Earlier this week, The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth interviewed King Abdallah of Jordan. Here’s how King Abdallah responded to Weymouth’s question, “Do you and other leaders in this area believe you cannot rely on the U.S.?”
“I think everybody is wary of dealing with the West. … Looking at how quickly people turned their backs on [Egyptian President Husni] Mubarak, I would say that most people are going to try and go their own way. I think there is going to be less coordination with the West and therefore a chance of more misunderstandings.”
This is devastating. I’m not shocked he thinks that way, but I am shocked that he says so openly. That’s how far things have gone. Jordan is now turning to Saudi Arabia for protection.
For more than 40 years, Jordan has been the most consistent ally of the United States in the Arab world. Yet the king can no longer trust the White House. The Obama administration dumped Mubarak, and it might dump him too.
Because no one in the Middle East trusts the U.S., no one will stick his neck out on behalf of U.S. interests or requests. Moreover, they are going their own way. While Washington officials extol Islamist forces or things that benefit them in Egypt, Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and Turkey, they don’t seem to care at all about Israel, Jordan or Saudi Arabia, the scattered survivors of recent developments and Obama’s pro-Islamist policies.
This also partly explains Iraq’s lack of interest in a continued U.S. troop presence. Likewise, the Afghan government knows that it cannot depend on a U.S. government that is not only withdrawing its troops but has subverted the Kabul regime, proven powerless in dealing with Pakistan and openly talks of political negotiations with the Taliban and even al Qaida-linked terrorist groups (the Haqqani Network).
The longstanding U.S. policy of allying with moderate Arab monarchies and nationalist regimes has been undone by the Obama administration. When the king of Jordan openly complains about it, you know that U.S. credibility among pro-Western Arabs is pretty close to zero.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal at Gloria-Center.org. His latest book, Israel: An Introduction, will be published by Yale University Press in January.