Obama’s Legacy: Empowering Iran And Russia

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Abraham H. Miller Emeritus Professor, University of Cincinnati
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On December 2, Arab media sources reported that Israeli warplanes flew over the Golan Heights, entered Syrian airspace, and bombed an Iranian military installation inside Syria.

Iran’s quest for strategic dominance in the region has been ongoing for decades. In recent years, Iran has been aided by three fundamental events: ISIS’ wrought chaos has provided new opportunities for Iranian interventionism; the Obama administration’s incomprehensible decision to release $170 billion in Iranian assets, and the Obama administration’s intrusion into Operation Casandra, an American intelligence operation directed against the Hezbollah’s ferrying drugs and cash between it and the Venezuelan communist dictatorship.

So obsessed was the Obama administration with nuclear “agreement” with Iran that a large-scale American operation designed to stop the drugs for cash operation between Iran’s terrorist proxy and the communist dictatorship was halted.

For the Middle East, the new arrangement with Iran was a shift in the strategic balance of power in favor of the Iranian quest for hegemony. For the rest of the world, it has meant more drugs on the streets of Western cities and the threat of Iranian proxies in Latin America with Venezuelan passports.

Even the time frame for Iranian postponement of building a nuclear weapon is not agreed upon. The “agreement” itself was never signed. Iranian military installations are immunized from inspection.

The tangible effects of the agreement are the modernization of Hezbollah’s military capabilities on Israel’s northern border and that of Hamas on the southern. As if the 150,000 rockets Hezbollah has aimed at Israel and its Iranian backing were not a sufficient cause for concern, the Obama administrations obsession with producing the Iran deal permitted Hezbollah to become an unimpeded, major player in the international drug trade.

Iran’s proxy in Yemen, the Houthi, are threatening the Yemeni government and the Saudis. Ambassador Nikki Haley showed the world a Houthi rocket fired into Saudi Arabia bearing all the hallmarks of Iranian technology and design.

Whatever one thinks of Obama’s strategic vision or lack thereof in the Middle East, the permissive policy toward Hezbollah’s drug operations will mean more and cheaper product on the streets of America’s inner cities.

Save for a military coup, the Obama administration would have turned Egypt into a vassal of the Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has now turned to Russia.

Since the Sinai Accords in the wake of the 1973 War, America’s aim has been to keep the Russians out of Egypt. Obama’s support of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood at the expense of human rights put an end to over 40 years of highly crafted American diplomacy.

On November 28, the Kremlin announced an agreement with Egypt that will allow Russia to build airbases on Egyptian soil and to use Egyptian air space. It was retaliation for the Obama administration’s support for Mohammed Morsi, support that persisted even after the tyrant was overthrown.

Like the Saudis, the Egyptians are worried about destabilization of the region caused by Iran and ISIS. The Egyptians no longer perceive America as a trustworthy ally. Russia has been able to gain a position on both the Iranian and Egyptian side of the Middle East chasm.

Even President Obama finally admitted, during his last year in office, that his policies in Libya resulted in the power vacuum filled by ISIS affiliates and enabled Libya to become a conduit for the unending flow of African migrants into Europe.

Obama was so focused on overthrowing strongman Muamar Khaddaffi that he had no game plan for what came next. Only after the chaos blew up in his face did he realize what he had created.

The Middle East has always been unstable, but Obama, in his ineptitude, made it more unstable. Consequently, hundreds of thousands will die in military conflicts and others will be made homeless. Thousands will reportedly be sold into slavery as is now occurring in the open-air slave markets in Libya, something even Khaddaffi would not have tolerated.

Obama’s Middle East legacy is written in the suffering of its people, the inevitable war between Israel and Iran’s proxies, the reemergence of Russia as a power broker in the region, and the drugs that will flow into our inner-cities with the interference in Operation Cassandra.

Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Follow him @salomoncenter.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.