, and then put and end to all elections.
Obama’s Cairo speech focused almost exclusively on building bridges with leaders and governments. Yet, in both Egypt and Iran, a gulf has opened between the government and the citizenry. While Obama has strengthened ties with the aging Mubarak, he has ignored concerns over Egypt’s increasingly restive population. Democratic activists in Egypt are uncertain they count for anything in the U.S.’s relationship with Egypt.
The Iranian opposition was duly despondent over Obama passivity in the wake of the regime’s stolen elections in June 2009. One can still recall the young protesters chant: “Obama, Obama — you are either with us or with them [the Islamist regime of Ahmadinejad].” The Obama administration’s refusal to invoke the military option against Iran, coupled with years of appeasing the tyrannical regime, has encouraged the radical-Shiite republic to forge ahead in its quest for nuclear weapons. The indecisiveness of the Obama administration has shifted the balance of power in the Gulf. Iran is now calling the shots in Iraq, and the Arab Gulf states are leery of depending on the U.S. for protection, and thus seek accommodation with Iran.
Ankara, Turkey, Obama’s destination for his first speech to the world as U.S. president in April 2009 (where he called the host country “a critical ally”) has now cemented its alliance with Iran and Syria. Erdogan’s Turkey has also attempted to foil the Obama administration’s efforts to put stronger sanctions on Iran. Moreover, the Obama administration, intimidated by Russia, has chosen to deploy elements of the ballistic-missile defense shield originally intended for Poland and the Czech Republic, to Turkey.
The question now is whether President Obama will focus on repairing the damage of his appeasement toward Iran, Syria, and the Palestinians, and take a more decisive stance against these radical and destabilizing forces. Or will he continue with his failed policies?
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