By Iran Review
Interview with Hossein Rouyvaran, Faculty Member, University of Tehran
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, who just recently forwent a US visit, is now in Washington in order to seek solutions to the existing problems facing his country in meeting with the US President Barack Obama. These problems constitute a wide range from Iran’s nuclear agreement with the West to the continued war on Yemen and, of course, other domestic security and political issues with which the Saudi king, who ascended to the throne less than a year ago, is grappling. One must wait and see what would be the achievement of Salman’s controversial visit to the United States and his meeting with the US president. In the following interview, Hossein Rouyvaran, Faculty Member of the University of Tehran, has answered questions in this regard. He believes that “the United States will never allow Saudi Arabia to get in line with Israel with regard to regional developments and try to influence the nuclear deal with Iran or any other issue in this regard and, therefore, Obama is looking for a way to prevent Salman from doing this.” The text of his interview follows:
Q: What is your opinion about Salman’s trip to the United States and his meeting with Obama at the present sensitive juncture?
A: This trip is an important trip because it takes place at a time that the two countries are at serious loggerheads with regard to Iran’s nuclear agreement. While the United States believes that this agreement will strengthen security in the Middle East region, Saudi Arabia believes that it only bolsters Iran’s international standing and brings “instability” to the region. For this reason Saudi Arabia and Israel have taken coordinated measures in this regard, of course, with the difference being that Israel is able to challenge the United States, but Saudi Arabia is not. Therefore, Saudis have hidden behind Israel in order to achieve their goals in this regard.
Q: Can Saudi Arabia’s coordination with Israel have any negative impact on its relations with the United States?
A: Certainly! It is by no means acceptable to the United States that Saudi Arabia would get in line with Israel’s regional moves in order to weigh down on Iran’s nuclear deal or any other regional issue. Therefore, Obama is trying to find a way to prevent Salman from continuing this approach and Salman’s visit to Washington provides White House with an good opportunity to do this.
Q: What about Yemen? How important is it for Obama to solve this issue one way or another?
A: As for the US president, it is evident that he supports an anti-war manifest and the votes that took him to the White House were given on the basis of his promises to take US troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore, he must not be happy with the ongoing war in Yemen. However, despite this issue, Saudi Arabia has been able to have the United States’ support in this regard so far and this is why the war in Yemen has continued for about six months despite Saudi Arabia’s early promises to wrap up the aggression against Yemen in a few weeks. Therefore, it is easy to guess that during his trip to Washington, Salman seeks to find a way out of the crisis in Yemen and will certainly ask for Obama’s help and cooperation in this regard.
Q: Saudi Arabia is entangled in “conflicts” which have faced Riyadh with challenges inside the country. Can the United States provide a roadmap for Salman in order to get out of the current critical situation?
A: The main problem with Saudi Arabia is the behavior of ISIS Takfiri group, which believes it should occupy Saudi Arabia because the holy cities of Mecca and Medina are located there and this will maximize its legitimacy among Muslims. It is true that Saudi Arabia has been instrumental in the creation of ISIS, but the group has no respect for the stability of the Saudi government and is planning to appoint its own governors in the important cities of Mecca and Medina, and this issue has turned into a major challenge for Saudi Arabia.
Q: Is Saudi Arabia facing power struggle within the country as well?
A: The nature of Saudi government requires the king to be always concerned about plots by those who covet his position due to their thirst for power. This is why there have been already talks about King Salman’s succession and steps have been taken in this regard. As a result, one can say that Saudi Arabia is facing many problems in both security and political spheres.
Q: Than you; any last words?
A: Salman’s trip to Washington is a sign that Saudi Arabia is under heavy pressure.