Donald Trump deciding to strike a deal with Russia and Iran over Syria would be “the most disastrous thing that could happen” to the Middle East, a Saudi prince and former senior intelligence official has warned.
Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud said the US President-elect should unite with America’s traditional allies in the Middle East – including Saudi Arabia – to counter the threat of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, during a discussion at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC.
“If President-elect Donald Trump makes a deal with Russia and Iran over Syria, it’ll be the most disastrous step possible,” Prince Al Saud told a crowd at the conference, according to Kuwait News Agency.
“Since the Iran nuclear deal, we’ve seen a massive influx of Iranian soldiers to Syria, inflicting death.
“Mr Trump should pack his bags and get together with America’s friends in the Middle East before his inauguration, and he must help stop the biggest terrorist of all, President Assad.”
President Assad believes Mr Trump will be a “natural ally“ to “fight the terrorists” in Syria, after the President-elect effectively signalled he would end support for Syrian rebels.
The former Saudi ambassador to the US also called on Mr Trump to recognise the Iran nuclear deal, formalised in 2015, and not to reverse the legislation.
“I would rather see that this nuclear deal becomes a first step in ridding the Middle East of nuclear weapons. We want Saudi Arabia to have peace,” he said.
“To scrap that willy-nilly, as it were, will have ramifications, and I don’t know if something else can be put in place to guarantee Iran will not go that route if the agreement is scrapped.”
Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia have been strained over various issues including religion and relations with the United States and other Western countries.
In September Saudi Arabia’s chief cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdullah Al ash-Sheikh, declared Iran’s leaders were not Muslims and said he regarded Sunni Muslims as the enemy.
Last week, another member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, ended his Twitter feud with Mr Trump by congratulating him on the election result.
“Whatever the past differences, America has spoken, congratulations and best wishes for your presidency”, Mr bin Talal said.