Middle East

Deja vu again

Serious pundits in the media and in politics say that President Barack Obama’s Iran deal is deja vu with President Bill Clinton’s North Korean nuclear deal.I humbly disagree. President Clinton made his decision based on strategic foreign policy analysis, and top secret national intelligence information, and yes, his desire for good intentions to save the people of North Korea from starvation that was self-induced by its leadership. It turned out that the strategic foreign policy analysis was wrong and there was a major intelligence failure, that if President Clinton knew it before he made his decision – I am absolutely confident he would not have made that decision.

President Obama made his decision to go ahead with the Iran nuclear deal fully aware that the strategic foreign policy analysis, the national intelligence information, and America’s allies in the regions intelligence all predict not only the same outcome of the North Korean nuclear deal but worse – with the billions of dollars that Iran will have access to. It will wreak havoc in the Middle East which is already living in a disastrous environment, whereby Iran is a major player in the destabilization of the region.

Therefore, the question to be asked is: Why President Obama will go ahead with such a deal, knowing what President Clinton didn’t know when he made his deal with North Korea?

It is definitely not because President Obama is not smart enough, because he is. I contend that the real reason is that President Obama is honest and at peace with himself, because ideologically he believes what he is doing is right. Everything else, that could be a disastrous result to his decision, I believe he thinks it is an acceptable collateral damage.

Who am I to make such a profound conclusion? Humbly, I am a man who worked directly with U.S. presidents from Jimmy Carter to George W. Bush, and I am humbly a man who served representing his country in the great country of the United States of America for 23 years, and yes, I have spent 17 years of my life in my own country’s military. If all of that doesn’t qualify me to make well-informed comments on this situation, add to that the fact, that from 2005 until 2015, I served as national security adviser to my leaders and chief of intelligence, which gave me access first hand to my leaders dealing and analysis of President Obama.

For the sake of disclosure, I have to admit that I have never worked or met personally with President Obama before or after he became president, and the only information I base my assessment of the president on, is what the late King Abdullah, my boss, informed me of, or asked for my advice about when it came to handling issues with President Obama. All of which was transferred back and forth through our ambassador at the time and our foreign minister at the moment, Mr. Adel Al-Jabeir.

I have limited my comments only to the Iranian nuclear deal, but trust me, the president’s policy’s on the Middle East generally and Syria, Iraq and Yemen particularly, are eye-openers and there may be another time to discuss that. But definitely now, I am convinced more than any other time that my good friend the magnificent old fox Henry Kissinger was correct when he said “America’s enemies should fear America, but America’s friends should fear America more.” People in my region now are relying on God’s will, and consolidating their local capabilities and analysis with everybody else except our oldest and most powerful ally.

It breaks one’s heart to say that, but facts are stubborn things, and you cannot ignore them.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz al-Saud is the former ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the United States of America (1981-2005)

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 16, 2015, on page 8.

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