What a dismal week in the Middle East for the Obama administration. In the course of a couple of days, the partial ceasefire in Syria began to fray, the peace talks in Geneva turned stony, and the Saudis pointedly cold-shouldered President Obama when he arrived in Riyadh for talks with King Salman.
After what was likely Obama’s last trip to the region, his Mideast legacy is clear: He has broken eggs, but he’s hardly handing his successor an omelet.
Presidential campaign promises notwithstanding, there’s no going back to Washington’s long-established policy framework in the Middle East. Obama consigned that to the scrap heap when he joined five other major powers in talks to limit Iran’s nuclear program three autumns ago.
The Iran agreement that was finally signed last July was a smart move. But it was inevitable that it would prompt realignments across the region, notably but not only with Saudi Arabia.