Published on November 30th, 2010 | by Ali Gharib1
Freeman on Arab Leaders: “easy to misread these expressions”
For a piece on the IPS wire, Jim Lobe and I interviewed Chas Freeman, a career foreign service officer who served as Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and just released a new book, America’s Misadventures in the Middle East, on the recent history of the U.S. in the Middle East.
“It’s never been a secret that the Gulf Arabs are deeply concerned by Iran’s growth in power and influence in the region, much of which was made possible by various U.S. policies (in Iraq, Syria, the occupied territories, and Lebanon),” he told IPS.
“But I think it’s easy to misread these expressions. If you say ‘cut off the head of the snake,’ or if you say ‘not dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue is more dangerous than dealing with it,’ what you’re saying, in my experience with rulers in the Gulf, is that you look to the U.S. to solve problems that you have no idea how to deal with but which bother you,” Freeman said.
“Does that mean that you’re endorsing military strikes? Despite the vivid language, I’d say it doesn’t. What is says is there’s a problem and we look to you (as a superpower) to handle it,” he said.
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