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We were hoping that a diplomatic solution could be found to the Syrian crisis in the next few months. Forget about it, we were hoping for a diplomatic solution in Yemen. Forget about it. ... Here, you have the two most powerful Islamic states in the heart of the Middle East now basically waging a direct confrontation, as opposed to an indirect war by proxy, so ... we should be really alarmed at the escalation of the confrontation.
The Arab states, including Jordan -- after the incident with the pilot [burned to death by ISIS when his plane crashed in Syria] -- are laying low, iSIS doesn't just exist in Syria and Iraq -- it has major constituency supporters in almost all Arab countries, including Saudi, Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan. So they want to really minimize the risks.
The critical shift was the coalition in Yemen, you're talking about a major 24/7 war. The Saudis and the Emiratis -- the two countries with the most capacity in terms of air power -- are flying fighter jets over the skies of Yemen, so that's why you really have to prioritize the fight in Yemen over the fight against ISIS.
It will be extremely difficult to glue Syria back together as one country, the social fabric, the thick ties that bind it together have been dismantled, assad rule is really an area that corresponds more or less with a core identity area, yes there are many Sunnis and Christians living there but they see themselves as part of this core – the middle-class, upper-class Sunnis and Christians.
Obama believes that reaching a nuclear deal with Iran could be his foreign policy legacy. The Americans are not looking at the deal with Iran in terms of its regional impact, the U.S. deal with Iran would deeply intensify a new cold war that has been unfolding between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Sunni Saudi Arabia allies on one hand and Iran. It would likely pour more gasoline on the raging fires in the Gulf Arab heartland.
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