When Iranian protesters took to the streets in June 2009, the Obama administration policy was to keep quiet and indirectly support the regime in the hopes of luring Iran into nuclear arms talks.

Only when the political pressure became too great did Obama speak out, and even then, the administration pursued the negotiaion without precondition path.  The result was that Iran never came to the table in any meaningful way.

There are indications that the same mistake is being made again, this time in Syria.

The Saudi Minister attending the Friends of Syria conference left because of what Saudi-owned al-Arabiya TV described as the conference’s “inactivity“:

Saudi Arabia’s delegation walked out of a “Friends of Syria” meeting in Tunis on Friday over what it saw as the gathering’s “inactivity”, Saudi-owned Al Arabiya television said.  It said Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal left the meeting after saying in a speech that focusing on humanitarian aid to Syria was “not enough”.

The Saudis later tried to downplay the walkout:

Asked about the report, an aide to the Saudi foreign minister told Reuters: “We left to attend bilateral meetings” on the sidelines of the “Friends of Syria” conference.

The Saudis are in favor of providing arms for the rebels, while the U.S. is taking a more passive posture, at least in public.

The website DEBKAFile suggests the Obama administration is holding back in the hope, once again, of luring Iran into nuclear talks.  With so much going on behind the scenes, and possibly covertly, it’s hard to assess the claim, but it makes perfect sense in light of the apparent push to lure Iran back to the table.

I guess we’ll see how it plays out in the next few days, but it’s looking more and more like Syria 2012 is Iran 2009.