Head of the Saudi National Security Council reportedly visited Washington in December and held a number of meetings with top U.S. administration officials to whom he recommended weakening Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The purpose behind Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz’s recommendation is to tangibly target and weaken the maneuverable capacity of both Iran and Syria, ultimately limiting the capabilities of the militant groups, according to a report carried by the daily al-Akhbar.
Prince Bandar held a chain of meetings with current Bush and Obama administration figures, and officials who are expected to play a major role in the Middle East under the new U.S. president, the newspaper said.
Prince Bandar reportedly told his U.S. hosts that he speaks for all Gulf Cooperation Council countries including key Arab states and players such as Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and March 14 Forces in Lebanon.
Talks are said to have focused on three main items: the Iranian nuclear file, Syria and Palestine.
On the issue of Iran, the Saudi official is said to have blamed the Bush administration for talking a lot and doing very little, and for not taking necessary steps to curb Iran’s nuclear ambition and influential expansion.
Regarding Syria, he warned the Obama administration against opening up to Damascus, rather to maintain isolating the Assad regime, stressing the dire need for an internal change inside Syria.
Bandar focused on Syria’s internal problems and difficulties, adding that the Assad regime was about to collapse if it wasn’t for French, European and Turkish interventions.
He is said to have recommended to the Obama administration the need to reactivate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by adopting a few steps:
1- Securing a U.N. Security Council resolution supporting bilateral negotiations (UNSCR 1850 was issued a few days ago with Saudi backing).
2- Providing the ‘Annapolis Process’ and its “reached understandings” with a strong push forward. Prioritizing Annapolis would de-claw radical forces in the region in particular Hizbullah and Hamas.
3- The U.S. to strongly support the Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas.
The extension of Abbas’ term that ends on January 9 should receive American support.
All of the above-mentioned Saudi recommendations coupled with attempts to put pressure on Iran and Syria and backing Abbas would weaken Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad and foster a proper containment of both Tehran and Damascus in the region, according to the report.