News : Middle East
- Published: Thursday, 18 May 2017
By INU Staff
INU - Last year, President Barack Obama received a less than warm welcome in Saudi Arabia. Relations between the United States and the kingdom were rather fraught when the Obama administration was in place. The Saudi leaders saw the US as being too lenient on its enemy Iran and watched Obama effectively removing US influence from the region. Furthermore, the Saudis were disappointed that the US did not take action against President of Syria Bashar al-Assad and viewed Obama as taking the side of the Islamic Republic.
However, in the next few days President Trump will be in Saudi Arabia and it is expected that he will be better received than his predecessor. Riyadh is expecting the US President to make assurances that his administration will continue to crack down on the Islamic Republic and to maintain the pressure it is exerting with regards to its malign activities.
This will be President Trump’s first international voyage since becoming president, and the Saudi leaders are keen to point out the significance of the first stop being the birthplace of Islam.
Trump will also meet with leaders of the six nation GCC (the Gulf Cooperation Council) and will share a meal with officials from dozens of Muslim countries.
The visit will show that the United States is renewing and repairing relations with its allies in the Middle East after Obama effectively neglected them. Gulf leaders had the view that Obama decided to prioritise the 2015 Iran nuclear deal instead of a US-Gulf alliance.
Saudi leaders have for a long time been criticising Iran and its malign activities and interference in the region. The Trump administration has agreed that it poses a great threat to national security and is eager to rectify this. Trump and many officials in his administration agree that the nuclear deal is badly-drawn up and that Iran is playing a very dangerous role in the Syrian civil war.
Gulf leaders would likely welcome any designation of Iranian-supported militia groups as terrorist organisations. They would also welcome more support from the US in the Yemen war where they have been battling against Iran-backed Houthis.
Both nations fear that unravelling the Iran nuclear deal will make the threat worse, but the United States has been very clear to Iran that it is no longer the “golden” days of the Obama administration that let Iran away with numerous infractions.
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