Mohammed Alkhereiji is the Arab Weekly’s Gulf section editor.

  • Mattis sees Saudi Arabia ‘helping across the region’, On: Sun, 23 Apr 2017

  • Houthis intensify crackdown on dissent in Yemen, On: Sun, 23 Apr 2017

  • Pakistani general to head Islamic Military Alliance , On: Sun, 09 Apr 2017

  • Saudi-Egyptian meeting a key moment of summit , On: Sun, 02 Apr 2017

  • Saudis positive on Trump meeting with deputy crown prince , On: Sun, 19 Mar 2017

  • Terror plot revelations mark King Salman’s Far East tour , On: Sun, 12 Mar 2017

  • Saudi Arabia and Iraq work to reset ties , On: Sun, 05 Mar 2017

  • Omani-Kuwaiti drive gets no traction in GCC , On: Sun, 26 Feb 2017

  • Rohani’s GCC visit barely makes waves, On: Sun, 19 Feb 2017

  • Trump reaches out to GCC leaders , On: Sun, 05 Feb 2017

  • No tears shed in GCC over Obama’s exit , On: Sun, 29 Jan 2017

  • Aoun completes fence-mending trip to Saudi Arabia , On: Sun, 15 Jan 2017

  • Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030: Clerics will fall in line , On: Sun, 15 Jan 2017

  • Oman resets GCC ties, joins Saudi anti-terrorism coalition , On: Sun, 08 Jan 2017

  • Diplomacy fails Yemen during the past year , On: Sun, 25 Dec 2016

  • Qatari authorities block news site locally, On: Sun, 11 Dec 2016

  • OPEC deal sends crude oil prices soaring , On: Sun, 04 Dec 2016

  • After false start, ceasefire takes effect in Yemen , On: Sun, 20 Nov 2016

  • Saudi investments in US said safe despite JASTA , On: Sun, 20 Nov 2016

  • Trump victory shocks the GCC , On: Sun, 13 Nov 2016

  • JASTA reverberates throughout Gulf region , On: Sun, 09 Oct 2016

  • Saudi women challenge male guardianship law , On: Sun, 02 Oct 2016

  • Saudi Arabia calls for UN reform , On: Sun, 25 Sep 2016

  • Smooth running of the haj as 1.8 million attend , On: Sun, 18 Sep 2016

  • GCC, Arab League blast US 9/11 lawsuit legislation , On: Sun, 18 Sep 2016

  • Vision 2030 and energy agreements define Saudi talks at G20, On: Sun, 11 Sep 2016

  • Muslims gather in Mecca for annual haj , On: Sun, 04 Sep 2016

  • Important deals signed during Saudi prince’s visit to China , On: Sun, 04 Sep 2016

  • Saudi king steps in to resolve foreign labourers dispute, On: Sun, 14 Aug 2016

  • Women’s rights advocate to head Saudi women’s sports body , On: Sun, 07 Aug 2016

  • Former Saudi general who visited Israel faces backlash , On: Sun, 31 Jul 2016

  • GCC-British Economic Forum tackles Brexit, On: Sun, 31 Jul 2016

  • How Islam’s two holiest cities went virtual, On: Sun, 31 Jul 2016

  • Will the GCC go from alliance to union?, On: Sun, 17 Jul 2016

  • Declassified 28 pages: No ‘smoking gun’ tying Saudi to 9/11 attacks , On: Sun, 17 Jul 2016

  • Yemen peace still elusive, On: Sun, 03 Jul 2016

  • UAE troops, US special operations forces step up fight against al-Qaeda in Yemen , On: Sun, 26 Jun 2016

  • Uber’s ambitious designs for the Middle East, On: Sun, 19 Jun 2016

  • Saudi deputy crown prince promotes Vision 2030 in the US , On: Sun, 19 Jun 2016

  • Mattis sees Saudi Arabia ‘helping across the region’

    Renewed bonds. US Defence Secretary James Mattis (L) at the end of a meeting with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, in Riyadh, on April 19. (AFP)

    2017/04/23 Issue: 103 Page: 12

    London - In a trip designed to reaffirm ties with Washington’s biggest regional ally, US Defence Sec­retary James Mattis travelled to Riyadh, where he met with some of the kingdom’s most power­ful figures on issues that included strengthening the decades-old US-Saudi security partnership.

    Mattis was received at Riyadh’s Al-Yamamah Palace by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on April 19 for a meeting that centred on en­hancing relations, particularly in defence. The US defence secretary also met with his Saudi counter­part, Deputy Crown Prince Moham­med bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said the two officials discussed chal­lenges facing the region, especially in dealing with Iran and efforts to combat terrorism.

    Mattis said his talks with the king and the deputy crown prince could not have gone better.

    “They were highly productive in terms of outcomes, to include how we’re going to work together with one of our best counterterrorism partners against the enemy,” he said.

    Mattis, a retired Marine general, commanded troops during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He is familiar with the geopolitical dynamics of the region and is known for being an unabashed critic of Iran, a stance he highlighted during his Saudi visit.

    “Everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Mattis said, giving examples of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Houthi militia in Yemen and various mili­tias in Syria fighting in support of President Bashar Assad’s regime.

    “We’ll have to overcome Iran’s efforts to destabilise yet another country and create another militia in their image of Lebanese Hezbol­lah,” Mattis said referring to the conflict in Yemen.

    “The bottom line is we’re on the right path forward. We just have to get down the path and get this in front of a negotiated peace by the United Nations, which is what we stand for and all nations out here that want the best for Yemen stand for,” he added.

    The US Department of Defence said the aim of Mattis’s five-country trip was to reaffirm key US military alliances, engage with strategic partners in the Middle East and Af­rica and discuss cooperative efforts to counter destabilising activities and defeat extremist terror organi­sations.

    The fact that Mattis began his re­gional tour in Saudi Arabia carried significant weight with Saudi ana­lysts.

    Salman al-Ansari, president of the Washington-based Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee (SAPRAC) said: “This reflects the US position towards Saudi Arabia and shows the extent to which Washington believes in re­lying on Riyadh’s vision to resolve all the conflicts in the region.

    “Saudi Arabia has proven that it is historically the United States’ most trusted and experienced ally [in the region] and that Saudi Arabia’s se­curity objectives are in line with the United States’ own security objec­tives and vice-versa.”

    Relations between Gulf Arab countries and the United States were strained under President Barack Obama’s administration due to what was perceived as a US tilt towards Iran at the expense of Gulf Arab interests. Relations hit their lowest point in March 2016 when Obama referred to several tradition­al US allies, including Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, as “free rid­ers” in a magazine interview.

    Saudi Arabia saw the United States scale back support in the conflict with Iran-allied Houthi re­bels in Yemen. This was capped by the Obama administration’s deci­sion to halt a $300 million sale of precision-guided missiles, a move unfrozen by President Donald Trump.

    However, efforts to review and restate the decades-old relation­ship picked up pace with the arrival of the new administration in Wash­ington. Mattis’s visit encapsulated those efforts.

    “What was really obvious to me today was the regional leadership role of the Saudis and how they’re helping across the region,” said Mattis, adding that Riyadh was supporting Jordan in caring for refugees of the Syrian conflict and also providing energy supplies and other support to Egypt “as they work through some really tough fi­nancial times.”

    On the day Mattis arrived in Ri­yadh, the Trump administration announced it had ordered a review of the Iran nuclear deal by the Na­tional Security Council.

    “It was a terrible agreement,” Trump said at a news conference with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni. “We’re analysing it very, very carefully and will have some­thing to say about it in the not-too-distant future.”

    Editors' Picks

    The Arab Weekly Newspaper reaches Western & Arabic audience that are influential as well as being affluent.

    From Europe to the Middle East,and North America, The Arab Weekly talks to opinion formers and influential figures, providing insight and comment on national, international and regional news through the focus of Arabic countries and community.

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Publisher and Group Executive Editor: Haitham El-Zobaidi, PhD

    Editor-in-Chief: Oussama Romdhani

    Deputy Editor-in-Chief: Dalal Saoud

    Senior Editor: John Hendel

    Chief Copy Editors: Jonathan Hemming and Richard Pretorius

    Analysis Section Editor: Ed Blanche

    Opinion Section Editor: Claude Salhani

    East/West Section Editor: Mark Habeeb

    Levant Section Editor: Jamal J. Halaby

    Gulf Section Editor: Mohammed Alkhereiji

    Society and Travel Sections Editor: Samar Kadi

    Senior Correspondents:

    Mahmud el-Shafey (London)

    Lamine Ghanmi (Tunis)


    Saad Guerraoui (Casablanca)

    Dunia El-Zobeidi (London)

    Roua Khlifi (Tunis)

    Rasha Elass - Thomas Seibert (Washington)

    Published by Al Arab Publishing House

    Contact editor

    Subscription & Advertising:

    Tel 020 3667 7249

    Mohamed Al Mufti

    Marketing & Advertising Manager

    Tel (Main) +44 20 6702 3999

    Direct: +44 20 8742 9262

    Al Arab Publishing House

    Kensington Centre

    66 Hammersmith Road

    London W14 8UD, UK

    Tel: (+44) 20 7602 3999

    Fax: (+44) 20 7602 8778

    Follow Us
    © The Arab Weekly, All rights reserved