Saudis also dismayed by Obama’s seeming tolerance of nuclear Iran
President Barack Obama’s declaration in the Turkish parliament Monday, April 6, that the US is not at war with Islam provided cold comfort in Riyadh and Cairo, where his drastic policy shift of detente with Tehran, first revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly last month, is causing jitters.
The Financial Times’ prediction that the US “may cede to Iran’s nuclear ambition” only added to the unease in the Middle East at large.
On the sidelines of the G20 summit in London, Saudi King Abdullah made his views known in a face-to-face interview with the US president on April 2. The White House communique reported blandly: Obama and Abdullah discussed international cooperation regarding the global economy, regional political and security issues, and cooperation against terrorism.
Iran was not mentioned. However, according to debkafile‘s Middle East sources, Abdullah took the US president sternly to task over his emerging policy on Iran, Syria and Iraq, accusing him to giving the Islamic Republic free rein for its nuclear, expansionist and terrorism-sponsoring Middle East policies.
Both parties tried to keep their abrasive encounter away from the public eye and their media, although the photo attached betrays its chilly atmosphere.
The Financial Times was the first Western mainstream publication to pick up on the new pro-Iran policy trend dominating Obama’s Washington: “US officials are considering whether to accept Iran’s pursuit of uranium enrichment… discussing whether the US will eventually have to accept Iran’s insistence on carrying out the process.”
The newspaper quoted Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council as warning: “The US may still have zero as its opening position [in its dialogue with Iran], while recognizing it may not be where things stand at the end of a potential agreement.”
debkafile‘s military sources fear that Tehran has been given a free run to perfect its ability to make bombs and warheads in the shortest possible time from the moment of decision.
Our sources report that the US president’s two-day stay in Ankara and his words of peace towards the Muslim world were seen in Riyadh and Cairo as ignoring the most pressing concerns of the leading Muslim Arab powers of the region.
Israeli leaders have been less reticent about their concerns. President Shimon Peres pointed out to visiting US congressmen in Jerusalem Monday that Iran has hoodwinked the entire world in its drive for a nuclear bomb whose main target would be the Jewish state; Israel’s population is short of adequate means of self-defense. Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Dan Harel warned that a nuclear-armed Iran would shield Middle East terror groups, so magnifying the threat to Israel manifold. But, he added, the IDF was fully capable of backing up any government decision to tackle this existential threat.
Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu diplomatically praised President Obama for his renewed commitment to Israeli security, omitting mention of Iran in the same way as he ignored the US president’s demand for a Palestinian state to rise alongside Israel in his speech to parliament in Ankara. Netanyahu commented that his new government is in the process of formulating its policies. This left him an opening to dispute administration polices when he arrives in Washington on May 3.