What Arab media is saying about Washington’s response to Iran-backed terror attacks by the Houthis.
On January 17, 2022, the Houthi rebels in Yemen fired drones and missiles at Abu Dhabi airport, killing three people and causing extensive damage. In response to this attack and the continued Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, the Saudi and Emirati media published many articles that sharply criticized the Biden administration, accusing it of adopting a feeble policy vis-à-vis Iran and the Houthis.
The authors of the articles, including senior journalists and newspaper editors, accused the Biden administration of taking a weak stance towards Iran and of “courting” and “chasing” it to sign a new nuclear agreement, which, they said, will eventually enable this country to attain nuclear weapons. This weakness, they added, and Biden’s insistence on employing diplomacy vis-à-vis Iran and his refusal to threaten military action against it, encourage Iran and its proxies in the region to exacerbate their aggression.
America’s silence in the face of the situation in Yemen, stated the articles, is tantamount to abandoning and betraying its allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Condemning Biden’s decision at the beginning of his term to remove the Houthis from the list or terrorist organizations, and stating that this is one of the reasons for their exacerbation of their attacks on Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the writers called on the Biden administration to rectify this mistake by redesignating the Houthis as terrorist.
The following are excerpts from some of these articles.
Editor of Emirati Daily: U.S. Refusal To Threaten Military Action Is Encouraging Iran To Continue Its Rogue Policies
Karam Na’ama, editor of the London-based Emirati daily Al-Arab, wrote on January 18, 2022 under the headline “There Are 40,000 U.S. Troops [Here], Yet There Is No War in the Region”: “According to the data that has been published, there are 40,000 U.S. troops in the Arab countries of the East Mediterranean, in Bahrain, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria and Jordan. There is also ongoing activity in the U.S. airbase in Jordan, to which forces previously stationed in Saudi Arabia have been transferred. In Iraq, 2,500 U.S. troops still remain, and 900 troops are deployed in northeastern Syria and in the Al-Tanf base near the Iraqi and Jordanian border…
“Yet nobody in the Pentagon is discussing [the option of] war in the Iranian context, despite all the Israeli pressure to threaten such a war. This [U.S. approach] is part of a 40-year policy that reflects the Americans’ ignorance regarding the essence of the Iranian theocracy. [This approach] cannot be ascribed [solely] to the failure of Donald Trump or to the weakness of Joe Biden…
“The American refusal to beat the drums of war encourages Iran to continue its rogue behavior… which deepens the concern of Washington’s strategic allies, chiefly Saudi Arabia, regarding the ongoing Iranian hegemony over countries in the region…
“Tehran maintains its political and military influence throughout the region, having already strengthened its ties with key allies in governments and militias in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen. The danger is also that Iran will now dare to intensify its policy of brinkmanship. The Iranian decision-makers may understand that they can still exert influence through their usual method of operation, and can continue to stage more and more provocations, while the U.S. will not be able to do much in terms of sanctions…
“Several weeks ago, the U.S. navy captured an arms shipment in the Gulf, on board a fishing vessel that came from Iran and was apparently on its way [to deliver the arms] to the Houthi rebels in Yemen. But what happened then? America’s top military commanders turned into diplomats and conveyed appeasing messages, that did not worry Iran, even though the weapons intended for the Houthis constitute damning and decisive evidence of [Iran’s efforts to] undermine the vital security of the region.
“Tehran receives indifferent American messages regarding the threat posed by Iran and by its affiliated militias to the countries of the region. These messages are conveyed by the media on the periphery of the news, more than they constitute a strategy of the Biden administration…”
Emirati Journalist: Biden Administration Lets Iran Toy With Region As It Pleases
In a January 19, 2022 article titled “The Houthis Have Crossed The Line!”, journalist and political analyst Maher Al-Kayyali wrote: “.What is happening in the Yemeni arena and in the neighboring [countries means] that the terrorists have crossed the line. The Houthi gangs, which are an arm of Iran’s expansionist policy in the region, are there to realize the Iranian goals and blackmail all the countries that firmly reject Iran’s attempts to actualize its aim of obtaining nuclear weapons, which will surely enable it to expand even farther… The U.S. former decision to designate the Houthis as terrorist was wise. It was meant to restrain these mercenary gangs, and should be applied to any element in the world that supports terrorists.
“It is time for the Arabs to take action, because the cowardly terror attack that occurred [a few days ago] in our beloved country, the United Arab Emirates, and targeted civil facilities in the Musaffah area in Abu Dhabi, and what is happening in the sister country Saudi Arabia [i.e., the Houthi attacks], are meant to drag the countries of the region into a broader confrontation. Our wise leadership understands the [possible] outcomes of this confrontation, and is making efforts to spare the region these repercussions. Therefore, the Arab League must invest all its power and efforts in recruiting global support from all the international organizations and bodies, so as to curb this terror and those who support these actions, and bring stability and security to the region, which are an integral part of the global stability and security…
“The crisis is getting worse [because of] the glacial pace of the international response to what Iran and its proxies [are doing] in more than one Arab country. The excuse [of the U.S. and the West is the need to return to] the nuclear agreement, and the deceptive ebb and flow [of the relations] between Iran [on the one hand] and the U.S. and some European states [on the other] in this context have enabled Iran to do as it pleases and toy with the region more and more.
“The current U.S. administration will not lift a finger on any issue. Moreover, by engaging verbally with Iran, it has provided [this country] with the opportunity of its lifetime to enrich [uranium] to a level that will allow it to attain nuclear weapons.
“It seems that what is happening under the table [between the U.S. and Iran] is worse than the agreement [itself], for it will enable the Biden administration [to realize] the plan of [Biden’s] mentor, former U.S. president Obama, and of the Democratic party, which has a habit of using countries, gangs and militias [like Iran and its militias] to implement its policy and attain its goals, especially in our region, and to settle global scores by using terror and undermining security, peace and stability…”
Columnist In Saudi Daily: Biden, Courting Iran, May Repeat Obama’s Mistake; America And Europe Are Betraying Their Allies
Emile Amin, an Egyptian columnist for the Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote: “At the beginning of his term in office, U.S. President Joe Biden took the Houthis off the terror list in an attempt to end the war in Yemen by diplomatic means, and this despite the blatantly atrocious actions of this terrorist militia. The Houthis did not take long to react to this measure by exacerbating their attacks on their neighbors, who are allies of the U.S…. It seems, however, that news of this [Houthi] reaction never reached the ears of the American administration, which is facing an internal crisis as well as a diplomatic defeat in the foreign arena. Did the American president take this measure [of removing the Houthis from the terror list] in order to appease the Iranian jurisprudent [i.e., Khamenei], who is the decision-maker when it comes to the Houthis?
“The present situation renders this question superfluous, especially when America is chasing the Ayatollahs, [trying to get them to] sign a new nuclear agreement that will no doubt allow Iran to become a nuclear power sooner or later…
“I would like to ask the Biden administration: If the Houthis are not a terror militia, what else can we call their actions, which include deliberately bombing hospitals, forcibly recruiting children and sending them into battle, attempting to kill all the members of the internationally-recognized Yemeni government, and bombing civilian airports and [oil] refineries? Does the [American] president not understand that, without a confrontation to crush the Houthis, Iran will complete its plan in Yemen the minute the Houthis take control of it, and that this plan is based on creating an entity similar to the Lebanese Hizbullah, [but this time] on Saudi Arabia’s southern front?…
“The American and European silence in the face of the situation in Yemen has reached the point of truly betraying and abandoning allies who, in the past, have proved to be Washington’s best allies in times of large crises…
“The Biden administration must not only declare the Houthis a terrorist organization [again], but also formulate a political vision for comprehensively addressing [the situation in Yemen, through a series of measures], from enforcing the arms embargo [on the Houthis] to supporting the legitimate government. And all this without manipulations that are tantamount to courting Iran…”
Saudi Media Figure Mamdouh Al-Muhaini: Biden Is Seeking To Renew The Iran Deal To Secure Himself Another Term In Office
Senior Saudi journalist Mamdouh Al-Muhaini, director of Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath television channels, also addressed the issue of the Biden administration’s Iran policy. The following are excerpts from the English version of his article, published on the Al-Arabia website:
“White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently stood behind her podium and directed her anger at the previous US administration, whose withdrawal from the nuclear deal encouraged Tehran to adopt a more hostile policy, according to Psaki. Even those who sympathize with Iran’s regime cannot possibly support this claim, as Iran’s expansionist policy began way before Trump and remained long after him.
“This is one of the key mistakes made by the current administration. Even a year after leaving the White House, the Trump administration is still being used by its successor as a scapegoat for all the foreign crises that the latter has contributed to, if not caused. What’s more, Biden’s administration finds these justifications and excuses for its foreign policy so it can keep realizing its vision across the world. This is the main motive behind the accusatory approach toward Trumpism, in my opinion.
“In Afghanistan, the Biden administration used the same unconvincing strategy after the chaotic withdrawal from the Kabul airport and the heart-wrenching scenes of civilians struggling to hold onto departing airplanes. At the time, Biden said this withdrawal was inevitable because of the pledges made by his predecessor, although he could have revoked those pledges or disregarded them the way he did other dossiers, such as migration, the economy, or COVID-19.
“The same scenario is now unfolding with the Houthi militias, as the blame is being cast on others. But it is now clear that removing the Houthis from the terror blacklist one month after their listing encouraged the militias and pushed them to send hundreds of drones and rockets in the direction of Saudi Arabia and, lately, the UAE…
“Biden is not the same person he was 20 years ago. This does not necessarily mean that he has changed his thoughts or convictions; rather, he is willing to renounce them for bigger personal goals. The second and more important reason, is that many Obama administration figures who strongly believe in the nuclear deal with Iran have joined Biden’s administration.
“The political deal in this context is clear: a return to the nuclear deal means a revival of the Obama administration’s biggest success on the foreign policy level. This, in turn, is synonymous with promoting a different policy in the Middle East, one that is based on withdrawal, disregarding commitments made with allies, or sharing the region with Iran, as Obama has personally stated.
“In exchange, Biden’s nomination for a second term is guaranteed. Such a nomination is hard to imagine without a strong Democrat belt supporting him, one that only Obama, the beloved leader for many Democrats, can mobilize.
This conflict of interests between Democrats and Republicans is understandable and legitimate, and emotions have no place therein. All the excuses that Jen Psaki and others repeat are nothing more than illusions to turn eyes away from personal ambitions and objectives. Little do the seismic repercussions matter, since the collapse will be far away from the White House West Wing, where the President sits behind his office with his strategists devising his next election campaign.”