The approaching end of the disastrous Obama administration leads to the revaluation of his legacy both in the US and outside it.
The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has even drafted a special report that evaluates the damage inflicted upon the Middle East by the so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions, which were staged during the Obama administration, by US intelligence. The report notes that protests in Tunisia acted as a catalyst for revolts and protests in several other Arab states, including Egypt, Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, Libya, Oman, Jordan and Morocco. Then a US military intervention in Libya resulted in the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s government in Libya. At the same time, Washington had no post-war plans for stabilization after the military operation ended. America’s lame duck president would later call it his biggest mistake, and described the situation in Libya as total chaos.
As it’s been stated by the above mentioned report, the Arab Spring resulted in a staggering 614 billion dollars in lost growth in Arab countries. It’s estimated that conflicts in the region between 2011 and 2015 led to a net loss equivalent to 6 per cent of the region’s GDP.
In Syria, where anti-government protests spiraled into a conflict that has drawn in foreign powers, GDP and capital losses are equal to 259 billion dollars since 2011, according to ESCWA’s National Agenda for the Future of Syria.
When Obama came to office in 2009, he sought rapprochement with the wider Muslim World. In his historic Cairo speech in June of that year, he described the Palestinians’ situation as “intolerable” and promised to pursue – “with all the patience and dedication that the task requires” – a policy of “two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.” But then Obama made little to no progress on this issue. Now he leaves office without fulfilling even one of his principal promises, which constitutes a huge failure for the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
The conflicts raging in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya; the constant string of terrorist attacks being organized in Tunisia, Turkey and Lebanon; while the residents of the occupied West Bank carry on their uprising will undoubtedly shape Obama’s legacy. Barack Obama’s presidency is a step away from being a complete failure as it’s been noted by the professor of international relations at the Kennedy School at Harvard in his interview for Al-Jazeera.
The Obama administration is responsible for near all-out war in the Middle East, since all of the countries of the region, except for Tunisia and Oman are now stuck in a perpetual crisis. As some analysts say, US policy in the Middle East – is a “house of cards”, that has suffered a complete collapse, since it was based on lies and trickery. The policies pursued by the Obama administration facilitated the creation of a regional framework in which the United States continues to act as a foreign invasion force, instead of making attempts to pursue the stabilization of the region.
The White House’s shortsightedness resulted in the ongoing refuge crisis, while terrorist groups, as it’s been noted by various analysts, will remain on the pan-Arab stage for the foreseeable future, and there can be no preventing the return of those militants that were recruited in Europe and the US to fight abroad.
The resolution of the Syrian crisis should be the top priority for the new White House administration, but to achieve this it should abandon the idea of overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and get to grips with the fact that regional issues cannot be resolved without Russia’s participation.
As the American public grows tired of interfering in the affairs of the Middle East, this region remains strategically important and is likely to remain an important theme of US foreign policy in the coming years.
Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”