Having accidentally stumbled upon the awkward truth - that many governments in the Middle East are either implicitly or explicitly funding terrorist organizations, such as ISIS, to fight Syria's al-Assad regime - Vice President Joe Biden has been doing the rounds the last few days apologizing for any inconvenience his Harvard speech last week may have caused. As Biden's spokeswoman explained, "the vice president apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria." Today it was Saudi Arabia's turn (following Turkey and UAE) to hear Biden "clarify his recent remarks," and as Al Arabiya notes, "the two parties agreed that the issue was closed." Of course, one can hardly blame him for the gaffes, juggling who are friends, frenemies, and foes remains a tricky task for anyone.
What Biden actually said (via The NY Times),
The latest furor started after he spoke at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government last Thursday. Mr. Biden said American allies including Turkey, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had extended unconditional financial and logistical support to Sunni fighters trying to oust the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.
“Our allies poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against al-Assad,” he said, including jihadists planning to join the Nusra Front and Al Qaeda.
Mr. Biden also confided that Turkey’s “President Erdogan told me — he is an old friend — “‘You were right. We let too many people through. Now we are trying to seal the border.’”
There is little doubt that his basic facts are accurate, confirmed by news reports in The Times and other media and by Western officials. Yet Mr. Biden was forced to officially apologize to Turkey late Saturday after Mr. Erdogan demanded it. He issued another apology on Sunday after the United Arab Emirates also took umbrage.
“The vice president apologized for any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria,” Mr. Biden’s spokeswoman said.
* * *
Not sure there is much to disagree with there.. but then again no one wants to get busted on the world's stage for funding these state-sponsored psychos.
And so the Aplogy Tour proceeds... (as Al Arabiya reports,)
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden apologized to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday over recent remarks he made suggesting Gulf states had supported extremist groups in the region.
Biden also thanked Saudi Arabia for its support in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“Vice President Biden spoke today with Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Saud al-Faisal,” Biden’s office said in a statement.
“The vice president thanked the foreign minister for Saudi Arabia’s strong support in the shared fight against ISIL [ISIS] and he clarified his recent remarks regarding the early stages of the conflict in Syria. The two agreed that the issue was closed.”
Saudi Arabia is the third state Biden has appologized to over remarks he made at Harvard University last week.
He apologized to Turkey and the United Arab Emirates last weekend for having said U.S. allies in the region were partly to blame for the rise of ISIS in Syria.
* * *
A quick guide to who are friends and foes over there...
* * *
and this seemed to nicely sum up where America stands...