Even as Washington continues to pursue an agreement with Tehran in which it will offer the ayatollahs sanctions relief in exchange for their putting parts of their nuclear program on pause, Iran-backed Houthi guerrillas in Yemen launched rockets at a Saudi oil-production facility—one of several similar attacks in recent weeks. Mohammed Alyahya comments:
When President Barack Obama negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran [in 2015], we Saudis understood him to be seeking the breakup of a 70-year marriage. . . . Sold disingenuously to the American public as an arms-control agreement, the deal is an assault on the regional order that the United States established in the aftermath of World War II. Explicitly hostile to Saudi Arabia—to say nothing of America’s other greatest ally in the region, Israel—the deal replaces the former American-led regional security structure with a concert system in which Iran, backed by Russia and China, becomes America’s new subcontractor while America’s former allies—the Gulf States and Israel—are demoted to second-tier status.
Instead of friendship, America seems more inclined to use its old friends as human shields for Iran. Earlier this month, when Iran conducted a ballistic-missile strike near the U.S. consulate in Erbil, Iraq, it falsely claimed to be targeting an Israeli facility. A senior Biden official then confirmed the Iranian claim. While other officials later denied it, the damage was done. An American official had assisted Iran in getting the most out of its propaganda by action.
In Riyadh, it is not forgotten that the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014 was followed swiftly by the rise of a Russian-Iranian alliance in Syria that leveled most of the major cities of that country and awarded Moscow with a military base on the eastern Mediterranean—cementing Russia’s first foothold in the Middle East since the collapse of the Soviet Union. When the Saudis protested Obama’s passivity, he told them they must “learn to share the region with Iran.”
Why should America’s regional allies help Washington contain Russia in Europe when Washington is strengthening Russia and Iran in the Middle East?