Middle East: Crisis, What Crisis?
by PRESIDENTIAL POLICY: DOES IT MAKE THE GRADE?, JAMES JAY CARAFANO, PHD
November 29, 2011
If just watching from the sidelines counted for leadership then the President had a great week last week—because that just about sums-up the White House response to the most critical foreign policy front at the moment—the Middle East.
The Arab Spring is long gone, but the tumult that has spread throughout the region is far from over. If anything, the situation may be more unsettled now than it was when the Spring sprung. In countries like Tunisia, more Islamist regimes have come to the fore. The President of Yemen officially stepped down. The outcome in Libya remains to be seen. Violence erupted across the Egyptian capital. Bahrain remains unsettled. Syria sits on the brink of Civil War.
No part of the Arab world is more troubled than the land of the chief troublemaker in the Middle East. The regime in Iran is as aggressive as ever—and never more hated at home. Tehran’s response to the unsettling conditions on its borders has been eminently predictable. Iran threatened to attack its neighbor Turkey. Iran is angry that Turkey turned against Assad in Syria. Tehran wants to deter military intervention in Syria. The Iranian regime is desperate to save Alawite allies in Syria because it knows if Assad falls it will encourage Iran's opposition green movement.
Meanwhile the president has been busy shaking hands in Asia, stumping for his jobs package in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and holding campaign events in New York—anything but dealing with the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.
The right policy in that part of the world would with start with— #1 restoring confidence in our alliance with Israel and #2 working for regime change in Iraq—two tasks that this White House has neglected since taking office.
For largely ignoring the most serious geo-political upheaval since the Fall of the Wall in 1989, for last week the president gets an “A”—not for effort, but for being absent from the world stage where he has an important role to play.