In an interview with Muslim Press, Prof. Alan Ned Sabrosky said, “The U.S.-Israel-Saudi Arabia coalition in the Middle East is the latest “Axis of Evil.”
The full transcript of the interview has been presented below:
Muslim Press: How has the Middle East been affected as a result of Trump’s foreign policy?
Alan Ned Sabrosky: My sense is that it has been fractured even more than it was before, if that were possible. Compared to Obama, Clinton and both Bushes, Mr. Trump is solidly in Israel's camp. The first permanent U.S. base, with the U.S. flag flying over it, is now established in Israel. Netanyahu is smirking and gleeful beyond words. Not only is Mr. Trump Israel's advocate, as the U.S. Ambassador to the UN has made clear from her first appearance and the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO underlined, Mr. Trump's daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner give the right wing of Israel vociferous partisans within the First Family. Not surprisingly, Saudi Arabia–already closer to Israel's policy line than anyone would have thought 20 years ago–continues its own adjustment.
MP: How do you see the Israeli-Saudi relations, and the role the U.S. government plays in their rapprochement, especially since Donald Trump became president?
Alan Ned Sabrosky: It should be noted that this rapprochement will exacerbate the Sunni-Shia split, focusing more pressure on Iran. I am afraid an attack on Iran by the U.S. and Israel, making use of bases in Saudi Arabia (and recall that it was such bases that facilitated the U.S. and allied attacks on Iraq in Desert Storm and again in 2003) is now a matter of “when” and not “if” - although if Iran can manage closer political and military ties with both Russia and China (especially the latter), including extended basing of even limited Russian & Chinese air & naval forces in the coastal areas, that might make such an attack prohibitively expensive.
MP: According to a recently leaked diplomatic cable, Israel has instructed its overseas embassies to lobby its respective host countries in support of Saudi Arabia and its apparent efforts to destabilize Lebanon. What’s your take on this?
Alan Ned Sabrosky: Clearly an effort on Israel's part to accommodate both Saudi Arabia and the U.S. The U.S.-Israel-Saudi Arabia coalition in the Middle East is the latest “Axis of Evil.”
MP: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned Saudi Arabia of the consequences of improving relations with Israel and the U.S., saying “You are mistaken if you think Iran is not your friend, but the U.S. and Israel are.” What could you say about these remarks?
Alan Ned Sabrosky: He isn't serious. Iran and Saudi Arabia cannot really be friends, for a number of reasons – at best they can be competitors. He appears simply to be stating the obvious – that the House of Saud is itself a far from stable house of cards, and if Saudi Arabia engages alongside Israel and the U.S. to destabilize and undermine Iran, Iran can and will return the favor.
Alan Ned Sabrosky (PhD, University of Michigan) is a ten-year Marine Corps veteran. He served two tours in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division, and is a graduate (as a civilian) of the US Army War College.