December 22, 2014

Who is Obama’s Favorite Middle East Leader? An Anti-American Radical Who Loathes America and Israel


Suppose that during the Cold War years, the American president’s favorite leader and guide to Latin America was Fidel Castro. That would worry you, right? But such a notion is ridiculous, isn’t it?

Not today it isn’t. President Barack Obama can’t stand Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In a recent statement to French President Nicholas Sarkozy, caught by a microphone both men thought was off, Obama said: “You’re fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day!”

There is, however, a man who Obama loves to deal with, if not every day at least as often as possible: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

As Turkish expert Soner Cagaptay put it, “The United States and Turkey are on a honeymoon, with President Obama and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan having formed what is probably the best relationship between a U.S. president and a Turkish prime minister in decades…. Obama and Erdogan seem to have really hit it off…. The two leaders speak often… and frequently agree on policy.”
I would also stress that Erdogan is Obama’s tutor on Middle East affairs:

–When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other Obama Administration officials claim that Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood are really moderate and will be further moderated by being in power, the only example provided was that Erdogan’s regime is moderate.

–The U.S. government announced last September 11 its self-described main initiative for the tenth anniversary of the attacks on America. It was an international counterterrorist organization with Turkey as the sole co-chair. Israel was not invited to join.

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About Barry Rubin

Prof. Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal, and a featured columnist for PajamasMedia at http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan)