Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Obama Visits Persian Gulf


President Obama visited Saudi Arabia to talk directly with Saudi King Salman and attempted to eased long-simmering tensions.  Then, he visited other Gulf leaders to persuade them to take a more aggressive role in stabilizing their region.
In meetings with the various Kings, Emirs and Sultans of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar, Obama anticipated facing the same skepticism that had increased tensions with Saudi Arabia, specifically their fears about Iran, doubts regarding Obama's Syria strategy, and differences regarding how to fight terrorists.
The Gulf Cooperation Council summit first focused on stabilizing regional conflicts.  It was anticipated that discussion would include Yemen, where a fragile ceasefire between the government and Iranian backed rebels hasn't reduced the fighting; and Libya, where a power vacuum has led to an inflow of ISIS militants.

Obama and the Gulf leaders also focused on fighting terror and on Iran.  Following the easing of Western sanctions, Iran is being closely monitored by its Arab Gulf neighbors.

Aside from fears over the Iran deal, the Saudis are concerned about Obama's threat to veto a 9/11 lawsuit bill that would declassify pages that could shed light on their country's hand in the September 11 terror attacks. They're also monitoring our efforts to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has been pressing his Gulf nation counterparts to step up their assistance to Iraq, where an American backed government is struggling to rebuild after years of war and invasion of certain regions by ISIS.

Carter encouraged Sunni-majority Gulf nations to "do more, not only militarily, as Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been doing, but also politically and economically."

American officials are pressing Gulf nations to help rebuild areas of Iraq previously held by ISIS, including areas of Anbar province. 

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