13:47 GMT +318 August 2017
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    US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (R) attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017.

    Trump's Mideast Tour Paves the Way for War With Iran, Ex-CIA Official Warns

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    US President Donald Trump’s warm support for Saudi Arabia and Israel and his harsh words against Tehran should be seen as signs that the United States and its allies are heading towards war with Iran, former CIA intelligence officer Phil Giraldi told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Sunday, at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Trump said that Iran has been supporting terrorists, militias and extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the Middle East.

    "I fear that we will be looking at war with Iran before too long as it is clear that Trump and his advisers are already completely in the Israeli and Saudi pockets on the issue," Giraldi, a former CIA Case Officer and US Army Intelligence Officer said on Monday.

    Giraldi described Trump’s repeated hostile rhetoric against Iran in both Saudi Arabia and Israel a "depressing" indication of the likely future direction of US policy in the Middle East.

    "The most depressing part of the performance was the vilification of Iran as the source of all terror and evil in the region, a tune which was replayed immediately upon arrival in Israel with the pledge that Tehran will never have a nuke," Giraldi said.

    In reality, Iran was a far more open and moderate society than Saudi Arabia, Giraldi pointed out.

    "Iran holds elections, which the Saudis do not do, and it is far outgunned by its enemies in the region. It is no threat to anyone but it is convenient to pretend that it is to support policies that would otherwise be unpalatable," Giraldi said.

    Trump’s lack of experience of the history, military conflicts, politics and societies of the Middle East had made him easy to manipulate, Giraldi cautioned.

    "Trump is too ignorant to realize that what he is saying is nonsense," he said.

    The Saudis ordered around $100 billion of new weapons from US companies during Trump’s visit allowing him to present the meeting as a major success, Giraldi observed.

    "The arms sale was the sugar used by the Saudis to get Trump completely on board to their worldview. The ‘fight against terrorism’ is aimed at making all the Kabuki [stylized acting] palatable for the American and world audience," Giraldi said.

    However, in Riyadh, Trump abandoned any pretense of following up on his repeated rhetoric during the US presidential election last year to hold the Saudi leaders accountable for their decades of financial and other support for Islamic extremists, Giraldi pointed out.

    "The Saudis have been, of course, the leading funder of Sunni Islamic terrorism, which Trump would not dare to say," he noted.

    Philip Giraldi is executive director of the Council for the National Interest, a group that advocates more even-handed US government policies in the Middle East.

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