“Syrian-Saudi summit, US ‘power play’ efforts aim to isolate Iran”

“Syrian-Saudi summit, US ‘power play’ efforts aim to isolate Iran”
June 24-July 2, 2009
     Nicholas Kimbrell writes that a possible summit between Syrian, Saudi Arabian and Lebanon to be held in Damascus, as well as a likely meeting between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Saudi King Abdullah on July 16, could signal stability in Lebanon and help unite Arab states against Iran. According to Joshua Landis, the US is working to reestablish a “triangular entente” between Riyadh, Damascus and Beirut that was damaged by the previous US administration’s efforts to turn Beirut against Damascus. Landis believes that Damascus hopes to play a strong role in the US’ Middle East peace strategy (Daily Star).
     David Ignatius writes that while the domestic turmoil in Iran has lowered the chances for international negotiations, the US instead has a “power play” opportunity to “peel away” Tehran’s regional allies, including Hamas in Palestine (Washington Post). Iran relies on Syria to arm and fund Hamas as well as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and US strategists hope domestic instability will hurt Tehran’s ability to support these groups and maintain its partnership with Damascus (Wall Street Journal).
     In a sharp critique of Western media coverage of the protests in Iran, M. K. Bhadrakumar counters that Tehran’s power is at its “peak”, emphasizing that regional stability will require engaging Iran and its allies (Khaleej Times). Iran and Syria recently held a meeting to increase bilateral economic ties. The two states have previously agreed to establish a joint bank in Damascus, and Iranian officials stated that industry projects worth $3 billion were planned for the future (Tehran Times).
Daily Star | Washington Post | Wall Street Journal | Khaleej Times | Tehran Times

Related posts:
“Potential Saudi-Syrian-Lebanese grand bargain could isolate Iran”
“Efforts to draw Syria from Iran remain difficult”

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