King Abdallah, Syria and Iran


University of Vermont Political Science Professor F. Gregory Gause, III, writing at the Foreign Policy/Middle East Channel, is pessimistic about Saudi Arabia King Abdallah’s efforts to woo Syria away from Iran and reconstitute the Riyad-Cairo-Damascus Arab triangle.
Gause argues that the Arabs’ divergent threat perceptions vis-vis both Iran’s regional ambitions and the best way to bring pressure to bear on Israel will prevent collective action.
He concludes that:

The recent hopes for a revival of the Arab solidarity of the 1970s are therefore destined to be dashed on all scores. King Abdallah is playing the long game with Syria, hoping over time to move it away from its alliance with Iran. (After failing in his earlier policy, in conjunction with the Bush Administration, of isolating and pressuring Assad.) But until there is a fundamental reassessment in Damascus about its regional role, Arab cooperation is bound to be a limited, issue-specific, and a short-term phenomenon. That means that no one should expect any significant all-Arab initiatives on the Arab-Israeli peace process any time soon. It also means that Iran will not face a unified Arab front in opposition to the expansion of its regional influence or to its nuclear ambitions.

— Ben Katcher


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