While Obama is doing everything in his power to show that when it comes to commiserating with the Saudis, he is first in line, the US relationship with that "other" US ally in the region, Israel, is in a fast and furious state of "crash and burn."
Recall, that it was yesterday when it was revealed that President Obama will forgo a visit to the Taj Mahal during his visit to India in order to pay respects in Saudi Arabia after the death of King Abdullah, the White House announced early Saturday morning. Vice President Biden was initially scheduled to lead the U.S. delegation, but he will instead now remain in Washington and Obama will add the stop onto his return from India, where Obama is concluding his trip to "foster economic ties with the nation."
This, in turn, takes place a day after Obama announced he would not meet Israel's prime minister when he visits Washington in March, the White House said on Thursday, after being blindsided by the Republicans' invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu to address the U.S. Congress on Iran.
Bernadette Meehan, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, said Obama was withholding an invitation for Oval Office talks with Netanyahu because of Israel's March 17 elections.
“As a matter of long-standing practice and principle, we do not see heads of state or candidates in close proximity to their elections, so as to avoid the appearance of influencing a democratic election in a foreign country," Meehan said in statement.
"Accordingly, the president will not be meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu because of the proximity to the Israeli election, which is just two weeks after his planned address to the U.S. Congress."
This in turn led to a stunning retaliation, when Israel indicated earlier today that it has finally had it with Obama, with the above sequence of events culminated in what Haaretz described was a reciprocal snub of the "leader of the free world" by Israel's president Reuven Rivlin, who declined a White House invitation to meet with Obama during his upcoming US trip.
The White House approached senior U.S. officials and advisers of President Reuven Rivlin on Saturday, to examine the possibility of a meeting between Rivlin and President Barack Obama during the former’s upcoming visit to the United States. Rivlin finally declined the American offer.
Rivlin will be in New York this week to speak at UN Headquarters, for an International Holocaust Remembrance Day event. The President’s Residence had informed U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro in early December of Rivlin’s planned visit, and the information was conveyed to the White House.
A senior Israeli official said that at first Rivlin did not want to impose himself on Obama, and that he would be happy to go to Washington if invited by the White House. The deputy spokesman for the White House National Security Council, Alistair Baskey, said that Rivlin had asked in December about the possibility of a meeting as part of his visit to New York, and that there had been contacts between the two presidential bureaus over the matter in recent weeks.
After consultations, Rivlin finally declined the American suggestion. His advisers explained to the Americans that the two leaders’ schedules do not overlap, because Rivlin is expected to return to Israel before Obama gets back to Washington.
The President’s Residence and the White House released coordinated statements last night identical in their wording, that there had been contact between the relevant parties in Israel regarding a meeting while Rivlin was in New York.
“At this stage, it has been agreed not to hold a meeting during his visit, due to the schedule constraints of both leaders, and that a meeting would be scheduled at a later date,” the statement said.
"Scheduling conflicts" indeed.
At this point it is clear that Obama's foreign policy is beyond salvage. What is less clear is why he has chosen to snub Israel at the expense of Saudi Arabia, especially at a time when it is the Saudis' relentless extermination of every last US shale driller that will soon send America's economy reeling, and push Texas (at first, then many other states) in outright recession.
One suggestion is that Obama decided to cut his India trip short so he could diligence in person whether, as the following chart shows, when it comes to corporal punishment, the world's most evil (du jour) terrorist organization is getting all of its pointers from America's biggest "ally" in the Middle East.
Actually scratch that: these days the last thing Obama cares about are facts. So if one had to use a graphic to show what is going on, the following one is far more appropriate.