Obama’s Middle East Arms Race
Obama has worked intently over the last six plus years to “prevent” a nuclear arms race in the Middle East by working with Iran on a nuclear deal. Unfortunately, the continual wavering and concessions to Iran made by this administration have created that very thing: a Middle East arms race.The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is set to meet at Camp David on Thursday. Obama wants to make it a time to “reassure” those Arab States that everything is fine. But the consequences of his dithering over the Middle East may have now reached a critical impasse. They want whatever Iran gets in the deal.
“Whatever the Iranians have, we will have too.” Prince Turki bin Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief
According to the New York Times,
But by leaving 5,000 centrifuges and a growing research and development program in place — the features of the proposed deal that Israel and the Arab states oppose virulently — Mr. Obama is essentially recognizing Iran’s right to continue enrichment of uranium, one of the two pathways to a nuclear weapon. Leaders of the Sunni Arab states are arguing that if Iran goes down that road, Washington cannot credibly argue they should not follow down the same one, even if their technological abilities are years behind Iran’s.
“With or without a deal, there will be pressure for nuclear proliferation in the Middle East,” said Gary Samore, Mr. Obama’s top nuclear adviser during the first term and now the executive director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. “The question is one of capabilities. How would the Saudis do this without help from the outside?”
The weapons bottom line
Saudi Arabia has been pressuring the US to provide more weapons. Politics between the different Gulf States is a huge barrier to any kind of cohesive protection or even acquisition of nuclear capability in the region. Let’s be blunt: Muslims don’t like other Muslims.
Defense One wrote,
GCC members are united in their fear of nuclear missile attacks from Iran, but regional politics, military rivalries and even cyber espionage concerns have blocked them from setting up an intertwined missile defense shield akin to what NATO has built in Europe.
Their missile systems (patriot missiles) do not talk to each other. They don’t trust each other (with reason – there’s that Taqiyya thing again). If your political/religious system is based upon the ability to lie to propagate your goals, then who can trust you? So they may be scared of Iran’s potential, but they refuse to work together like NATO does – even though they have cooperative sounding names like “Gulf Cooperation Council.”
Though Arab states may have to work hard to obtain nuclear capability, Obama has set them on that course. They no longer view America as their closest ally because of what they see as a “pivot” towards Iran. So how will Mr. I-do-everything-my-way handle their concerns? It won’t matter. They don’t trust him either.