When Hassan Meets Hussein!

October 8, 2013

obama rohani

Iraq’s Kurds and Arabs both have lessons to learn from the current rapprochement taking place between Iran and the United States: Iran’s President Hassan Rowhani’s reach to the United States was measured, which President Barack Hussein Obama’s response was desperate.

The process demonstrates that, while Washington makes foreign policy as it goes along, Tehran’s approach is much more calculated and precise.  While the United States loses friends at every turn, Iran preserves its alliances as it moves forward.

Given these different approaches it is clear which side has a greater chance of regional success, and of respecting its friendships and alliances. Therefore, Iraq and other countries in the region should understand which side to trust and to count on when Hasan meets Hussein!

Handling the Syrian crisis was a good example of how the US can move from being a potential broker with an initiative to being hostage to the moves of others.

In the uncertain region of the Middle East, having clear friends and clear foes will help greatly in making policy and planning the future.

In the recent developments — watching the way President Obama was being pushed around the various turning points without looking back — tells many Iraqis that unlike Iran, the USA has no friends or foes in the region.

Or as an expert in US engagement in Iraq said: The Americans are naive with their foes and Machiavellian with their friends.”

Amongst those who see themselves as friends of the US, this notion is reinforced by the way Obama rushed towards Iran. Tehran, in turn, has remained calm, composed and pursuing a foreign policy that does not affect its relations with friends or foes.

In this region if you are a friend of Iran, you are a friend of Iran. And if you are a friend of Iran, you can be confident that Tehran’s moves towards the “enemy” will be in your favor.

Assad, Hezbollah and other friends of Iran are all optimistic about the rapprochement with Obama. By contrast, America’s friends are all nervous about it!

In Iraq, given the record of President Obama’s disengagement policy with the country, Iraqis should position themselves in a way that does not associate them too closely with Washington.

That is because, with every turn of politics in the country and the region, the US loses a new friend, while Iran and other enemies of America are winning them over.

This may push Iraqis or the rest of those who believe in keeping a balance between Iran and the US to tip in Iran’s favor. That is because – or so it seems – Iran calls the shots at the end of the day. And it is only a matter of time before it becomes a nuclear power.

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