In his May 21, 2013 column, Mashari Al-Zaydi, columnist for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, harshly criticized President Barack Obama and his foreign policy, particularly as it relates to the crisis in Syria.
Al-Zaydi wrote that Obama’s handling of the Syrian crisis had proven his failure as president, showing him as completely lacking in leadership ability, hesitant and diffident, and overall the weakest president in the history of the United States. He added that it is because of these failings that Obama allowed the crisis in Syria to escalate to the current situation, and that it is he who “caused the wound to become deeper and the bloodshed to continue.” He also stated that Obama’s hesitant and failed leadership in the Middle East, and especially in Syria, had laid the groundwork for the development of extremism and sectarian violence greater than those of Al-Qaeda.
This column by Al-Zaydi joins a series of recent articles in the Saudi press that attacked America’s policy on Syria following the American-Russian agreement to hold an international conference at which a political solution to the Syrian crisis will be sought. For example, an article in the government daily Al-Yawm stated: “The Syrian opposition did not welcome the outcome of the meetings that U.S. State Secretary John Kerry held in Moscow [on May 6, 2013], because [this outcome] is a clear American retreat towards the position of the Russian-Iranian alliance. Considering the crimes of ethnic cleansing that have been perpetrated by Iran’s and Assad’s killing machine in Baniyas [in early May 2013], the American position is a clear [act of] capitulation to this killing machine at the expense of human rights and America’s claims that it supports the freedom of the peoples…” The daily stated further that the U.S. is once again falling into the Iranian trap, as it did in Iraq. Baina Al-Mulhim, a columnist for the government daily Al-Riyadh, asked whether the U.S. had “sold out the Syrian revolution,” and wrote: “The crisis of the Syrian revolution changed with the appointment of [John] Kerry as U.S. secretary of state. Kerry is known as a friend of Bashar Al-Assad… and now he is traveling around the world trying to save Assad’s regime and to eliminate the so-called ‘Al-Qaeda in Syria’…” Tariq Alhomayed, the former editor of Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote that Obama’s hesitancy was increasing the bloodshed and the extremism and allowing Russia to play a role in the region.
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