Fereydoun Majlesi, a senior expert on US affairs, said Trump’s recent statements about Saudi Arabia were too insulting and this has divided Saudi royal families over the future of their country’s relations with the US.
“We should take this point in mind that the opposition forces in Saudi Arabia who are against the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will not remain silent forever. On the other hand, it goes without saying that if Saudi Arabia has not yet hit back at Trump, it does not mean that it is not angry with Washington,” Majlesi said in an interview with ILNA.
He added there are many small and large royal families in Saudi Arabia who are in touch with not only the US but the European states.
“The policy of Saudi crown prince to get too close to the US president and adopt a more convergent approach towards the US policies in the region will definitely have some horrible consequences for the royal families in Saudi Arabia,” he noted.
He referred to Trump’s remarks that Saudi King Salman could not survive more than two weeks without the US support, and said such insults are not new at all and once again unveil this reality that the US president is not a reliable politician.
“No politician in such a sensitive position as the presidency of the US makes such starkly provocative remarks and insults against the top leader of a foreign country but regardless of this issue, Trump’s remarks raises this question that will Saudi Arabia really collapse after two weeks if the US cuts its support for the country?” he said.
Majlesi said the Saudis will face no serious problem if the US withholds its support for them. “To put it in another way, the Saudis, unlike what the US thinks, will not fall into serous troubles.”
The political analyst said if the US withdraws it support, the Saudis will gradually decrease the intensity of their war in Yemen, try to tone down their aggressive remarks about some of their enemies and adopt a defensive policy towards the whole world.
“In domestic policy, they will resort to their rich oil fields to feed ordinary people of Saudi Arabia to prevent a grass roots opposition movement. With such policies, the Saudis can overcome their domestic crises for a medium term. Most of Trump’s remarks are aimed at fulfilling his own domestic political goals but his new remarks are mainly economically motivated.”
In response to a question on whether or not Saudi Arabia will get closer to the European states as a result of the Trump’s insults, he said as far as the crown prince is in charge, there would be no change in Saudi Arabia’s policy towards the US.
“Today, the Saudi crown prince is paying a heavy price for his ties with Trump because the opposition inside the country including leading princes and security officials are angry with his policies and may hatch a plot against him any time. So, we should wait and see for how long the crown prince is ready to pay the price for his ties with the US administration,” he noted.
Majlesi pointed out that part of Trump’s criticism of Saudi Arabia is originated in his oil policy which will gain momentum in the coming months.
“Trump maintains that Saudi Arabia should increase its oil production to make up for the 20% share of Iran after November sanctions are imposed. On the other hand, Trump administration maintains that Arab and Islamic countries should not take full control of oil exports and imports and wants to change the current trend in this area,” he concluded.