Tabnak - The US President Donald Trump met last night with the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House, in a meeting described by the observers as very important in the relations between the two countries. As anticipated before, devising measures to counter Iran’s influence in the region was at the top of the agenda of the meeting.
In a report of the meeting "Reuters” wrote that the meeting on Tuesday was the first since Trump's January 20 inauguration with a prince who is leading the kingdom's efforts to revive state finances and is also its defense minister.
"The meeting today restored issues to their right path and form a big change in relations between both countries in political, military, security and economic issues," a senior adviser to Prince Mohammed said in a statement.
In a separate report, the "New York Times” writes that Mr. Trump and members of his inner circle regard Saudi Arabia as a vital component of the White House strategy to get Middle East allies to help break the deadlock in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. That approach is said to be favored by Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, who has been tasked with forging a peace between the two sides.
The president and his top aides "see Saudi Arabia as a crucial part of the Middle East and an important country to have a positive relationship with, even if there are irritants,” said Simon Henderson, the director of the Gulf and Energy Policy Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "This is at odds with the Obama administration, so they want to make that clear distinction.”
On the other side, the Saudis expect Trump administration to help them confront Iran’s increasing influence in the region. "Prince Mohammed bin Salman has stressed how bad and very dangerous the nuclear deal is on the region,” his spokesperson said, claiming Iran’s "weapon development” would continue.
"The President and the Deputy Crown Prince share the same views on the gravity of the Iranian expansionist moves in the region… Iran is trying to gain its legitimacy in the Islamic world by supporting terrorist organizations.”
"Aljazeera” quoted Gregory Gause, a Gulf expert at Texas A&M University as saying that while Saudi Arabia might find the "atmospherics" of its relations with Trump better than those with Obama, it might find less change than it hopes on key issues.
For example, he said, Trump is unlikely to mount a major, costly effort to counter Iranian influence in Iraq, or to launch a full-scale campaign to oust Syrian President Bashar al Assad, as Riyadh might wish.
"I think they're going to find rhetorically that the new administration says things and uses language they like more," said Gause. "But I think on the ground, we're not going to see an enormous difference."