Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Ryan Crocker to Asharq Al-Awsat: Riyadh and Washington Must Join Hands to Confront Iranian Danger | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Former US Ambassador Ryan Crocker stated that Saudi Arabia and the US still stand together today, just as they have done so for the past 70 years, and declared that “we will not allow for anything to drive us apart, or separate us”, he pointed out the necessity of weighing in greater efforts in order to provide both US and Saudi citizens and friends a sign, especially for their adversaries too.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, Crocker confirmed that he is not asking for the US administration to dispatch Marines into the region, but instead to send the Secretary of State John Kerry immediately to Saudi Arabia as a indicator for the Saudis, “our allies”, and most importantly the Iranians, that the US does not stand neutral on the dispute between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and that they are siding with Saudi Arabia.

Crocker spoke about Syria, and the Russian interference and the rising of a “Tehran- Moscow- Damascus” triad, ruling out the nearing vision of Bashar’s elimination from authority, and stating that if the Syrian president happens to fall, a great scale strike to Iran will be marked.
The following is a fine selected set of questions from Crocker’s interview with Asharq Al- Awsat:
Are Saudi Arabia and the United States partners, or are they just allies?

– I consider the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US, a principal factor to our Middle Eastern foreign policy, and has been so since 1945; there isn’t a more imperative relationship to the United States.

Why does it seem like the US is not willing to confront Iran, and that it is not concerned with Iran taking advantage of the alleviation of sanctions it will soon be getting?

– I believe that the Obama administration is concerned with Iran. I definitely wish if it were more effective, not with Iran alone, but the region as a whole. With all that being said, I do not believe that the President is under any illusion on what Iran is doing in the region.
We understand that the Obama administration does not wish to see conflict escalating between Sunnis and Shiites in the region. Nevertheless, what Iran is doing in Iraq, Syria, Bahrain, and Yemen, doesn’t that add to the situation?

– Don’t forget Lebanon. I have always requested that the US must participate more into the region, for several reasons, most importantly for confronting what the Iranians are doing to all the aforementioned countries. We have decided that we are done from Iraq, we withdrew our forces, and most importantly we have taken back our political contribution, and after that Iranians have stepped in to occupy the grounds there. Now there are Shiite extremist militias in Iraq supported by the “Quds Force” which now are stronger than the Iraqi Army. We have to move against that and not allow for it to prevail.

On the subject of using solid force against sectarian conflict, what do you think?

– I believe that the Iranians will utilize and resort to all they have provided of power and effective force, regrettably this is a time that calls for firm force application in places like Syria. Of course Yemen is an easy case for the Iranians, because there they don’t have to get involved directly. However, the case is more challenging in Syria, because it requires them to go into direct confrontation. Iranians are using all they have provided, they believe it is effective…soft, solid, it doesn’t matter; their target is one which is expanding the Iranian upper hand across the region.