Joe Biden shoots off his mouth, causes diplomatic furor among Middle Eastern allies
Turkey demands and gets an apology from VP Biden, while UAE demands ‘formal clarification’ for remarks. Make no mistake, Joe Biden is Barack Obama’s impeachment insurance, and agood reason for all of us to hope the Secret Service recovers from the morass of incompetence and political correctness that has hampered its effectiveness. At a crtical moment in US-Turkey relations, “good ol’ Joe” stepped in it and made things worse. Suzan Frazer of AP reports:
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden apologized Saturday to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was angry over comments in which Biden said Erdogan had admitted that Turkey had made mistakes by allowing foreign fighters to cross into Syria,
Erdogan denied ever saying that and told reporters in Istanbul before Biden's apology that he "will be history for me if he has indeed used such expressions."
Biden spoke with Erdogan by phone on Saturday, the White House said.
"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," the White House said, referring to an acronym for the Islamic State group.
The spat comes as Turkey, a NATO ally, is expected to define the role it will play in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic state militants who have captured a swath of Iraq and Syria, in some cases right up to the Turkish border.
In the same speech, Biden also alienated another critical ally, the UAE, as Aya Batrawy of AP reports:
The United Arab Emirates said Sunday it wants "a formal clarification" of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's recent comments that America's allies in the Middle East sent weapons and cash to extremists fighting in Syria.
Biden said that "our biggest problem is our allies" who are engaged in a proxy Sunni-Shiite war against Syrian President Bashar Assad. He specifically named Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
"What did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad — except that the people who were being supplied were (Jabhat) al-Nusra and al-Qaida and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world," he said.
The UAE's official news agency carried a statement from Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash calling Biden's comments "far from the truth." The UAE Foreign Ministry said it was astonished by the remarks.
I wonder if Obama’s customary excuse -- ‘That’s just good old Joe” -- will work in the realm of diplomacy. If anyone wants to bet it will, I would take that bet.
Spot the Turkey: