Obama’s troubled exit: Temper tantrums & diplomatic storms

Catherine Shakdam
Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising - Under The Banner Of The First Imam
Obama’s troubled exit: Temper tantrums & diplomatic storms
While 2016 was a tumultuous year indeed, December proved to be especially trying in light of a spectacular presidential temper tantrum courtesy of outgoing US President Barack Obama. And you'll never guess who got stuck in the middle. Israel.

I can hear the wolves at the gate already. Quick disclaimer: The following analysis will not tackle the Palestinian peace process or Israel’s aggressive occupation of Palestinian land. However important those subject matters maybe, we ought to realize that the latest UN resolution – which made a loud political and diplomatic bang - was really meant as a poisoned apple.

I would like to think that by now we are well-equipped to smell a political set-up. If anything, Syria has taught the world how insanely conniving and manipulative the United States can be when it comes to pushing its narrative forward – to hell with the consequences.

So what of this new American grand-standing on Israel’s settlements? Are we really contemplating the possibility that Washington had a moral epiphany this Christmas and that a compelled President Obama chose on the last stroke of the clock to explode America’s Israeli narrative?

Hardly. What Obama was really trying to do, and rather clumsily, I dare say, was to put a spanner in the work ahead of a much anticipated change of executive guard at the White House. A true democrat neocon, Obama's presidency has played game of throne with some very dangerous dynamics. I guess Washington has yet to come to terms with Donald Trump’s election. A word of advice: Let it go already! Whether the world is ready for Mr Trump or not, he will sit in the Oval Office and he will conduct business the way he sees fit, tantrum or no tantrum.

But why play fair when there is still time to set fire to world politics and leave behind a bloody diplomatic trail? Why indeed!

And so Washington has spent whatever political capital it has left in its democratic coffers to implode diplomacy, wreck the Middle Eastern narrative and throw fuel on the Palestine dossier, all in an effort to wreck Trump's presidency before he ever gets into office. And if in the process Russia can be thrown under the proverbial bus, well, then all the better as far as the Obama administration is concerned.

Granted it could have worked if not for Russia and its political insight. As difficult as it may be for US strategists to fathom, Russia was not born yesterday. President Vladimir Putin has more than one rodeo under his belt, and some half-thought-out Machiavellian scheme will not exactly threw him off.

But let’s go back to that infamous resolution that really changes nothing. Talk about much ado over nothing!

On December 23, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 (2016) on the 'Situation in the Middle East', which highlights the problem of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory. The resolution was adopted by a vote of 14-0, with the United States abstaining.

Russia had the following to say on the matter: “Russia’s position in this respect has been consistent. At the same time, its actions during UN Security Council consultations were based on the belief that the positive effect of a resolution on this key issue on the international agenda would have been stronger had the resolution received consensus support. Consensus could have been achieved through more rigorous work, which would have taken longer and precluded any rash decisions that may damage the cause. We acted from this position during our contacts with our UN Security Council partners.”

Not long after media acted a benevolent enabler of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s meltdown, Russia’s semi-official Tass news agency published the transcript of a conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey.

It read: “Lavrov stressed the necessity of creating conditions for direct talks between the leaders of Israel and Palestine and warned against bringing US’ domestic agenda into the work of the Middle East Quartet and the United Nations Security Council. He stressed that attempts to use these formats in bickering between the Democrats and Republicans are harmful.”

I’d say Minister Lavrov summarized the situation down to a perfect T!

This last minute UN Resolution was neither against Israel nor was it for Palestine. If anything it was a grand set-up against Russia and President-elect Donald Trump. God forbid that a US administration would actually choose cooperation over military interventionism.

And yes, Washington’s latest diplomatic stunt against Moscow also fits in with this taunting narrative.

I would go one step further and argue that this non-event of a UN Resolution was in reaction to Aleppo’s liberation and the subsequent side-lining of the United States from the Levant. Whether analysts care to admit it or not, Moscow’s diplomatic victory in bringing together Turkey, Syria and Iran to the table to broker a truce essentially signaled the end of America’s footprint on Middle Eastern affairs.

And so the old tiger thrashed around to justify its political existence, and in utter stupidity burnt itself. I apologize for the bluntness of the language, but really Washington got slapped silly and literally returned for seconds.

But let’s hear what Washington had to say on its latest flip-flopping.

The Washington reported: “The resolution’s sponsors, four countries in addition to Egypt, were determined to call a vote before Obama left office. A US veto would not only imply approval of Israeli actions but also likely take Israel off the hook for at least the next four years during President-elect Donald Trump’s administration.”

Cute, but not good enough. While I appreciate the sudden concern the White House may have for peace – as if Washington has not been aggressively and blindly arming, funding and protecting Israel through a deluge of war crimes and human rights violations - no one is buying the new rhetoric.

Let me be clear, the Obama administration did what it does best: make a mess of things only to leave others to bear the brunt of the crisis.

Next, please…

 

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.