09:15 GMT17 May 2021
Listen Live
    Middle East
    Get short URL

    Reported efforts by the Trump administration to build a coalition of Arab nations against Iran reveals that the United States wants to take advantage of old rivalries in the Middle East, CIA whistleblower and regional expert John Kiriakou told Sputnik on Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported the Trump administration is working to create a military alliance of Sunni Arab nations that cooperate with the United States and Israel on sharing intelligence to oppose the growing regional influence of Iran.

    "I don't think this is anything new," Kiriakou, a former CIA case officer who served in Syria, said.

    A possible NATO-like mutual defense pact would include Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the report said, citing officials from several Middle Eastern nations as its sources.

    However, Kiriakou, a CIA whistleblower who exposed the widespread practice of torture techniques by the agency, said that this regional grouping and distrust of Tehran had existed for decades.

    "There has always been an Arab alliance against Iran, with the only pro-Iran Arab country being Syria," he said.

    From 1980 to 1988 Iraq, then ruled by Saddam Hussein, fought a war with Iran in which up to 1.5 million people died. Iraq was supported by such nations as Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

    "The Gulf Arab states, the Levantines and the North Africans have always disliked and distrusted the Iranians," Kiriakou observed.

    Kiriakou noted that the US government appeared to hope that Iraq under current Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi might join such a grouping.

    "Now we might add Iraq to that [list] he said.

    In 1955, Iraq joined the US- and UK-created Baghdad Pact or Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) with Iran, Pakistan and Turkey to prevent the Soviet Union from expanding its influence into the Middle East and South Asia.

    However, only four years later the British-supported monarchy in Baghdad Iraq was overthrown and massacred in a military coup and Iraq left CENTO.

    Kiriakou was previously a CIA analyst and case officer, and a senior investigator for the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

    Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!


    Turkey Urges Iran Not to Meddle in Affairs of Arab Countries
    Iran, Pakistan Carrying Out Joint Navy Drills in Arabian Sea
    Iran, Saudi Arabia More Flexible in Readiness to Reach Deal Regarding Oil Output
    Arabic, coalition, Iran, US
    Community standardsDiscussion