TEHRAN, Nov. 13 (Press Shia) – Expert on Saudi Arabia in the Middle East Institute Thomas W. Lippman, believes Saudi’s policy in Syria has totally failed and has not been successful in Yemen so far.

Riyadh’s foreign policy considers Iran as a hegemonic power. Based on this policy, on March 15, 2015 Saudi led Anti-Yemen coalition began its massive airstrikes against the country under the pretext of thwarting Iran’s influence.

Saudi leaders exaggerate about Iran’s role in Yemen. Iran is not behind the civil war going on in the country. The real reason behind the ongoing conflicts in Yemen is Saudi’s meddling in the internal affairs of Yemen. Since the independence of Yemen in 1932, Riyadh has always considered Yemen as its own backyard and has always meddled in the affairs of the country under different pretexts like many other Arab countries such as Qatar, Bahrain and Lebanon.  

After the failure of Saudi foreign policy in Yemen, Iraq and Syria, It seems that Saudi young unexperienced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is going to ignite a new tension in the region by forcing the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign while he was visiting Riyadh and holding him hostage.

Many experts believe that Saudi officials try to create political tension in Lebanon in order to put pressure on Hezbollah, Iran’s close regional ally.

To discuss the issue, Payman Yazdani from Mehr news agency reached out to Thomas W. Lippman, expert on Saudi Arabia in the Middle East Institute, Washington.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Justifying the Saudi attack on Yemen, some Saudi Medias say Saudi Arabia attacked Yemen to restore stability in the country and the region and some experts say the attack was done to thwart Iran’s influence. What do you think of this?

The Saudi campaign in Yemen is all about Iran. That’s not speculation, they have said so themselves, many times.

How successful have the Saudi efforts been to achieve its goals (regardless of whatever it was) in Yemen?

So far not very successful at all. They don’t know what to do or how to get out.

Recently it seems Saudi Arabia is going to ignite a new tension in the region by forcing the Lebanese PM, Saad Hariri to resign. What is Saudi officials’ real goal? And why the Saudi’s policy has become so aggressive since the king Salman came to power in this country? How successful this policy has been till now?

Nobody outside Mohammed bin Salman’s head knows the truth about the Hariri story or what the goal was. As for the more assertive Saudi policy in the region, it has many causes: Iranian meddling in several countries, disillusionment with the United States, total failure in Syria, and the personality of the Crown Prince.

Considering internal differences in Saudi royal family, how much the country’s new leader’s reforms will be successful?

I never use the word reform in connection with Saudi Arabia. Reform implies improvement, but one man’s reform is another man’s heresy. If you mean, can the leadership achieve its economic and social goals while maintaining domestic stability, I thought the answer was probably yes — until last weekend’s events. Now I doubt it. 

Interview by Payman Yazdani