A columnist for a London-based Saudi daily newspaper is calling President Obama a failure and blaming his “hesitant” leadership for the catastrophic situation in Syria, where tens of thousands are dead as a result of the civil war.
The report comes from the Middle East Media Research Institute, which monitors and reports on media in the Middle East.
“The problem of U.S. President Barack Obama can be summed up in a single word: hesitation. The man is short-sighted, confused and diffident,” wrote Mashari al-Zaydi, a columnist for the daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.
MEMRI reported the column called Obama out as the weakest president in U.S. history and blamed him for allowing the crisis in Syria to escalate.
He warned that Obama’s failures in the Middle East have set the foundation for an extremism and sectarian violence that will be greater than al-Qaida.
MEMRI said it’s just the latest in a series of reports from Saudi press members who have attacked America on its Syrian position. The criticism has come since Secretary of State John Kerry met in Moscow with Russians to set a meeting date to talk about the situation in Syria.
For example, the report said, the Saudi government daily Al-Yawm said, “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…”
And Baina Al-Mulhim, a columnist for the government daily Al-Riyadh, asked whether the U.S. had “sold out the Syrian revolution.”
Al-Zaydi’s commentary noted that the prevailing assessment of Obama comes not just from his political foes.
It also comes from “proponents of his own school of thought, like the well-known American author David Ignatius, who recently wrote a critique of the Obama administration’s policy that was not confined to foreign [policy] affairs … Summarizing the problematic aspects of Obama’s conduct, he said that the public is more afraid of a weak administration than a strong one!”
Al-Zaydi noted Lebanese-American writer Fuad ‘Ajami slammed Obama for his feebleness, his lack of leadership, and his inability to take bold decisions under difficult circumstances.
“Evidence of Obama’s narrow approach to the Syrian crisis can be found in statements he made to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in their meeting several days ago. [He said that] there was no ‘magic solution’ to the escalating Syrian crisis and that a realistic solution was needed, [namely] a non-ideal political solution,” al-Zaydi wrote.
“[But Obama] is the one who complicated the Syrian problem and caused the wound to grow deeper, the bloodshed [to continue] … the voices to grow louder and the thugs to interfere, from Hassan Nasrallah’s militia … to the young men who come from all over [the world] to fight jihad in [the ranks of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization] Jabhat Al-Nusra.”
He continued, “The U.S. is currently living under one of the weakest leaders in its [history] … while Russia has a firm and determined leader. This becomes even sadder when you realize that the U.S. is believed to be supporting the Syrian rebels while Russia [is considered] a supporter of the [Syrian] regime. In this situation, the alliance [between the U.S. and the rebels] is a liability more than an asset. …”
The writer charged that Obama’s “policy of wholesale retreat” ultimately will cause more problems.
“[We must conclude that] this is not a skilled statesman and politician with creative solutions, but an ordinary academic who repeats meaningless slogans and does not possess the political sensitivity to give each factor the weight it deserves, to take bold [action] when necessary and to refrain [from action] when necessary.”