The U.S. “maximum pressure” approach to contain Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the Middle East has played a key role in the Trump administration’s determination to help Iraq and Saudi Arabia mend ties.
Yerevan Saeed is a political analyst who researches and writes on security, political, and energy issues in the Middle East, focusing on Iraq, Turkey, Iran, the Gulf, and the Levant. He has served as White House correspondent for the Kurdish Rudaw TV and his work has been published in the Washington Institute’s Fikra Forum, the Diplomatic Courier, The New York Times, the London based Majalla magazine, Rudaw, Global Politician, and several Kurdish newspapers. In addition, he has been interviewed by Voice of America, NPR, CNN, Voice of Russia, and Kurdish television programs and newspapers. From 2009-13, Saeed worked with Stratfor; additionally, he worked for several media outlets, including The New York Times, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, BBC, and The Guardian, as a journalist and translator in Iraq from 2003-07. He is a former research associate at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
Saeed holds a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, with a focus on Middle East studies and international negotiation and conflict resolution. He is a PhD student at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University. He speaks Kurdish, Arabic, and has a command of Farsi.
Saudi Arabia’s national interests in Iraqi domestic politics, and their impact on regional dynamics, have never been that far from the surface.
Overshadowed by the fall of Aleppo and terrorism in Europe, the stakes between Iran and the Gulf Arab countries in the strategic waters of the Gulf seem to have been significantly raised in recent days.
As the battle to drive the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant out of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, is waged by Iraqi government troops, supported by an array of Kurdish, Shia, and Sunni forces, concerns about growing Iranian influence in Iraq are rising.