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Us: Obama’s Legacy in West Asia

Alwaght  Rise of a Democratic candidate to the power in the US in 2008 presidential election after George Bush’s administration with its two big wars in West Asia region made many regional countries to be optimistic about end of chaos in the region. Barack Obama won the presidential race by promising that he will scale down the American military interventions in the international crises. He eyed pursuing the West Asian developments using soft power, however, he in 2010 manifested his administration’s aggressive face.

ObamaPressing the UN Security Council to adopt new sanctions against Iran for its civilian nuclear program was one of his most attention-grabbing moves. Although five years later the US foreign policy team started intensive negotiations with Iran and P5+1 signed a deal with Tehran that led to ease of the sanctions, it cannot be suggested that Obama’s move for reaching an accord with Iran aimed at reducing the tensions in West Asia.

Obama considered nuclear agreement with Iran as his most important achievement. He meant to end the nuclear stalemate with Iran peacefully while his predecessor went close to war with Tehran.

On the other side, Obama wanted to decrease the American military campaigns in West Asia and instead take advantage of the US’ allies there as proxies. Designed to boost the US image internationally, this policy, however, failed to actualize favorable goals. In fact, intervention in Libya, going silent in the face of army removal of Mohamed Morsi as the first democratically-elected president of Egypt, showing green light to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar for equipping the anti-Syrian government terrorists, and offering logistical backing to Saudi war against Yemen showed that Washington will keep being a destabilizing factor in public opinion.

Obama’s aim to strengthen US allies militarily to make them its strong proxies misled Turkey and Saudi Arabia into thinking that they were becoming regional powers and they could change the established geopolitical borders in the region. Southern Turkey became home to Patriot missile defense systems deployed by NATO. This backup by Washington even pushed the Turkish President Recept Tayyip Erdogan to dream of restoring the Ottoman Empire. This showed itself in the Turkish incursions into the neighboring Syrian territory under the excuse of protecting Syria’s Turkmens.

Saudi Arabia, another US ally, began playing role as Obama administration vowed support for Riyadh. The backing included big arms deals with the kingdom. During eight years of Obama’s presidency, the US sold over $115 billion in weapons worth to Saudi Arabia, the largest arms sales during the 71 years of their alliance.

US declining to oppose the Saudi war against Yemen was interpreted by some analysts as Obama’s “hush money” to Saudi Arabia for US nuclear deal with Iran. But this is not end of the story. By involving Riyadh and its Arab allies in Yemen war and so selling more arms, Obama managed to breathe new life into the American military industries and push down unemployment rates.

Pursuing this policy by Obama administration shifted West Asia into world’s most insecure region. War in Syria now is in its 6th year due to violations by Washington and allies in peace talks. Displacement of millions of people and their immigration to the neighboring countries as well as Europe is another outcome of this American strategy under Obama.

The policy of Obama also deepened the sectarian and religious disputes and crippled the national governments in Syria and Iraq, paving the way for rise and development of radical militant groups which can hardly be obliterated despite the so-called US-led military coalition in Syria and Iraq. A good example is Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorist groups that live on in Afghanistan.

Actually, Obama’s proxy wars policy that came to cut off heavy US military costs and provide Israeli security immersed West Asia into a quagmire of erosive conflicts that not only extraordinarily pressed up the costs of actors like Saudi Arabia and Turkey but also devastated the infrastructures in the conflict hotspots.

It can be concluded that Obama’s approach to West Asia destroyed hopes for peace as it brought forth wars that produce nothing but sectarian and ethnic hostility and animosity.

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