Iran drama obscures concerns over Obama approach to Mideast
September 25th, 2013
05:30 PM ET

Iran drama obscures concerns over Obama approach to Mideast

By Elise Labott, reporting from the United Nations

The drama over whether President Barack Obama would shake hands with his Iranian counterpart detracted from what diplomats at the U.N. General Assembly described as an acute disappointment with his handling of Mideast turmoil.

A perceived lack of leadership in Syria during its civil war coupled with U.S. handling of the political crisis in Egypt has forced the Obama administration to confront a growing lack of confidence among Middle East allies.

But what's most bewildered American allies in the region was Obama's abrupt decision to back away from threats to use military force over alleged Syrian chemical weapons use in favor of a diplomatic approach to divest it of those stockpiles.

They fear Obama's ambivalence foreshadows a lack of mettle in dealing with Iran.

Told earlier this month strikes against Syria were imminent, Arab states were "shocked," according to one foreign minister, when Obama announced he would seek congressional authorization for military action, which turned out to be an uphill climb that was set aside once the diplomatic option became available.

"We saw it as weak and indecisive," the minister said. "This is how this inaction is being played in the region."

In his speech at the United Nations on Tuesday, Obama projected a robust commitment to defending U.S. interests abroad and advocating for democratic principles, while declaring receptiveness to potential diplomatic openings that have emerged.

He challenged the world body to enforce its ban on chemical weapons by agreeing to crack down on Syria - even militarily - if the regime of President Bashar al-Assad fails to turn over its stockpiles to international control.

But the wider regional struggle against Iran's influence in the region serves as a backdrop for grave concerns, particularly among gulf nations, that the diplomatic push by the United States and Russia will not only embolden al-Assad, but also his close ally Iran and Hezbollah.

"It gives a lot more ammunition to the argument we can't depend on our American friends," one senior Arab diplomat said. "They look weak and outmaneuvered. And if they can't make up their mind on Syria, how will they be able to stay firm on Iran? I think American credibility has suffered a serious setback."

Attention to Syria and a tentative rapprochement with Tehran on its nuclear program have taken some pressure off the administration regarding the political conflict in Egypt.

After wavering on whether to call the July 3 ouster of President Mohammed Morsy a coup, the White House and State Department have treaded cautiously as the military led interim government continues its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

Although Obama's top national security advisers have recommended he suspend $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt until democracy is restored, the White House has indicated such a move would not be in the U.S. interest.

U.S. allies in the gulf, supportive of the new interim government, also have been critical of Washington's attitude toward Cairo.

Obama's U.N. speech failed to convince leaders that he has a coherent strategy to deal with the myriad of crises in the region.

While he spoke at length about the conflict in Syria and political turmoil in Egypt, the president reframed U.S. foreign policy priorities by focusing immediate attention on Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons and the Middle East conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

Obama is acutely aware of criticism about his policies and is even frustrated by it. At the United Nations, he raised what he called "a contradiction that has persisted in the region for decades."

"The United States is chastised for meddling in the region, and accused of having a hand in all manner of conspiracy," he said. "At the same time, the United States is blamed for failing to do enough to solve the region's problems, and for showing indifference toward suffering Muslim populations."

But another Arab foreign minister lamented this "on the one hand, on the other hand" is reflective of an administration with neither a clear cut approach to the region, nor the determination to implement it.

"The president's speech explains why nobody counts on U.S. leadership anymore," the minister said. "It was an academic, scholarly examination of the problems and all of the arguments involved. He should pick one and stick with it."

The improvisational nature of Obama's policy decisions, and his inability to explain them to allies, has brought more than one comparison to President George W. Bush.

Five years after leaving office, Obama's predecessor still draws fire for his policies in Iraq, but now earns points for his plain-spoken manner.

"I have to tell you, I miss President Bush," another senior Arab diplomat said. "I disagreed with almost every political decision he made. But I knew where he stood and what his views are. He told us personally and he told the world at the U.N. General Assembly. We could disagree and move on with it. With Obama not only don't I know, I just don't understand."

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Filed under: Egypt • Iran • Obama • Syria • United Nations
soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Jerry

    Why should this be a drama in the first place? It's high time that both the U.S. and Iran established a dialogue between them. Only a stupid, crazy fool or a self serving warmonger would be against it!

    September 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm | Reply
  2. RAc

    Just another foreign policy failure. Your getting people killed Mr President with your failed foreign policies!

    September 27, 2013 at 11:52 am | Reply
  3. Random

    Obama didn't faulter really. The American people stopped him it was not really something he can be held accountable for. If he sparked the outrage intentionally it was kind of genius, they fight by manipulation. The way he did things allowed us an alternate path that is more effective if it works. With powerhouse nations backing it on all sides. China, Russia, and the US represent Syrias Allies, neutrals (China imho), and major adversary US, are all basically agreeing and if this works the outcome is unprecedented. The genius of the US is its ability to adapt when it wants to. NASA , the space race are examples. To quickly reconfigure to place the best people, in the right spots. Really that is what happened here. It won't always happen like that, but it can.

    It sent the right message. If you play nice there is no support to get involved. Other countries see a legitimate option given... When we tell iran the only way forward is to give up the program they should realize instantly our motivation to allow russia the chance to handle this (really that is what happened) is more so we are not fighting syria and have both hands free to deal with iran, nk. The only hope of irans new push for talks , is that they realize that. Pick your battles. In syria both sides are gassing each other. In iran it is constant vitriol against numerous other nations. Creation of wmds that render land unusable for decades. Not something you drop on your own land.
    Other countries don't choose who we bomb.

    September 27, 2013 at 9:23 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Also, remember that our European allies backed off quickly from supporting us in any military action in Syria! So why should Europe be "bewildered"?
      Again, is America expected by everyone to "play cowboy" and go it alone regardless of cost? Why does everyone else just stand around complaining? IT'S YOUR PART OF THE WORLD – – – DO SOMETHING YOURSELVES TO FIX IT!!!

      September 27, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Reply
  4. mrhapiguy

    It is interesting to see who is actually frightened by even the possibility of peace.

    September 27, 2013 at 1:59 am | Reply
    • Gerald O'Hare

      That I can tell you, mehapiguy. It's the M.I.C. in Washington along with the right-wing politicians who fear peace the most as they fear the loss of the opportunity to make more money to fatten up the bank accounts while the right-wingers have one less issue to campaign on for their elections back into office! Those who plead for war deserve no more than a deaf ear!

      September 27, 2013 at 8:38 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Yea! Starts with an "I", ends with an "L". Boy, are they keeping VERY quiet now! Tricking us into bombing Iran just may never happen!!!

      September 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Reply
      • StanCalif

        Bebe must be terribly upset with recent accomplishments of the Obama administration. Bebe's real goal, every since Obama was elected, was to convince Obama that the military withdrawals from Iraq would be used for his benefit! Fortunately for us real Americans, Obama never trusted him. Every important member of Obama's administration who scheduled a visit to Israel was met with total disregard and no respect. Just before any meeting, Bebe sent his bulldozers to crush more Palestinian homes. Why?
        I fully expect Israel to withdraw from current "peace talks", because they don't want peace! Bebe wants the US to bomb Iran (for his benefit), nothing less! This has been his primary goal since he came into office! If the US and Iran actually begin peacemaking talks, Bebe will do all he can to sabotage these talks!
        Has anyone heard any "encouraging" words from Israel recently? NO, Israel is stone quiet.
        Obama must be careful to exclude Israel from any of his talks with Iran. If Israel wants peace, they have to do their own work! This does not mean sending in more bulldozers!!!! Israel is really not such a great ally. The Israeli lobbyists control most of our Congress. This is a big problem for us Americans who are sick and tired of useless wars!

        September 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
  5. mrhapiguy

    "With Obama not only don't I know, I just don't understand."

    I find this amusing. It's not hard to understand, let me spell it out for them. You don't own Obama like you owned Bush. President Obama works for the people (of the USA and the world frankly), not the oil industry.

    September 27, 2013 at 1:53 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Very well said! Also, the USA is not Israel's puppet they want us to be! Bebe must be furious that Obama actually talked with Iran's President!!! Bebe won't talk (honestly) with Obama, everything he says is soon followed by more bulldozers! What kind of "ally" is this? Not an ally deserving of our "unconditional" support! If Israel wants peace, they have to do their own work!

      September 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm | Reply
  6. mrhapiguy

    Everyone remember the pictures of Bush holding hands with the Saudi prince? Now they are mad because we did not flatten Damascus for them. Yes, I can see why they miss their old oil buddies, Bush and Cheney. I would almost feel sorry for them, but then I recall that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. They teach their children to hate us in grammar school. Just saying.

    September 27, 2013 at 1:32 am | Reply
  7. shehar39

    "I have to tell you, I miss President Bush," another senior Arab diplomat said. "I disagreed with almost every political decision he made. But I knew where he stood and what his views are. He told us personally and he told the world at the U.N. General Assembly. We could disagree and move on with it. With Obama not only don't I know, I just don't understand."

    September 27, 2013 at 12:57 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Of course, the Muslims cannot fathom living in peace. All they desire is to kill each other for whatever reason. Why is it "our" job to stop this stupid madness?

      September 27, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  8. right

    The argument that the M.East doesnt like it when the US interferes or when it doesnt is BS. They don't like it when they interfere when they're propping up dictators, vetoing any resolution on Israel, invading nations that did not attack them (iraq). They dont like it when they sit out while people are killed by the hundreds of thousands in a war between a dictator against a large part of the nation. All they want is integrity. Instead they get hypocrisy, lies, deception, and greed. The US does not help anyone without it getting something out of it, strategically, economically etc. so get off your high horse.

    And for those that say arab nations should do more in going to war to support other arab nations rather than the US, I agree but youre comparing developing countries to the richest and most militarily capable nation on the planet. The issue is their leaders are a bunch of cowards that dont want to lose power. When there are no more dictators there looking out for their own teez then those countries will do more. Step one is the US has to stop supporting the dictators and militaries. In Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the Gulf states.

    September 27, 2013 at 12:34 am | Reply
    • Thinker23

      So the Arabs don't like the US for "vetoing any resolution on Israel" and all they want is "integrity". If you REALLY think tat this is the case you should have no troubles to NAME at least one UN Resolution that was violated by Israel but complied with by the Arab countries. I'm all ears...

      September 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm | Reply
  9. Mike H.

    "We saw it as weak and indecisive,"
    Huh? Our Commander-in-Chief? Weak and indecisive?
    Yeeeeaaaah... he is...
    What a contrast to his predecessor:"The Decider".

    September 27, 2013 at 12:13 am | Reply
  10. KEVIN

    The people of the middle east have a culture of perpetual war and strive to actuate such. Their opinion of international affairs mean nothing to me. I'm glad Obama shares my view.

    September 27, 2013 at 12:01 am | Reply
    • joe

      uh huh...thats why the US has invaded and attacked much more countries than any of the Middle East nations.

      September 27, 2013 at 12:36 am | Reply
  11. Blame me

    Those are the same Middle East Kings and Queens that talked Bush into attacking Iraq, when it turned sour, they sat back watch. Now they want to suck Obama into Syria. It about time America stop Meddling in Middle East business.

    September 26, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Reply
    • Jerry

      Thank you, Blame me. I totally agree.

      September 28, 2013 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  12. Yeah no

    Clean your own house, Arabia. We're not your bodyguard or your maid.

    September 26, 2013 at 11:33 pm | Reply
  13. EdL

    Say what they may, we are quite happy to have our Community Organizing, Nobel peace prize winning, president.

    September 26, 2013 at 11:16 pm | Reply
  14. Raphael

    Why do we have to listen to Saudi Arabia? They oppress women and have no political and religious freedom in their country. The majority of funding for Al Qaeda comes from Saudi Arabia. They might have vast oil reserves, but their values are different from our own. One difference is that we are now focusing on diplomacy in the region, and this is a positive thing. There is such a thing as strong diplomacy. If President Obama doesn't get his way, he might use force, but only after exhausting diplomatic channels.

    September 26, 2013 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  15. Deb

    Why can't we reframe what "strength" means? I think it's easy to lob weapons at a country. It's harder and shows strength of character to stand back and follow a diplomatic and democratic process. Why not have a discussion about that in the news, instead of framing Obama as weak and indecisive?

    And furthermore, why does it have to be the U.S.'s job to deal with Syria's civil war?!? This conversation should not be only about Obama. Clearly, U.S. citizens did not want an attack. And, there is likely far more to this than was ever made public about why the U.S. decides to engage or not.

    September 26, 2013 at 10:50 pm | Reply
    • tired

      I agree, deb. why is the maiming and killing of war the standard of strength?

      September 26, 2013 at 11:04 pm | Reply
  16. Chuck

    President Obama is criticized for waffling on his actions or lack of actions in Syria. Yet world politics is a giant chess game, and I believe that history will show that Obama made the right move. We have an excellent chance to get rid of the chemical weapons in Syria without firing a shot! Isn't that what we wanted? I had grave concerns about US military action in the form of a missile strike, That may have drawn in all kinds of ugly players and actions, and we would have been one of them. Everyone would have been the loser. Thank you, President Obama, for your patience.

    September 26, 2013 at 7:40 pm | Reply
    • ACSJ

      BS He is funding AlQeada You must be the worst type of sycophant. He stopped giving aid to Egypt when they citizens supported in the military in removing the terrorist MB..

      September 26, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Reply
      • Harry

        Wrong. US aid to Egypt continues.

        September 26, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
      • Deb

        And I thought aid to Egypt was in tanks and other cr*p they don't really want or need, and it's not useful to them, just to keep our military companies making money here.

        September 26, 2013 at 10:52 pm |
  17. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    September 26, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • Jack Hollis

      Well put, John Smith. Thank you for telling the truth here!

      September 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • giggig

      60-4=56 grenada 55 kosovo 54 lybia 53, what about the rest ,John Smith?

      September 26, 2013 at 10:35 pm | Reply
    • Mark Ondera

      And in 2012 and now, 2013, America has refrained from aggressive action in both Egypt and Syria. American foreign policy appears to be changing, allbeit slowly. And you got a love a diplomatic source that admits he misses former Pres. Bush's wrong headed policies simply because they had clarity.

      September 26, 2013 at 11:09 pm | Reply
  18. boungiorno


    September 26, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Reply
  19. boungiorno

    what matters frm this point on is that truthful decisions are made and history and people can look forward to a future that once held DIGNITY FOR THE HUMAN RACE

    September 26, 2013 at 11:57 am | Reply
  20. boungiorno

    seriously i hardly doubt their warming up but i do believe that they are deliberating the possibilities of the situation

    September 26, 2013 at 11:41 am | Reply
  21. Tired of my taxes paying for Middle Eastern wars and welfare

    Our strategy in the Middle East should be a "Hands Off" policy unless a direct attack takes place against an ally and then only if it poses a direct threat to the sovereignty of the US. We don't have the funds or desire to be the world's policemen any longer. We're going to meddle ourselves straight into insolvency and China will own the rest of us if we don't start looking out for ourselves 1st. Oh, I also agree that the US Congress should be brought out to the reflection pond in front of the Lincoln Memorial and shot like the traitorus dogs they are. Have a nice day.

    September 26, 2013 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • George patton

      Thank you, Tired of my taxes........... I couldn't agree more. One thing though, we are no longer the world's policeman, instead we became the world's bully!!!

      September 26, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Reply
    • Deb

      Thank you. I want my taxes to pay for education. I'd rather see us whip the rest of the world with our smarts and innovation.

      What if we could all allocate where our tax money goes? What a cool idea, huh? What areas of the budget do you think would win or lose? That's probably the only way U.S. citizens/voters could ever have a say again.

      September 26, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  22. al

    We have NO strategy in the Middle East. Obama remember is the community organizer. His subservient lackeys around him are mostly ex journalists!!!

    September 26, 2013 at 9:48 am | Reply
    • joe d

      al is mad because Obama doesen't bend over for israel and take it up the sphincter like our AIPAC bought traitors in congress

      September 26, 2013 at 9:53 am | Reply
      • Chimo

        Aipac bought traitors??? So once again some dolt named joe is trying to pin the blame on Aipac which is just another way of saying that it's the jews fault, is that what your saying Joe? Well, your completely full of sh!t. Israel is the only ally that the U.S. can trust in the middle east.
        They are the only ones who have real intelligence on who what and where the terrorists who want to attack the U.S.will strike. Thank God for Israel, and the U.S. should not push Israel into giving up any territory to the Palestinians at all

        September 27, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • ACSJ

      Absolutely correct. The lack of leadership is causing so many problems that he refuses to acknowledge

      September 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm | Reply
    • giggig

      No strategy?Maybe yes ! So ,let's develop one right here. Get with GenS.Idriss , have him proclaim his nation become NATO. Assad ,no reason to continue fighting,establish a DMZ between the two,repatriate refugee camps.End of story.
      AlNusra etc a hoax anyway , detected as Assad friendly ,need to be deported to the Nation where Command and Control came from.. End of story.Life goes on,in ME with these kings and sheiks Sultans, in Korea,in Taiwan .

      September 26, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Reply
  23. joe d

    more like the israeli drama..time to kick the mentally retarded red-headed spoiled step child called israel to the curb. these diirtbags and AIPAC have done more damage to the U.S. then all muslim terrorists combined. AIPAC bought traitors in congress need to be flushed to.AIPAC/israel/AIPAC bought congress=9/11

    September 26, 2013 at 9:06 am | Reply
    • al

      You my sick friend are an idiot!

      September 26, 2013 at 9:47 am | Reply
      • joe d

        and you pig aint no american..and definetly not my freind...go move to israel you idiot israel have ruined the U.S. and wiil be booted to the curb..the U.S. was your last chance and you shylocks blew it.

        September 26, 2013 at 9:51 am |
      • SB1790

        What possible positive purpose does Israel serve? Most of the Gulf problems can be traced back to that horrible mistake for a country.

        September 26, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • aka13

      When lazy, uncreative "thinkers" like joe d, can't take criticism of Obama, what do they do? Blame Israel. Don't like O's foreign policy, whatever it is? Ah, It's all Israel's fault. Don't like the US economy? That's Israel's fault, too. ME allies criticizing Obama? That's Israel's fault.

      Lazy 'thinkers' like joe agree with the former PM of Pakistan who said his country's terrible earthquake was Israel's fault!

      September 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm | Reply
    • ACSJ

      Another stupid post from the resident neo-nazi jihadist

      September 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Reply
    • joe d

      go back to europe israeli leaches/feces...these israelis first piggs would throw 300 million americans under the bus for 6 million ungrateful backstabbing peices of self-serving piggs in the toilet called isreal...what a bunch of inbred backward retarrds

      September 27, 2013 at 10:09 am | Reply
  24. starider

    consider this: you do not need a security clearance to become president of the united states but 2 million beaurocrats do

    September 26, 2013 at 8:38 am | Reply
    • Portland tony

      Consider this: When you run for President, the opposing party and the FBI does more investigating and vetting of the candidate's life than any standard background check for any level of security clearance.

      September 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  25. starider

    obama is an evil outlaw lowdown lieing pieceofcrap and cant believe he actually said something right about the USA being chastised by arabs no matter what it does, its right but is also politically stupid because the USA nor any other nation should not act based on approval of other nations but rather in its self interest

    September 26, 2013 at 8:29 am | Reply
    • ACSJ

      POTUS is not evil, just incompetent. He is trying but failing

      September 26, 2013 at 7:19 pm | Reply
      • Totally agree

        I think Obama is a good family man, and a decent person. However, I too believe he is totally incompetent, and just in way over his head.

        September 26, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
  26. starider


    September 26, 2013 at 8:24 am | Reply
  27. John McKane

    Our current policies in the Middle East need a complete changeover! We need to quit interfering in the internal affairs of these countries and especially in Syria's current civil war. In other words, we need to let the chips fall where they may in these countries and quit playing the roll of the world's big, fat bully. In fact, those who strongly advocate the continuance of our current Middle Eastern policies are by and large the biggest enemies this country faces!

    September 26, 2013 at 7:56 am | Reply
    • aka13

      Frankly, I don't know what our foreign policy is. But I tend to agree with you that we should let the chips fall where they fall. I will add that we should stop all the money we send to allies and non-allies alike because we can't afford it.

      September 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm | Reply
    • ACSJ

      Neither side in Syria should have ever gotten a dime. That POTUS if funding Al!Qaeda is disgusting, but the citizens are allowing it is worse

      September 26, 2013 at 7:20 pm | Reply
    • Jeff

      The difficult question is, what do you do when there is hard evidence of an evil dictator killing his own people? Do you stand by and watch/ignore, or do you do something if you have the capacity? Nobody wants to answer that question. Sometimes you have to be that good Samaritan and act.

      September 26, 2013 at 11:31 pm | Reply
      • Gerald O'Hare

        Wrong, Jeff. First of all, their is no concrete evidence that the Assad regime ever used c-weapons against it's own people. It is far more likely that the "rebels" did. In the second place, Bashar al-Assad is not quite the "evil" dictator as portrayed by the right-wing news media. Besides, we Americans were never the "good" Samaritans as you say we are. That is a brazen myth to say the least!

        September 27, 2013 at 8:46 am |
  28. nel

    CNN lets somebody speak the truth then publishes it? Is this for real?

    September 26, 2013 at 7:44 am | Reply
    • JM

      It is off in a corner of the website in some format other than the one they usually put things in...

      September 27, 2013 at 12:52 am | Reply
  29. ShiverMeTimbers

    The real enemy of America is Israel. And don't forget their treasonous supporters in our congress and senate.

    September 26, 2013 at 5:36 am | Reply
    • starider

      thats stupid , isreal is the only friend the usa has (had) in the middle east, and the real enemyis socialists and more specifically the current president

      September 26, 2013 at 8:33 am | Reply
      • joe d

        socialists? your a moron...go move to israel

        September 26, 2013 at 9:14 am |
      • ShiverMeTimbers

        You are forgetting Jordan and Egypt. Do you get tired of being wrong? Te heeee.....

        September 28, 2013 at 2:08 am |
    • joe d

      amen bro..the pigs got to go

      September 26, 2013 at 9:08 am | Reply
    • joe d

      with friends like the feces called israel who needs enemies

      September 26, 2013 at 9:09 am | Reply
      • Jsean

        joe d, i feel sorry for you for not being able to see the truth...

        September 26, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
      • Chimo

        No Joe, with feces like you writing garbage about a tiny little country called Israel, trying to say that this little country of 6 million jews has some kind of lock over the U.S. makes me believe that you are just another arab or left wing version of a neo Nazi. Your views are pure 100% B.S.

        September 27, 2013 at 1:01 am |
      • ShiverMeTimbers

        Ha, ha, ha, feces. You really do not like Apartheid Israel, do you? But hey, it is not against the law to have an opinion, one way or another.

        September 28, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • ACSJ

      probably one of the most stupid post of the article

      September 26, 2013 at 7:21 pm | Reply
    • Bob

      Why do you hate Israel? Please explain.....maybe you would do better if you were in a country surrounded by other countries that wanted to wipe you off the map? It's the surrounding Arab countries that need to lay off Israel.

      September 26, 2013 at 11:34 pm | Reply
      • JM

        Agreed Bob. The problem stems back to Hitler and the Holocaust and beyond. I don't understand the hatred for Israel - I am not Jewish and have no Jewish relatives or in laws.

        September 27, 2013 at 12:42 am |
      • Chimo

        Neither joe nor the other dolt (shiver me timbers) knows anything about Israel other than what useless organizations like the Palestinian Solidarity movement regurgitate and repeat so often that mindless cretins like the aforementioned two fools wind up repeating the same lies over and over to people who actually do know what is going on in the world. If the Muslim countries in the mid-east really wanted peace, they could have it in 2 seconds, and Israel would be more than happy to share their knowledge and expertise with those countries that would lift their populations out of poverty. Prior to Israel declaring it's independence, what use to be called "Palestine" was a dusty and dry arid wasteland with no economy and no crops, and yet people like joe and shiver me timbers come on these talkbacks and post nothing but lies and innuendo.

        September 27, 2013 at 1:21 am |
      • ShiverMeTimbers

        When Israel stops stealing other people's land then maybe some people will begin to respect Israel. G_d is not a real estate agent, by the way.

        September 28, 2013 at 1:59 am |
  30. USAPeasant

    Heh I do like Obama's messing with their heads, but I also see the genuine complaint of indecisevness. This is actually good news on Obama as it seems he may slowly be starting to see his once bright optimism with the Middle East backstabber allies isn't so well placed.

    Obama really said it best himself and pretty much summed up how everything America does in the Middle East ends up with this statement in the article above: "The United States is chastised for meddling in the region, and accused of having a hand in all manner of conspiracy," he said. "At the same time, the United States is blamed for failing to do enough to solve the region's problems, and for showing indifference toward suffering Muslim populations."

    It is pretty preposterous to say Obama hasn't done enough with the Middle East and the string of failed muslim nations during his Presidency. Obama has been involved from Libya to Pakistan and everywhere in between. The real debate is what good has that involvement done. For the muslims that's a matter of which sect you subscribe to I guess and it seems when the muslims then rip their society apart they like to use any thing we America does as a scapegoat along with Israel. To the American not much of Obama's Middle East policy has been good and has come back to hurt us.

    Not that all of the involvement has been for nothing, we did avenge the fallen of 9/11 and get Bin Laden and expose Pakistan's treachery once and for all and lay the conspiracy theory of them being "trusted allies" put forth by Bush to rest. We also put down one of the most bloody humansof the post-world war World History; Saddam Hussein. One could argue our involvement led to the end of one of the most bizzare, insane,and longest serving African dictators, Gaddafhi. Of course the rebels ultimately put the Mad Dog down and then proceeded to backstab us and eachother in each instance. That's kinda how Middle East affairs seem to be though; a mixture of backstabbery, defeats, victories, and ultimately the inhabitants go back to killing eachother like they always have since history started.

    I don't fault Obama much for trying, especially during his first term and being kinda green and optimistic. Now that he's in the second term I hope he is a bit more wary of how the bloodiest region of all time has a knack for putting the dagger in our back whether we help them or hinder them in their quests to kill eachother. Seems from his statements and the reactions he might be starting to get it. Then again, Obama has also been very gung-ho this year, so maybe not.

    September 26, 2013 at 2:03 am | Reply
    • starider

      u got too much time on your hands and by the way obama is an illegal outlaw communist enemy of america

      September 26, 2013 at 8:35 am | Reply
      • USAPeasant

        Lol, maybe I do have too much time on my hands, but hey what better way to waste that time than opining on the pre-eminent issues of the day on the World's greatest news outlet?

        Is Obama an enemy of the State? Well a lot of his policies are, that's for sure. However, I think Obama's blunders are moreso from genuine mistakes to him thinking he's doing good and then being unable to back down or reform his position because he talked himself into a corner, for example with Obamacare or NSA spying. Then again who knows maybe Obama really is an evil mastermind, I just kinda doubt it given the number of mistakes he's made.

        Obama is our President whether you like it or not. So don't get too comfortable, we still have 3 more years to go until the American public re-elects George Bush/Barack Obama in the incarnation of Hillary Clinton.

        September 26, 2013 at 10:19 am |
      • ShiverMeTimbers

        Obama ain't no communist, no siree. Read the Manifesto and Das Kapital and you will see. However, he and many of our congressmen and senators are slaves of the Israel lobby and Pharma, and the banks and the rest of the scoundrels.

        September 28, 2013 at 1:58 am |
  31. Portland tony

    Keeping your opponents guessing is in a way a valuable attribute. Former President George W. Bush was surrounded by staunch conservative, and in many cases incompetent, foreign policy advisors and their position was well known. Had Bush not gone to war in Iraq, the world would be a far different place. For better or worse, who knows, but the unrest among the various radical Islamist groups, a legacy of that war, has not made life for the Obama administration any easier.

    September 25, 2013 at 8:49 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      I agree! When Bush launched his "shock and awe" on Iraq, he knew very well where the 9/11 terrorists came from. NOT from Iraq! These were all citizens of Saudi Arabia, as was Osama Bin Laden! Why didn't he bomb the Saudis? We all know the answer to that question!!! Osama and these 9/11 terrorists where funded by wealthy people in Saudi Arabia, who also provided Osama his financial support to keep him well hidden in Pakistan! Be sure the Paki military was well compensated to protect Osama!
      Of course, no one in their right mind would ever consider a "shock and awe" campaign on the Saudis!!! So pick someone else. It really worked out well, right George?
      Bush and his incompetent advisers thought the devastation of Iraq would be a quick and easy campaign, no more than three months! Their theory was that the Iraqi people would dance in the streets to be free of Saddam! Organize a "democratic election" and all will be well. What fools! Seriously, what did "Mission accomplished" really accomplish?

      September 25, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Reply
      • Greg

        Hindsight is 20/20 dude. It's easy for you to look back now and say "see I told you...we never should have gone into Iraq!!!".

        However, we ousted an evil dictator who had torture chambers. I don't hear much about Iraq anymore in the news, so my guess is the country must be improving.

        September 26, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
    • George patton

      had older Bush not stopped at the border of Iraq and went after Hussein, the world would have been a far different place.
      had Mohammad not borned......
      had Nuclear bomb not.....

      there are endless hads that could have changed the world. but who knows by avoiding those hads, world could have been a worse place!!!

      September 26, 2013 at 8:08 am | Reply
  32. Nayda

    What?! CNN reporting objectively about Obama?!What have the world come to!???

    September 25, 2013 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  33. Ljgfd Hkjhgf

    How could anyone not understand israel...oh that's right its all a big big secret...the US Gov. starts hunting children in school who are able writters and destroys their education in name of the unspoken jewish cause "they" who march on the commons with the self appointed pen against any and all gentile...and DONT QWOTE ME ON THAT BIG BROTHER...

    September 25, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  34. sharon kremer

    No doubt where he stood and with whom.With or without written speech,the meaning would be the same and needed no one to explain what he REALY meant to say.When mistake was made owned it.Didn't blame,didn't compare himself to all other presidents.Won't criticize or give statements negative to Obama.Left the White House to the Obamas in an honorable,friendly,welcoming way,no one removed letters from stamps or typesets.A gentleman,rather you agree with his politics or don't,he is a caring,loving,gentleman and yes I miss him too.

    September 25, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Reply
    • Tim

      We'll said!

      September 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Reply
    • StanCalif

      Ha! When Bush left the White House he ran as quickly as he could to his ranch! Stayed completely silent, did nothing to help the "transition" (unlike all former Presidents). Dick Cheney, however, went on the talk show circuit to defend "his" actions. Dick was always in control of stupid GWB who had no clue about anything! Thankfully, Dick has now gone silent leaving his "legacy" to his daughter. Like GWB, he's enjoying the good life on his ranch! Neither could care less about Syria because Syria has NO oil! Dick told us that our war in Iraq would be "revenue neutral" because of all the oil we would get! Another big joke! WE got nothing, China got it! Thanks for nothing, you fools!

      September 25, 2013 at 10:49 pm | Reply
      • ShiverMeTimbers

        Yeah, and we still have Apartheid Israel sucking our tax money at the tune of 3 Billion plus each year.

        September 26, 2013 at 5:47 am |
      • ACSJ

        An absolute lie

        September 26, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
      • Greg

        Dude – you are a Bush hater to the max. Go get some therapy. I am certain that in the end history will look upon President Bush more favorably than it does President Obama (as our economy limps along, and Obama has done nothing to help it).

        September 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm |
    • starider

      u nailed it

      September 26, 2013 at 8:40 am | Reply
    • ACSJ

      Excellent post

      September 26, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  35. World Chaos News

    Reblogged this on World Chaos News.

    September 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm | Reply

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