Tags: middle | east | allies | fear

WSJ: Area Allies Fear US Pullback in Middle East

Monday, 25 Nov 2013 05:59 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Israel and Saudi Arabia fear that a combination of American war-weariness, energy independence, and economic troubles could herald a U.S. withdrawal from the Middle East, according to The Wall Street Journal's Washington Bureau Chief, Gerald Seib.
 
Sunday's Geneva deal with Iran appears to be the latest evidence that Washington wants to close the books on the region's hard-to-solve problems and, above all, to avoid military entanglements.

President Barack Obama appears willing to use the military but only for pinpoint operations that do not entail a continuing commitment.
 
The sentiment in Jerusalem and Riyadh is that Washington is pulling back while Tehran will be playing a bigger regional role, according to the Journal.

The U.S. allies see a lessening of America's footprint in the region from Iraq to Afghanistan and from Syria to the Iranian nuclear threat.

The Obama administration's recoil from the military-led regime in Cairo, which overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood government, has concerned both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

The White House has long hinted that it wants to pivot American foreign policy from the Middle East toward Asia. It is a strategy that troubles Israel and Saudi Arabia which are dependent on American power for their ultimate survival.

The New York Times last month quoted White House national security adviser Susan Rice as saying, "We can't just be consumed 24/7 by one region, important as it is."

She said the president "thought it was a good time to step back and reassess, in a very critical and kind of no-holds-barred way, how we conceive the region."

With Washington seemingly interested in pulling back, leaders in both Israel and Saudi Arabia are feeling increasingly insecure, according to the Journal.

This uncertainty over American staying power could push Jerusalem to take unilateral action against Iran's nuclear facilities and drive Riyadh to purchase a nuclear weapons capability from Pakistan.

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