Ex-Ambassador: Middle East Has Given Up on Obama

Tuesday, 29 Jul 2014 07:58 PM

By Sean Piccoli

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A former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain told Newsmax TV on Tuesday that "most people in the Middle East are just kind of waiting for this administration to move on," hoping that whoever occupies the White House next will be better for a region that has slipped into chaos on President Barack Obama's watch.

J. Adam Ereli, an ambassador and State Department spokesman under President George W. Bush, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner that the United States today has little influence with key players in the Middle East thanks to "bridges that have been burned in the last six years" by the Obama administration.

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Ereli said much of the region's turmoil traces back to this administration's dealings with one country in particular: Iran.

Citing violence in Gaza, Iraq and Syria, Ereli said, "None of this stuff would be happening if there weren't arms and money and soldiers and technical advice coming out of Iran, and going to all these places — make no mistake."

Ereli said restoring calm starts with a renewed focus on isolating and curbing Iran, where he said the U.S. has "eased off" in hopes of negotiating an end to the country's suspected nuclear weapons program.

"I would like to see the president stop this dance with Iran over the nuclear program and get tough," said Ereli. "I don't see any significant change in either Iranian behavior or the ability of their surrogates to act against U.S. interests in the region."

With warfare between Israel and Hamas commanding the world's attention, Ereli expressed some sympathy for Secretary of State John Kerry's attempts at shuttle diplomacy.

"I think he's trying hard," said Ereli. "I don't think he has very much to show for his efforts, and that's a problem.

"I don't know that it's all his fault, frankly," he continued. "He's got a pretty weak hand to play . . . We don't have a lot of leverage with" Israel or Hamas.

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