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US sends Kerry on ME reassurance tour


US Secretary of State John Kerry is on a Middle East tour to reassure his Saudi and Israeli allies of no shift in Washington’s policy on Iran and Syria, an analyst says.

“The urgent purpose of Kerry’s 11-day mission is to patch up frayed relations with US client regimes, in particular, Saudi Arabia and Israel,” Finian Cunningham wrote in a column for press TV.

Last month, Saudi Arabia said it plans to make a ‘major shift’ in its dealings with the United States over Iran, Bahrain, Palestine and Syria.

Saudi Arabia’s spymaster Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said Riyadh’s ties with Washington have been deteriorating for a while over several issues.

Also last month, Riyadh rejected a United Nations Security Council seat to protest what it called “double standards” over the UN’s failure to act in the Syrian conflict and a US decision to call off a previously announced plan for military strikes against Damascus.

“That’s what Kerry was in Riyadh for this week, to reassure the American House of Saud puppets that fundamentally nothing has changed,” wrote Cunningham.

He noted that Saudi rulers are still pushing the United States “for the covert military option” against Syria.

“The difference is merely tactical, not strategic. That is what Kerry is seeking to achieve on his current tour of Middle East despots and by massaging their fragile egos. It’s a tour to reassure,” he wrote.

Speaking in Riyadh on Monday, Kerry praised Saudi Arabia as a “very, very important” ally.

“The Saudis are very, very important to all of us. The Saudis are really the senior player in the Arab world together with Egypt,” he said.

Cunningham wrote, “Moreover, the underlying strategic hostility towards Syria also applies to Iran, and Kerry let the Saudi rulers know that too.”

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