General David Petraeus, who now heads the United States Central Command, gave an exclusive interview to Al Arabiya on Sunday where he discussed Washington's support of Yemen and Iraq and the country's relationship with Syria.
The general said the U.S. is providing security support to Yemen within the framework of military cooperation provided by Washington to its allies in the region. He emphasized that U.S. ships found in Yemeni waters are not only there for monitoring but for also for stopping the flow of arms to the Houthi rebels.
Petraeus added that he asked Syria to exert greater effort to prevent terrorist infiltrators from passing through its territory into Iraq and revealed that the recent drop in the number of infiltrators from 110 to less than 10 per month was due to al-Qaeda movement restrictions and not because of Syrian efforts.
Petraeus also revealed that officials from Iraq's former regime are currently in Syria, including Izzat al-Douri, Saddam Hussein's former vice president.
The officials, he said, are living in Syria with complete freedom and some even own satellite channels. The general emphasized that this has created tension between Iraq and Syria. He said Iraqis hope that Damascus will limit the activities of Saddam Hussein's remaining supporters who are now calling for a change in Iraq's new regime.
The full interview will be aired on Al Arabiya on Monday Dec. 14 at 7:00 pm KSA local time (1600 GMT).