Progressives dump Saudi Arabia for Iran

It didn’t take long. Saudi Arabia could do no wrong: the progressive leaning State Department in the USA was with the Saudis and the progressive media unconditionally joined the hand-holding. Thus, President Obama crossed a room to a seated Saudi King and bowed; Brennan went from Saudi Ambassador to head the CIA; the USA ignored Saudi treatment of women and beheadings in the Kingdom; Saudi nationals for 2001 terror bombings in the USA were minimized as Saudis; and more. And to me, it was significant that Saudi Arabia was a sworn enemy of Israel and that this was also ignored.

Then came Iran, an enemy of the Saudis. President Obama seemed to like the Iranians. Secretary of State Kerrey was pals with Zarif. Israel opposed the Iran-USA agreement. This was enough for the progressive press. It now found much to admire in Iran; forget the mullahs screaming death to the USA. President Obama reneged on his threat to Syria and the press was near silent on Iranian inroads in both Syria and Lebanon. Israel’s critique of Iran was disloyalty to the USA. Shiite Islam could do no wrong. Iran’s goal of an opening to the Mediterranean across Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon was OK. Iran’s threat to eliminate Israel was just cheap talk. Iran’s cross-border murders and murder plots of political dissidents was minimized by the press, i.e. Ahmad Nissi, current plots in Paris and Denmark.

Now the Sunni Arabs seem to have decided that the Palestinians were not being sufficiently open to compromise with Israel and themselves moved for some rapprochement with Israel. This was enough for progressive USA. The Saudis are now hell on earth: look what they’re doing in Yemen, look how they treat women. Now Khashoggi is murdered by seeming official Saudi action. By the US press, such has never before happened in the Arab world; as a Jew I note the absence of media comment on Khashoggi politics and compare the press treatment in volume and duration with the murder of Daniel Pearl (this latter granted not by a government). However, I also note the current treatment of the Christian woman in Pakistan and the mild US media response.

My question is: how much of this progressive switch to Iran is because the Saudis seem to be approaching Israel, how much is a jab at President Trump, and how much of it is loyalty to President Obama? Be assured, it is not a switch based on principle.

About the Author
Arnold L. Flick was born 1930 of secular, Zionist, Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. He has followed events in Israel since age seven when he first solicited for the “Jews of Palestine” on the streets of Los Angeles as a young member of Habonim. He was in Israel for four months 1990-91 and for two months 2002. He is active in the House of Israel Balboa park, a non-profit museum in Balboa Park, San Diego, that provides information about Israel to its 15,000 annual visitors.