President Donald Trump is adding unnecessary fuel to the dangerous conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The White House responded to the terrorist attacks in Iran on June 7, saying, “We grieve and pray for the innocent victims of the terrorist attacks in Iran, and for the Iranian people, who are going through such challenging times.”
“We underscore,” the statement continued, “that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote.”
It is clear that anti-Iran sentiments, spanning generations already, have strengthened. Trump met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip during which he had announced an arms deal with the Saudis that could accumulate into a $350 billion deal over the course of the next 10 years. It is one of the biggest arms deals in U.S. history.
The Saudis are known to have an absurdly horrific human rights record, as well as being a known sponsor of terrorism in the Middle East.
The Syrian Civil War has many players who are involved in proxy wars and hot wars on the ground. There are numerous incidents of the Saudis supporting the Syrian rebels and the United States has also supported rebels, in an effort to replace the government of Bashar al-Assad, under the guise that he is violating international law, the same excuse used on Saddam Hussein.
On the other hand, the Syrian government has alliances with the Russians and Iranians, both of whom are key enemies of the United States on the geopolitical chessboard. The government of al-Assad is supported by the Iranians who send their military support through Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard as well as top officials like Qasem Soleimani.
The Saudis are untouchable because they are important for business interests for Western nations and they are U.S. allies. The Syrian Civil War could easily spill into an even worse conflict, perhaps even a world war.
The United States should criticize its allies and make sure that they are moving closer to peace and not more conflict. There are enough problems in the world already. Time and time again, the rebels or the “freedom fighters” turn out to be the terrorists.
A $350 billion arms deal with the Saudis over the next 10 years is likely going to make the Middle East even more unstable. The United States should not have to bully countries who are unpredictable in how they are going to respond. Iran and Syria are actively fighting against the Islamic State along with the Kurds. The enemy of one’s enemy, as the United States will soon learn, is not necessarily a friend.