Allies Fear a U.S. Pullback in Mideast

(Wall Street Journal) Gerald F. Seib - The underlying worry of America's allies in Israel and Saudi Arabia is that the negotiations with Iran represent just the latest evidence that a war-weary U.S. is slowly seeking to close the books on a series of nettlesome long-term problems, allowing Washington to pull back from the Middle East. In this view, the attempt to bring the nuclear dispute with Iran to a close without military action is of a piece with other steps the Obama administration has taken: withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan; an agreement on Syria that leaves Bashar al-Assad in power, without his chemical weapons but also without being subjected to a U.S. military strike; even an effort to achieve an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that could finally close the book on that decades-old conflict. When taken together, those steps indicate the U.S. has simply lost its appetite for continued entanglements in the region. Israel and Saudi Arabia in particular worry that a deal that accepts even a diminished or constrained Iranian nuclear program will result in a region in which Tehran plays a bigger role and America, freed of the need to suppress Iran's nuclear ambitions, a smaller one.

2013-11-26 00:00:00

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