Anger among Arab states over the Obama Administration’s deal with Iran is just the latest spur driving them into Russia’s circle.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, said the United States’ influence in the region would dwindle if the Obama Administration persisted in its “schizophrenic” foreign policy.
Al-Khalifa said that ever since President Obama’s embarrassing performance in failing to gain support for war in Syria allowed Russia’s Vladimir Putin to seize the international momentum, many Arab states are looking to Russia as a more reliable ally.
“The Russians have proved they are reliable friends,” said al-Khalifa, citing the way Putin came to the defense of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.
He added, “As a result some states in the region have already started to look at developing more multilateral relations rather than just relying on Washington. America seems to suffer from schizophrenia when it deals with the Arab world.”
Bahrain and several other Arab nations never got over U.S. policy three years ago, when Obama called for the removal of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, who had been an ally of the United States for three decades.
The agreement in Geneva with Iran has reinforced doubts about U.S. commitment to allies and friendly nations in the region.
During a recent security conference held in Bahrain, U.S. officials sought to charm Arab allies and smooth over concerns about American intentions in the region.
But that had little effect on simmering anger over the arrangement with Iran, on which Bahrain and other Arab states were not consulted.
“You do not need to reassure us,” said Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister and relative of the Crown Prince. “You need to listen to us, because we know Iran well.”