On MSNBC today, columnist David Ignatius of the Washington Post told Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski that President Donald Trump’s view to reducing Iranian influence is of much more interest and "resonates much more” with the Muslim countries of the Middle East than whether or not he is pro or anti-Muslim as evidenced by the travel ban imposed on but seven predominantly Muslim countries.
 
Ignatius said, "The crucial thing for the Saudis, for King Salman, is being tough with Iran,” Ignatius said in wake of this weekend's conversation between Trump and the king of Saudi Arabia. “And the Saudis see the Syria war as an Iranian proxy war to take over a Sunni country.”
 
“They see in Donald Trump somebody who is prepared to stand up to Iran and is prepared to do safe zones,” he added. “Which Hillary Clinton talked about but President Obama never wanted to do.”
 
“That anti-Iranian theme resonates with the gulf much more than this question of whether he’s anti-Muslim.”
 
Trump and the Saudis agreed on creating "safe zones" in Syria and nearby in the region for refugees to gather for protection from the forces of the Islamic State.  While the idea of safe zones, as opposed to the emigration of refugees, was endorsed by Hillary Clinton, it was rejected by Barack Obama during his administration. 

Here follows the official White House readout of Trump's January 29 telephone call with King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.

President Trump spoke today with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abd Al-Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia. The two leaders reaffirmed the longstanding friendship and strategic partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

They agreed on the importance of strengthening joint efforts to fight the spread of radical Islamic terrorism and also on the importance of working jointly to address challenges to regional peace and security, including the conflicts in Syria and Yemen. The President requested and the King agreed to support safe zones in Syria and Yemen, as well as supporting other ideas to help the many refugees who are displaced by the ongoing conflicts.

They also agreed on the importance of rigorously enforcing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran and of addressing Iran’s destabilizing regional activities. The President voiced support for the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic program. Both leaders expressed a desire to explore additional steps to strengthen bilateral economic and energy cooperation. The two leaders also discussed an invitation from the King for President Trump to lead a Middle East effort to defeat terrorism and to help build a new future, economically and socially, for the people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region.

The President and King Salman closed by underscoring their personal commitment to continued consultations on a range of regional and bilateral issues.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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