Saudi prince will seek Trump’s backing for confrontation with Iran: Irish writer

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The next week meeting of US President Donald Trump, the most dangerous man on the planet, with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a source of instability in the Middle East, is a threat to peace, according to award-winning Irish writer and journalist Patrick Cockburn.

Cockburn, who specializes in analysis of Iraq, Syria and US wars in the Middle East, made these remarks an article published by The Independent on Friday.

Cockburn said Prince Mohammed is “the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia since his father King Salman, 81, is incapacitated by old age.” The writer criticized the prince’s aggressive, reckless foreign policy approach, particularly his aggression against Yemen and Saudi support for al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria.   

He explained that the 31-year-old prince “has won a reputation for impulsiveness, aggression and poor judgment in the two-and-half years he has held power.”

Cockburn further said that “Prince Mohammed, who is also defense minister, is not a man who learns from his mistakes or even notices that he has made them.”

The veteran journalist predicted that during their meeting next week, the prince would seek Trump’s help in his confrontation with Iran.

“Trump has already ordered greater US support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, but the deputy crown prince will be primarily bidding for US backing for his confrontation with Iran,” he wrote.

“Combine his [the Saudi prince’s] failings with those of Trump, a man equally careless or ignorant about the consequence of his actions, and you have an explosive mixture threatening the most volatile region on earth,” Cockburn observed.

In a shocking interview earlier this month with al-Arabiya TV, the Saudi defense minister rejected the possibility of normalization of ties with Iran, and threatened military intervention in Iran. “We will not wait until the battle is in Saudi Arabia, but we will work so the battle is there in Iran.”

Iran has condemned the Saudi deputy crown prince’s remarks, saying his diatribe against the Islamic Republic is a proof that the kingdom follows “confrontational and destructive policies” in the region and towards Tehran.

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015 in an attempt to bring back to power the resigned president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh, and to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement. The Riyadh regime has, however, failed to reach its goals despite suffering great expense.

The military aggression has claimed the lives of more than 12,000 people, most of them civilians.

Since 2011, the Saudi regime has also been sponsoring Takfiri terrorists fighting against the Syrian government, which has left hundreds of thousands people dead and millions more displaced.

Since his inauguration on January 20, President Trump has adopted a hostile policy towards Iran.

He has repeatedly vowed to cancel the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries, including the US, and his administration has imposed new sanctions on multiple Iranian individuals and entities.

Senior Trump administration officials told Reuters that sanctions imposed against Iran were only the “initial steps in response to Iranian provocative behavior.”

The new sanctions were imposed on February 3, a day after President Trump said “nothing is off the table” in terms of a response to Iran’s ballistic missile tests, which are part of Iran’s missile defense program.

Meanwhile, according to a report, Trump was planning to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, but the US State and Defense Departments cautioned him against it.

Trump did not sign executive orders on the issue after US national security agencies warned the president about the consequences of such a move, US administration officials familiar with the matter told CNN. 

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