THE BLOG
04/11/2013 10:04 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Syria: Seven Questions the Saudis Should Ask John Kerry

The U.S. recognizes that defeating the Syrian regime and the toppling of Bashar al Assad is an important Saudi strategic objective to protect Saudi regional interests. The recent spat between the two allies over Syria is still reverberating and has not died down yet...

The U.S. recognizes that defeating the Syrian regime and the toppling of Bashar al Assad is an important Saudi strategic objective to protect Saudi regional interests.

The recent spat between the two allies over Syria is still reverberating and has not died down yet.

In a joint article in the Washington Post on October 26th Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, wrote:

"What's worse, the administration's failure on Syria is part of a broader collapse of U.S. credibility in the Middle East. As recent reports make clear, Israel and our Gulf Arab partners are losing all confidence in the competence, capability and wisdom of the administration's diplomacy in the region. America's relationship with Saudi Arabia, in particular, is deteriorating rapidly, to the detriment of U.S. national security interests." Their views that Obama is failing the Middle East, and the U.S. interests there are shared by many political observers in the Middle East.

The Times of London reported on October 28th that:

"Dick Cheney has accused President Obama of turning his back on the Middle East as he warned yesterday that eventual military action against Iran was all but inevitable.

As Washington signalled again its intention to pare back US involvement in the region, the former Vice President attacked Mr Obama's foreign policy blueprint and his contentious decision to pursue a diplomatic path with Tehran over its nuclear programme."

The Saudis feel that they were being ignored and even betrayed by Obama.

The Wall Street Journal reported on October 21st that Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief told European diplomats that he plans to scale back cooperation with the U.S. Prince Bandar Bin Sultan al-Saud's move increased tensions and widened the rift between the U.S. and one of its closest Arab allies over Syria, Iran and Egypt policies.

This came three days after Saudi Arabia's surprise decision on Friday 18th October to turn down a 2 year seat on the United Nations Security Council.

According to news reports US Secretary of State John Kerry is paying a visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday November 3rd to patch up the deteriorating relations and to placate the escalating tensions.

This is an excellent opportunities for the Saudis to pose a number of questions to John Kerry:

-Is it in the U.S. interest that Syria ends up being controlled by Iran?

-Is it in the U.S interest that Moscow and Tehran call the shots in the region and the US stays isolated on the side-lines?

-Why the Obama imposed red-lines had been crossed by the Syrian regime and nothing had been done about it?

- Is it OK for the Syrian regime to carry on killing Syrians by conventional weapons? Less than 2000 Syrians were killed by chemical weapons and more than 115,000 were killed by conventional weapons?

-Is the UN Security Council resolution 2118 to dismantle the chemical weapons a green light for the regime to kill Syrians by non-chemical weapons?

-Why has not the Obama administration failed to honour its pledge to arm the Free Syrian Army with the right weapons?

-In August 2011 President Obama demanded that Bashar al Assad must step down. Why nothing has been done to force the butcher of Damascus to step down?

I don't think the USA is in a position to change its policies in the foreseeable future. The Saudis will remain understandably unhappy with President Obama.