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Pompeo’s Anti-Iran Tour Faces Obstacles of a Fractious Middle East

He cited a number of factors: disputes between states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the inability to integrate Arab armies, the lack of any kind of united command structure and the fact that not all of the United States’ Arab allies view Iran at the same level of threat.

“I also don’t see a small country like Jordan, with limited resources, participating in a military alliance,” Mr. Muasher said. “Iran is not seen in a good light among many of the countries of the region, but that is different from participating in a military alliance against it. I don’t think this is an idea that will gain a lot of traction in countries other than Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are leading the anti-Iran charge in the region. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has compared Iran’s supreme leader to Hitler and even threatened to incite violence inside of Iran. This has made him the go-to partner for the Iran hard-liners in the Trump administration. Prince Mohammed has also led a quiet détente between his kingdom and Israel, which, like Saudi Arabia, views Iran as an archenemy.

Many countries in the region do see Iran as a foe, but some, like Egypt and Jordan, do not feel directly threatened by it and would be hesitant to risk confronting it. Smaller Gulf states, like Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, maintain diplomatic and trade ties with Iran and would be unlikely to join in hostilities against it.

Iraq, however, is dominated by Shiite Arabs and shares a long border and deep cultural, religious and political ties with Iran.

Trump administration officials have insisted to Iraqi leaders that they begin severing economic ties to Iran, and have urged Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations to help improve Iraq’s economy.

“There are lots of economic things we might do to assist Iraq getting back on its feet, which will permit them to be more independent, have more control, be more sovereign,” Mr. Pompeo said Monday.

Source: NYT > World

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