The Secret Document That Set Obama’s Middle East Policy
In other words, a popular revolt was going to happen (I’ve seen the cables from the U.S. embassy in Tunisia that accurately predicted an upheaval), but would it succeed or fail? The Obama administration concluded that the revolt should succeed and set out to help make sure that it did so. As for who won, it favored not just moderate Islamic forces — which hardly existed as such — but moderate Islamist forces.
Which didn’t exist at all.
Anyone who says that the United States did not have a lot of influence in these crises doesn’t know what they are talking about. Of course the U.S. government didn’t control the outcome; its leverage was limited. But there’s a big difference between telling the Egyptian army to stay in control, dump Mubarak, and make a mild transition, and we, the United States, will back you — and telling them that Washington wanted the generals to stand aside, let Mubarak be overthrown, and have a thorough regime change. A fundamental transformation, to coin a phrase.
So the Obama administration did not stand beside friendly regimes or help to manage a limited transition with more democracy and reforms. No, it actively pushed to bring down at least four governments — Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen.
It did not push for the overthrow of two anti-American regimes — Iran and Syria — but on the contrary was still striving for good relations with those two dictatorships.
Equally, it did not push for the fall of radical anti-American governments in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.
No, it only pushed for the fall of “valuable allies.”
There was no increase in support for dissidents in Iran despite, as we will see in a moment, internal administration predictions of unrest there, too. As for Syria, strong administration support for the dictatorship there continued for months until it was clear that the regime was in serious trouble. It seems reasonable to say that the paper did not predict the Syrian civil war.
Want more evidence about the internal administration document? Here’s another article from the time, which explains:
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