By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
Two key allies of the United States in the Middle East, Israel and Saudi Arabia, have been pushing Obama to strike Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. Now that Obama is delaying and putting the issue of whether to strike Syria or not to a vote in Congress, Israel and Saudi Arabia are none too pleased. See, Iran has many interests in Syria, and if the US doesn’t punish al-Assad for his alleged use of sarin – a chemical nerve agent – it may encourage Iran to develop nuclear arms.
Since Obama threatened al-Assad last year with consequences if he crossed a “red line” of chemical warfare, his words seem empty now. Similarly, Iran has been strongly warned not to develop nuclear weapons, but now that they see how flimsy the response from the US has been to Syria, they may become daring.
“If Obama is hesitating on the matter of Syria,” said Israel’s state-run Army Radio, “Then clearly on the question of attacking Iran, a move that is expected to be far more complicated, Obama will hesitate much more – and thus the chances Israel will have to act alone have increased.” Saudi King Abdullah’s dislike for Iran is no secret either, because he once told Washington to “cut off the head of the snake” in reference to Iran’s nuclear threat.
“The idea of a punishment for a crime has lost its flavor. We are on the edge of the possibility that military action may not be conducted,” said Sami al-Faraj, an advisor to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). “Congress, for sure… will attach conditions to what is already going to be a limited strike. At the end, we as Gulf allies, may end up with nothing.”
Featured image of Green Dome of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi, where Islam’s Prophet Muhammad is buried, courtesy of Noumenon on Wikipedia.