Pedro Molina

Obama’s Middle East Malady

No sooner did Barack Obama welcome home US troops from Iraq and laud that country’s stability and democracy than an unprecedented wave of violence revealed the severity of Iraq’s political crisis. Is that crisis an unfortunate exception, or, rather, a symptom of the failure of Obama’s Middle East diplomacy, from Egypt to Afghanistan?

PARIS – No sooner did US President Barack Obama welcome home American troops from Iraq and laud that country’s stability and democracy than an unprecedented wave of violence – across Baghdad and elsewhere – revealed the severity of Iraq’s political crisis. Is that crisis an unfortunate exception, or, rather, a symptom of the failure of Obama’s Middle East diplomacy, from Egypt to Afghanistan?

Upon taking office, Obama set four objectives in the Middle East: stabilize Iraq before leaving it; withdraw from Afghanistan from a position of strength and on the basis of minimal political convergence with Pakistan; achieve a major breakthrough in the Middle East peace process by pushing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to freeze settlements; and open a dialogue with Iran on the future of its nuclear program. On these four major issues, Obama has clearly achieved little.

With regard to Iraq, since George W. Bush’s presidency, the United States has strived to exert a moderating influence on Shia power, so that the country can create a more inclusive political system – specifically, by passing a new law on sharing oil-export revenues among the Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish communities. Unfortunately, the precise opposite happened. 

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/VfRuhLe;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.