With Gulf Arab States, U.S. Should Focus on One Objective: Iran

Describing differences as tactical in his recent visit to the Middle East, U.S. President Barack Obama must come to realize walking one line with America’s long-time Arab partners is more important than merely clinging to an ill-fated personal legacy. This U.S. President will be leaving office in less than 9 months, and the worst case scenario is leaving an already flashpoint region of the world known as the Middle East in turmoil for his successor to clean up.

If President Obama fails to come to terms vis-à-vis his Arab allies, this will be the legacy he will be remembered by, not a modus vivendi bound to expire in less than a decade and provide Iran dangerous access to perfect its ambitions of obtaining the world’s deadliest weapons. Iran is already embarking on fanning its meddling ambitions across the region. It is time to take serious action in this regard and bring an end to such destructive behavior that is fueling wars in Syria and Yemen, and stoking tensions in Iraq and Lebanon.

Obama Inaction Brought Region Together Against Iran

Obama discussed a variety of issues with leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council for four hours, seeking to find common ground on how to tackle agendas including Iran, continuing conflicts across the region and the ongoing war against terrorism resembled in the fight against Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or ISIS) and al-Qaeda.

While the U.S. leader claims strains in America’s relationship with the Sunni states is overblown, he must acknowledge the fact that Iran is possessing such a threat that Arab and Muslim nations have for the first time formed an anti-terror bloc obviously placing Iran in their crosshairs. The world did not witness such a coalition even when Iran was involved in a deadly war against Iraq for 8 years back in the 1980s. Since then, Tehran has proven to be a lethal supporter of international terrorism. This endeavor has now become ever more deadly for the entire region and beyond.

Obama and Saudis.
Obama and Saudis. Photo:Pete Souza/The White House.

Obama Made A Mess Much Worse

The outreach policy adopted by the White House has prompted Gulf Arab leaders to consider such methods as “naïve.” The United States and the West have for 37 years attempted long enough to engage Iran through a perspective of appeasement and rapprochement. Once and for all Washington must face the harsh reality that this policy has drastically failed. One unfortunate outcome has been the rise of Daesh and this “JV team” astonishingly grasping large swathes of eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq.

Yes, the West’s failure to detect the real enemy in the Middle East provided Iran more than a decade-long opportunity of expanding its lethal influence throughout the region, a scenario impossible before 2003. And for those who argue Obama was left to clean up the mess placed before him by his predecessor, you’re right. But one cannot deny Obama had ample time to render good results, yet he has only ravaged the crisis and allowed Iran to inflate the turmoil far beyond Iraq’s borders.

Putin and Obama.One very unfortunate setback was Obama’s failure to stand up for his own red line of Bashar Assad using chemical weapons against the Syrian people, much to the consternation of the international community. This dangerous precedent prepared a vacuum allowing Iran to entrench its influence and Russia entering the scene to make the disarray all the more complicated, from Syria all the way to Ukraine and Crimea.

The Wall Street Journal Could See It

The Wall Street Journal described Iran’s role in Syria brilliantly: “Since the start of the conflict, Iran has spent billions of dollars and mobilized thousands of its regional militias from Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere to prop up Assad. Iran now appears to be deepening its involvement by sending more of its own troops. Almost no day goes by now without funerals in Iran for fighters killed in Syria.”

The Gulf Arabs and Washington both believe in containing Iran’s destabilizing role in the region, yet their adopted approaches differ fundamentally. While Washington has pursued a policy of engagement, culminating in the 2015 nuclear deal sealed with Iran, Riyadh has spearheaded the Gulf region in the exact opposite direction and began executing tangible measures and speaking the language of force that Iran’s mullahs understand all too well.

PMOI / NCRI Unveiled Mullahs’ Nuclear Program

A movement that has risen against the mullahs in Iran, and paid the ultimate price, has been the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran. The PMOI is the main organization under the umbrella of the National Council of Resistance of Iran. This organization has for nearly four decades strived for the establishment of human rights, democracy and freedom based on regime change in in Iran. The PMOI / NCRI have gained worldwide recognition in unveiling the mullahs’ clandestine nuclear weapons program, expansionist ambitions and thrive to support terrorism, domestic crackdown and brutal human rights violations.

Iran in Obama’s Last Months

Obama may have received a generally polite reception in Riyadh by his hosts, yet America as a whole must realize their strategic Arab partners have learned to rely on their own to rid their neighborhood of the loathed and detested ideology advocated by Tehran’s mullahs. And rest assured Iran will be attempting to take full advantage of Obama’s last months in office to gain even more concessions from America’s lame duck president.

Shahriar Kia

Shahriar Kia is a member of the Iranian opposition (PMOI /MEK). He is a human rights activist and political analyst on Iran and the Middle East.