Who Ridiculed Whom?

U.S. President Barack Obama, former lawmaker and elite Harvard graduate, is the object of ridicule because of his fumbling and indecision, not to mention his foreign policies that do not befit a country regarded as the single greatest power in the world since the Cold War. People are also laughing at his Secretary of State John Kerry, who was made to look like a fool last month, even though his familiarity with foreign affairs greatly exceeds Obama’s. An obscure reporter asked Kerry if the U.S. would avoid war and not punish or hold Assad’s regime accountable if he agreed to destroy his deadly chemical weapons arsenal, and Kerry’s answer was yes!

That answer was enough to turn the situation upside down. The American and European threats of bombing Syria from air and by sea transformed into a diplomatic process with the stated goal of merely disarming Assad’s chemical fangs, as if the hundreds of thousands of Syrian martyrs, bereaved mothers, homeless children and displaced persons in various parts of the world, and the lives destroyed by Assad’s traditional war machine for two and a half years, do not necessitate holding the Damascus regime accountable!

It is well-known that the Russians took advantage of Kerry’s hasty answer and put it to good use, not only to rid themselves of embarrassment because they are aiding a barbaric, murderous regime and prolonging its life, but also to burst back onto the world stage as a global leader on equal footing with the United States. This is precisely what Moscow has sought since the fall of the former Soviet Union. It was achieved by pure coincidence and in the simplest of ways thanks in part to the malice and wits of Sergei Lavrov, the Russian prime minister with the sullen expression, and in part to Obama’s indecision and the hastiness of his secretary of state. The Russians have entangled the Americans in an agreement without anyone knowing how it will be executed, how long it will take or even the extent of the Syrian regime’s commitment to implementing its elastic terms.

Perhaps what is most ironic and regretful is that Obama was not held back by his failure and the Russians’ mockery of him and his secretary of state. Rather, in front of reporters at the White House on Sept. 27, he claimed the United Nations Security Council’s resolution on the Syrian chemical weapons issue was a huge victory for the international community, adding, “This is something that we have long sought.” This alone is enough proof that when the U.S. president vowed retribution and sent ships and aircraft carriers to Syria’s coast, he was not sincere. He made a fool of the world before the Russians brilliantly made a fool of him. What victory is Obama talking about? The U.N. Security Council resolution has not been tested yet on the ground, not to mention its inclusion of a special provision the Russians insisted on: The Syrian chemical weapons issue will be sent back to the U.N. Security Council if it becomes clear to international inspectors that Damascus is dodging its implementation. Are Obama and Kerry not aware that, in this case, the Russians can once again return to block any U.N. resolution against their ally, Syria, by vetoing it, especially since the terms of Moscow and Washington’s agreement did not reference Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, which authorizes the international community to enforce its decisions by force without returning to the Security Council?

In another respect, the Iranians have made a fool of Obama’s democratic administration. Appropriately, there are once again questions about the competence of the first black U.S. president in respect to managing policies of a country with the size, status and capabilities of his own country! Actually, former President Bill Clinton, who is considered one of the pillars of the ruling Democratic Party in the United States, answered a question similar to this one when he described Obama as incompetent. In addition, Clinton did not support him in his first election campaign, except so that his wife Hillary could hold the position of secretary of state.

The new Iranian leadership’s statements have misled Obama. He built hopes on these statements and ran to the Iranians with open arms, while only receiving promises, sweet words and the release of a limited number of the prisoners of conscience who pack the Iranian detention centers. Obama did this knowing full well that Tehran is deeply involved in the massacre of the Syrian people. Iran is the cause of unrest and strife, not in remote countries without strategic interests for America, but in countries historically considered Washington’s most loyal allies, the Gulf states. He did this with full realization that Tehran did not move one inch down the path of democracy, political reform, respect for human rights, etc. This has troubled the leaders of the world since Obama has been elected president of the United States.

What is worse is that a president like this, with his characteristics, policies and narrow vision, is the one who recently addressed the world from the platform at the largest international forum and put Syria, Iraq and Bahrain in one basket, accusing all three regimes of sectarian behavior. By this, he meant to deceive and misconstrue the facts about Bahrain in front of the world. Is the president cognizant about what he is saying? Is there not a rational person among his staff, advising him to read a book about the history of Bahrain, the country that prides itself on religious tolerance and a diverse society? Where is the reason in likening Bahrain with Syria and Iraq in terms of what is happening in these countries? Did he not receive news of the democratic process that was launched in Bahrain and the accompanying political reforms over the course of more than a decade?

To conclude, the Russians and Iranians are not the only ones laughing at Obama’s administration! Small Lebanon, mired in complicated domestic problems, without a government for about a year, was also able to make a fool of Obama by claiming that it is distancing itself from the Syrian quagmire. The truth is that one of its components, namely the terrorist group Hezbollah, is drenched to the bone in fighting on Assad’s side. Hezbollah even threatens the Washington-allied Gulf states in broad daylight, without being punished or deterred by the official Lebanese authority. Lebanon mocked Obama further by convincing the Americans — according to Lebanese President Michel Suleiman’s interview with the al-Hayat newspaper — that Hezbollah does not accept the acquisition, use or smuggling of chemical weapons, a carbon copy of the claim by the mullahs’ regime in Tehran.

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