Monday, 21 May, 2018

Riyadh’s bellicose threats against Iran can backfire on Saudi Arabia

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Saudi Arabia has threatened Iran with military action in the Gulf and accused Tehran of “meddling in the domestic affairs of Arab countries and undermining regional security.”

The statement was made by Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Ahmad Al-Qattan in an interview with Egyptian broadcaster Al-Hayat.

“Iran meddles in the domestic affairs of other countries, including Lebanon, Iraq and the Gulf nations. The Gulf nations and their security is the red line for us. We will not let Iran do that. If they want to test our capabilities and destabilize the situation in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf we will stand against Iran,” Al-Qattan said.

By accusing Iran of meddling in other nations’ affairs and undermining security, Riyadh went too far, according to Mohammad Ali Mohtadi, a senior researcher at the Iranian Research Institute for Strategic Studies of the Middle East.

In an interview with Sputnik Persian, Mohtadi stressed: “This is Iran that safeguards security and wants to preserve peace and stability in the region. At the same time, Saudi Arabia commits terrible crimes, including the intervention in Yemen, and makes groundless allegations against Tehran.”

The expert noted that the policy Riyadh has been carrying since King Salman was crowned is a “threat” to security in the Gulf.

“Riyadh is accusing Tehran of interfering with Arab nations’ domestic affairs. This is a lie. In fact, this is what Saudi Arabia is doing. For two years, the Saudi military has been bombing Yemen, killing civilians,” he said.

Mohtadi underscored that Riyadh says it is countering Iran’s influence in Yemen while no Iranian forces have been deployed to the region.

“Currently, Yemen is under a real blockade. There is a shortage in food supplies and medicines. This is the result of Saudi Arabia’s policy,” he said.

“There is a similar situation in Bahrein. The people of Bahrein demanded respect for their rights and freedoms. But Riyadh sent troops to Bahrein to suppress the peaceful protests, citing Iran meddling in Bahrein’s affairs,” he added.

Mohtadi pointed out that Iran wants friendly and peaceful relations with other regional powers, including Saudi Arabia. Currently, Iran has good relations with Kuwait, Qatar and Oman and close trade and economic ties with the United Arab Emirates.

Commenting on the possibility of a military confrontation between Riyadh and Iran, the expert suggested that such a scenario is unlikely because it would be “suicidal” for the Gulf kingdom.

“A closer look into the situation reveals that the intervention in Yemen is a self-destructing move, in strategic terms. Saudi Arabia is bogged down in Yemen. In the two years since the operation began, Riyadh has achieved none of its goals. We hope that Saudi Arabia will understand that its policy is irrational and unreasonable,” Mohtadi concluded.

Photo: AFP 2017/ FAYEZ NURELDINE

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