On February 1, Masayuki Yamauchi, Professor at Meiji University, was interviewed by the Sankei Shimbun newspaper after visiting the United Arab Emirates and Iran right after Saudi Arabia had broken off diplomatic relations with Iran. Professor Yamauchi specializes in the history of Islam and international relations. According to him, the opposition is unlikely to compromise unless Bashar al-Assad's administration steps down.
Yamauchi said: "After Russia began its military operations in Syria, the Assad administration had to face the reality. There are no reasons for Russia to compromise now. Russia seized the US initiative in Syria." In the current situation, cooperation to destroy the Islamic State would put Russia in a favorable position. Professor has strong doubts that the negotiations will have any effect.
Commenting on the execution of a Shia leader in Saudi Arabia, and its severance of diplomatic relations with Iran, Professor Yamauchi expressed the following opinion: "First, Saudi Arabia resists the convergence of Western countries with Iran after signing of the nuclear agreement. Second, it does not want Iran to participate in Syria peace talks."
"Sunni Saudi Arabia is acting emotionally in its opposition to Shiites. In its turn, Iran responds strategically. As a result, the difference in power is obvious," said the professor.
Yamauchi also stressed that Iran was planning to increase its oil production in order to attack Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia’s financial situation is deteriorating due to the drop in oil prices. He also warned that Daesh could expand its influence taking advantage of Saudi Arabia's weakening power.