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Saudi Arabia Trying to Make Iran Angry

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

When Did Tension Begin in Tehran-Riyadh Relations?

Ali Mousavi Khalkhali
Deputy Editor in Chief at Iranian Diplomacy

Relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are currently characterized with the highest possible amount of tension. In no time, at least during the past 20 years, have relations between the two countries been so tense. To pass a fair judgment, one should say that Iran has done its best to prevent tension in bilateral relations, but in reality, it is Saudi Arabia, which does not want peace with Iran. The reality is that Saudi Arabia is bent on all-out confrontation with Iran and spares no effort in this regard from forging friendship with and investment in the Islamic Republic of Iran's staunch enemies like the MKO terrorist group to efforts, which aim to undermine the Iranian economy both in the banking sector and in the global oil market. It can be noted that Saudi Arabia has indicated with full clarity that it wants to fight against Iran! Of course, it cannot enter a direct war with Iran and this is why Riyadh has launched a proxy and indirect war and wants to have Iran grounded wherever it can.

According to informed sources, through its influence in the United Nations and by spending huge amounts of money, Saudi Arabia is trying to instigate other UN members against Iran. The country, which is a known supporter of terrorism and whose footprint can be seen in any terrorist incident from giving indirect support to al-Qaeda to indirect support for Daesh, has now a claim to advocating democracy and the fight on terror and is trying to get international bodies, including the UN human rights committees to pass resolutions against Iran.

When did the war begin?

The beginning is apparently the attack on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Iran, though it is quite clear that the attack is nothing but a pretext and Saudi Arabia used it as such to intensify its onslaught against Iran. Of course, it cannot be denied that the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Tehran and consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad were unjustified measures, which provided Saudi Arabia with an excuse to increase the pace of its anti-Iranian measures. The reality, however, is that the faceoff between Iran and Saudi Arabia started in 2003 when the former Baathist regime of Iraq was toppled and the way was paved for increased influence of Iran in its western neighbor. Saudi Arabia believed that its friends had been topped in Iraq and replaced with friends of Iran. In practice, those people who gained power in Iraq were mostly those who had been in exile in the Islamic Republic and were taking important posts in the new Iraqi government.

The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, the Islamic Dawa Party, the Islamic Virtue Party, the Sadr Movement, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and so forth, were all parties and political currents, which enjoyed Iran's firm support and had fought for years against the former Iraqi Baathist regime, which had close relations with Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Saudi Arabia did not recognize the new Iraqi government for many years while Iran recognized it from day one and sent an ambassador to Baghdad. During this period, Iran and Saudi Arabia have been engaged in covert, and yet hostile, faceoff in Iraq.

Then it was Lebanon’s turn. Saudi Arabia considered the political activities of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement against its interests in Lebanon, especially Hezbollah’s rivalry with those political parties and currents, which were supported by Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Riyadh was not reluctant for Israel to reoccupy Lebanon through the 33-day war in 2006 in the vain hope that it would weaken Hezbollah. However, Hezbollah’s victory in that war, which was unbelievable for many, not only inflicted a heavy defeat on Israel, but was also a fiasco for Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies as well.

The year 2011, however, was a turning point in the faceoff between Iran and Saudi Arabia. After developments started in Syria, the government of Saudi Arabia spent huge amounts of money under the pretext of supporting Syria’s opposition groups and used its intelligence service to dispatch thousands of jihadist forces from across the world to Syria. In doing so, Saudi Arabia took hasty steps to turn civil protests in Syria into a civil war and spared no time to camouflage it under a sectarian and tribal color in the hope that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government would fall in 3-6 months, and Riyadh would make up for the failures it had suffered at the hands of Iran in Iraq and Lebanon. About six years have passed since the war started in Syria, but Bashar Assad is still in power, Saudi Arabia is disillusioned and the main product of that war has been devastation of a large part of Syria for which Saudi Arabia and its allies in the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council are certainly to blame.

The war in Yemen marked the acme of Saudi Arabia’s differences with Iran. After the Yemeni capital city of Sana’a fell into the hands of the Ansarullah movement, Saudi Arabia reached the conclusion that Iran's advances are no more limited to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and this time, their backyard has been conquered by Iran. Therefore, they started a war, which despite their expectations has not led to a victory for Saudi officials, but has inflicted billions of dollars in losses on Saudi Arabia in addition to hundreds of dead bodies while Riyadh has so far failed to find a way out of this war.

Saudi Arabia’s new rulers

After King Salman became the new Saudi monarch and his son, Mohammad bin Salman, practically took charge of Saudi Arabia’s affairs as both the minister of defense and the deputy crown prince, Riyadh took a more hostile approach to Tehran. The hostility increased when Adel al-Jubeir, the young Saudi foreign minister, took charge of the country’s diplomatic apparatus. Consequently, top figures of the new Saudi government are all anti-Iranian from Jubeir to Mohammad bin Salman and even the king himself. One of the reasons behind their intensely negative view of Iran is their strong tribal affiliation. New Saudi officials have clearly noted that Iran has gotten too powerful and a powerful Iran has strengthening Shia Muslims in the region and this is against large-scale interests of Sunni Muslims. King Salman has Wahhabi tendencies and is even accused of being a complicit to terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001. Another reason for Saudi Arabia’s hostility toward Iran is Tehran’s rising influence in all regional issues while the third reason is the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran's nuclear deal with the P5+1 group of world powers. Saudi officials are very afraid of the deal and believe that through the nuclear agreement, the United States has betrayed them in favor of Iran. They maintain that the United States "has ignored our security and left us alone and it is now for us to take action against Iran."

Since Saudi Arabia is not capable of direct confrontation with Iran, it has put making Iran angry on its agenda. In doing this, Saudi Arabia’s goal is to make Iran show a violent reaction out of pure rage in order to mobilize the entire world against Iran. Saudi officials believe that by spending their money, they would be able to buy everybody from the Arab world to the entire Islamic world and even the United Nations. All their maneuvering power is rooted in their petrodollars, lobbying and their ability to control the oil market. At present, the world’ public opinion is against Saudi Arabia due to its support for Salafism and radicalism and Riyadh is trying to change this situation by focusing on making Iran angry. Although giving a firm response to Saudi Arabia’s hostile behavior is necessary and even obligatory, any reaction shown on the basis of pure sentiments and accompanied with anger can produce totally different results.

Key WordsSaudi Arabia, Iran, Angry, Tension, Tehran, Riyadh, Relations, MKO, Proxy War, Al-Qaeda, Daesh, Human Rights, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Hezbollah Movement, Faceoff, Bashar Assad, Mohammad bin Salman, Adel al-Jubeir, Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran's Nuclear Deal, Mousavi Khalkhali

Source: Iranian Diplomacy (IRD)
http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/
Translated By: Iran Review.Org

More By Ali Mousavi Khalkhali:

*Saudi Arabia Riding a Dead Horse: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Saudi-Arabia-Riding-a-Dead-Horse.htm

*Obama’s Iran Strategy: Are Regional Developments Related to Final Nuclear Deal?: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Obama-s-Iran-Strategy-Are-Regional-Developments-Related-to-Final-Nuclear-Deal-.htm

*Fighting ISIS from Reality to Media Hype: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Fighting-ISIS-from-Reality-to-Media-Hype.htm

*Photo Credit: Indian Muslim Observer

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