Washington’s interest in the Syrian civil war is partly about ensuring Israel’s regional security and partly about protecting the interests of America’s regional Sunni allies: Turkey, Jordan and the Gulf Arab States. Saudi Arabia, which has been vying for power as the leader of the Sunni bloc against Shi’a-dominated Iran in the regional geopolitical arena, was staunchly against the invasion of Iraq by the Bush Administration in 2003. Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime constituted a Sunni Arab bulwark against Iranian influence in the Arab World. But after Saddam was ousted from power in 2003 and subsequently when elections were held in Iraq which were swept by Shi’a-dominated parties, Iraq has been led by a Shi’a-majority government. This government has become a steadfast regional ally of Iran. Consequently, Iran’s sphere of influence now extends all the way from territorially-contiguous Iraq and Syria to Lebanon and the Mediterranean coast.The Saudi royal family was resentful of Iranian encroachment on the traditional Arab heartland. Therefore, when protests broke out against the Assad regime in Syria in the wake of Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, the Gulf Arab States along with their regional allies, Turkey and Jordan, and their Western patrons gradually militarised the protests to dismantle the axis of Iranian resistance. More to the point, the 2012 United States Defence Intelligence Agency’s declassified report clearly spelled out the imminent rise of a Salafist principality in north-eastern Syria in the event of an outbreak of a civil war in Syria. However, under pressure from the Zionist lobby in Washington, the Obama Administration deliberately suppressed the report and overlooked intelligence which warned that a proxy war in Syria will give birth to radical Islamic jihadists.The hawks in Washington were fully aware of the consequences of their actions in Syria, but they kept pursuing the ill-fated policy of nurturing militants in the training camps located in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan to weaken the Baathist regime in Syria. During the course of the 2006 Lebanon War,Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets into northern Israel. Israel’s defence community realised for the first time the nature of the threat that Hezbollah and its patrons, Iran and the Assad regime in Syria,posed to Israel’s regional security The single biggest threat to Israel’s regional security is posed by the Shi’a resistance axis, which is comprised of Iran, the Assad regime in Syria and their Lebanon-based proxy, Hezbollah. During the course of the 2006 Lebanon War, Hezbollah fired hundreds of rockets into northern Israel. Israel’s defence community realised for the first time the nature of the threat that Hezbollah and its patrons, Iran and the Assad regime in Syria, posed to Israel’s regional security.Those were only unguided rockets but it was a wakeup call for Israel’s military strategists regarding what will happen if Iran passed the guided missile technology to Hezbollah whose area of operations lies very close to the northern borders of Israel. Regarding Western interests in collaborating with Gulf Arab States against their regional rivals, it bears mentioning that in April last year, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the Saudi kingdom would sell up to 750 billion dollars in treasury securities and other assets if Congress passed a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Saudi government in the United States courts for its role in the 9/11 terror attacks.Moreover, 750 billion dollars is only the Saudi investment in the United States, if we add its investment in Western Europe,the UAE and Qatar the sum total would amount to trillions of dollars. Furthermore, in order to highlight the significance of the Persian Gulf’s oil in the energy-starved industrialised world, here are a few rough stats from OPEC data: Saudi Arabia has the world’s largest proven crude oil reserves of 265 billion barrels and its daily oil production exceeds 10 million barrels; Iran and Iraq, each, has 150 billion barrels in reserves and has the capacity to produce 5 million barrels per day, each; while UAE and Kuwait, each, has 100 billion barrels reserves and produce 3 million barrels per day, each; thus, all the littoral states of the Persian Gulf, together, hold more than half of world’s 1500 billion barrels of proven crude oil reserves. Additionally, regarding Western defence production industry’s sales of arms to the Gulf Arab States, a report authored by William Hartung of the US-based Centre for International Policy found that the Obama Administration had offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training during its eight years tenure.Similarly, the top items in Trump’s agenda for his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia in May were: first, he threw his weight behind the idea of Saudi-led “Arab NATO” to counter Iran’s influence in the region. Second, he announced an unprecedented arms package for Saudi Arabia. The package includes between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales, and over a period of 10 years, total sales could reach $350 billion. Therefore, keeping the economic dependence of the Western countries on the Gulf Arab States in mind, during times of global recession when most manufacturing has been outsourced to China, it is unsurprising that when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decided to provide training and arms to Sunni Arab jihadists in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan against the Shi’a-dominated regime in Syria, the Obama Administration was left with no other choice but to toe the destructive policy of its regional Middle Eastern allies. The sectarian nature of the proxy war and its attendant consequences of breeding a new generation of Islamic jihadists who would become a long-term security risk not only to the Middle East but also to the Western countries was ignored. Similarly, when King Abdullah’s successor, King Salman, decided to invade Yemen in March 2015, once again, the Obama Administration had to yield to the dictates of Saudi Arabia and the UAE by fully coordinating the Gulf-led military campaign in Yemen not only by providing intelligence, planning and logistical support but also by selling billions of dollars’ worth of arms and ammunition to the Gulf Arab States during the conflict.In this reciprocal relationship, the US provides security to the ruling families of the Gulf Arab states by providing weapons and troops. In return, the Gulf’s petro-sheikhs contribute substantial investments to the tune of trillions of dollars in Western economies. The writer is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism Published in Daily Times, October 30th 2017.