All the while Obama was cuddling up to Vladimir Putin and Bashar Assad in the genocide-lite they are waging in Syria, the Obama administration was very, very, very concerned about human rights violations by Saudi Arabia in its fight against Iranian armed, motivated, and trained “rebels” in Yemen. They were likewise very, very, very, very concerned by alleged human rights violations by Bahrain in suppressing pro-Iranian dissidents from the pro-Iranian Shiite community in Bahrain. To express this lack of concern, while doing jack-sh** in Syria, the Obama administration restricted US arms sales to those two countries while standing idly by as Assad and Putin destroyed the “moderate rebels” we are supporting in Syria. That self-defeating policy seems to be coming to an end:
The Trump administration is poised to move quickly to approve major weapons packages for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain that President Obama blocked during his final months in office over human rights concerns in both nations, U.S. officials and congressional sources say.
While the White House declined to discuss its plans, one U.S. official directly involved in the transfers told The Washington Times that a roughly $300 million precision-guided missile technology package for Riyadh and a multibillion-dollar F-16 deal for Bahrain are now in the pipeline ready for clearance from the new administration.
The deals, if approved, would send a significant signal about the priorities of the new administration, where the security challenge posed by forces such as Islamist jihadi groups and Iran is taking a much greater precedence in setting foreign policy.
It is difficult to look at the Obama administration’s stratgy, such as it was, in the Middle East and not see that for the past eight years we have encouraged Iranian adventurism while punishing long standing regional allies. We sanctioned a coup in Egypt, we’ve assisted in the effort to reduce Israel to a pariah state, we encouraged Iran to basically take control of Iraq, we have acquiesced as Iran and its Hezbollah proxy army have carried out all manner of atrocities in Syria and, to cap it off, we gave Iran nearly $2 billion in cash despite Iran being a designated state sponsor of terrorism. When you compound this fecklessness with our vocal criticism of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain over “human rights violations” while remaining as quiet as a church mouse while Iran does the same and worse, it is no surprise that the Arab nations had started to consider us a patron of the mullahs.
Out position is the Gulf is precarious. Thanks to the Obama administration, the Persian Gulf is on the verge of becoming an Iranian lake. We don’t have the luxury of choosing our allies because we have damned few remaining. We certainly don’t have the flexibility to hold nations who are working with us to a higher standard on human rights than a state sponsor of terrorism that we’ve given money to and allowed to acquire nuclear technology.