Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s “misplaced” policies towards the Middle East are responsible for leading to the present crisis in Syria, and his policy towards Iran led to Saudi Arabia’s mistrust of the American administration, says Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a former Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to the U.S.
His comments are part of an interview published in Independent Arabia, a news outlet launched this past week jointly by the Saudi Research and Marketing Group and the U.K. online publisher The Independent.
Prince Bandar bin Sultan is cited as saying in the interview that he has “no regrets over not meeting with Barack Obama because [the president] took the region 20 years back due to his policies in the Middle East.”
He says that Obama lied to Saudi Arabia by violating the red lines that he had declared as an ultimatum if Syria used chemical weapons. Obama had threatened to use force against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad if it used such weapons, but ultimately accepted a peaceful resolution.
On Iran, says the prince, the former president spoke publicly about curbing Iran’s activities, but then went behind Saudi Arabia’s back and negotiated the nuclear deal.
He says that he recalled a final phone call between the late Saudi King Abdullah and Obama, during which the Saudi leader told the U.S. president: “I did not expect that [after] this long life, I would see [the day] when an American president lies to me.”
Obama, bin Sultan said, “would promise something and do the opposite.”
These policies by Obama, he said, emboldened Russia and Iran and paved the way for them to enter Syria and “interfere” in the civil war that had raged there since 2011.
Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bin Sultan charged that late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had committed a “crime” against his people by rejecting the peace plan proposed by former U.S. president Bill Clinton.