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April 9, 2015 11:44 am

Obama’s Emphasis on Internal Threats Infuriates Gulf Allies

avatar by Steven Emerson

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President Obama said the internal problems that Gulf states face are more significant than external threats. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

President Obama’s view that internal strife threatens the stability of America’s Persian Gulf allies more than a threat from Iran is sparking angry reactions, Gulfnews reports.

In an interview with the New York Times published Sunday, Obama said Gulf States do face external threats, but their internal problems may be more significant. They come from “populations that, in some cases, are alienated, youth that are underemployed, an ideology that is destructive and nihilistic, and in some cases, just a belief that there are no legitimate political outlets for grievances…I think the biggest threats that they face may not be coming from Iran invading. It is going to be from dissatisfaction inside their own countries.”

These remarks are not being well received by Gulf citizens.

“The problem with the US is that it wants to decide for us who our friend is and who our foe is … It also wants to decide when we should destroy one another and who should reconstruct what has been destroyed. We are treated like political adolescents,” posted a blogger online.

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Other bloggers alluded to their belief that the United States abandons its allies in the region and that the US is no longer an ally of Gulf countries. One blogger went as far as to describe Obama as “an ambassador for Iran.”

However, some bloggers supported the president’s comments concerning societal level problems in the Gulf.

Nevertheless, the strong reactions coming from active bloggers shed some important light onto the perception of US Middle East policy and attitudes from key countries and strategic partners based in the Gulf.

Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.

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