Creating new perspectives since 2009

Official: Saudi concerned it will be targeted during US-Iran tensions

January 8, 2020 at 8:44 am

Prince Khalid bin Salman met US President Donald Trump on 7 January 2020 [Twitter]

Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Khalid Bin Salman said yesterday that he has discussed with US President Donald Trump aspects of coordination and joint efforts to face regional and international challenges.

The son of the Saudi monarch tweeted: “I met yesterday, US President Donald Trump, carrying a message from Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.”

He explained that he “discussed with [Trump] aspects of cooperation, coordination and joint work between the two friendly countries in various aspects, including joint efforts to confront regional and international challenges.”

Khalid bin Salman, who arrived in Washington on Monday, said he met with Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, and the Secretary of Defence, Mark Esper, separately to discuss the possible measures to maintain stability in the region and military cooperation, days after the death of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force, in a US raid on Baghdad on Friday.

In a tweet, Pompeo said: “The U.S.-#Saudi relationship remains critically important to counter the Iranian regime’s destabilizing behavior & bring about stability in the Middle East.”

On Monday, CNN quoted an unnamed Saudi government source saying that during the meeting with Pompeo, Khaled Bin Salman “will call for restraint”.

The source added: “We do not want chaos in the region. We used to be targeted before (…) and we may be targeted again.”

He noted that the Saudi government was unaware that Soleimani was delivering a message for Saudi on the day of his death as Iraq’s caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi claimed on Sunday.

The political tensions between Iraq and the US emerged in the aftermath of the recent assassination of the Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani alongside the Iraqi Deputy Commander of the Popular Mobilisation Forces, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis. These events were preceded by attacks on the US embassy in response to US air strikes against PMF positions, most of which killed Iraqi soldiers and policemen. The US claimed these were in response to rocket attacks on an Iraqi military base in Kirkuk which resulted in one American contractor dead, although no evidence has been presented to implicate the PMF.

Iraq passed a resolution on Sunday in response to the assassinations, which led to mass public mourning commemorating the “martyrdom” of Soleimani and Al-Muhandis in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala. Iraqi caretaker Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said yesterday the country will not become an arena for “settling scores” between the US and Iran, whose leaders have promised a “harsh revenge” against the US.

Blog: Iran launches large attack on US-led forces in Iraq