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Why Does Saudi Arabia Avoid Negotiations?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Abdolreza Ghofrani
Former Senior Diplomat and International Analyst

Middle East and Persian Gulf from the point of strategic and colossal oil resources are tremendously significant and sensitive. So this region has constantly been (and of course still is) the center of the great powers' attention, closely following up the developments in this vital area.

Given this indisputable fact, it sounds pretty imperative that the states in this region as well as the great powers avoid any action, whatsoever, that may upset the peace and stability of the region.

Undoubtedly, this has never been the policy of Israeli regime that this region be in peace and having security. Since Tel Aviv is quite aware that the cooperation of Middle East countries, mostly Muslims, does not serve her benefits. Therefore, it is for Muslim nations of the Middle East to restrain any policy or action that may endanger balance, and security of this area.

Though, over the past couple of years, and particularly after the new leadership of Saudi Arabia has taken power in this country, its policy has not been aligned to this significant principle. Now, the incentives of the Saudis are crystal clear for the whole world and particularly the United States, her great support.

Firstly, the Saudis have an unrealistic and baseless suspicion of Iran, taking this country as their arch rival and their leaders' illusion is that Iran pursues ambitious goals that can be a threat for them.

Secondly, they have irrational ambition to be the indisputable power in the region. Attaining those goals is the principal ground for following their policy.

One should not lose sight of the fact that, in the existing international condition, "indisputable power" is pretty meaningless. For years, even the world great powers; have fully understood this fact, trying to be adapted to new international conditions.

In 1970s, the United States did not have any other alternative but to reach to a compromise with Communist China, and during that decade, US and former USSR, the then two super powers, did negotiate the Ballistic disarmament and signed a treaty. More recently, there have been crises such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and finally Iraq and Afghanistan that those two great powers involved as "indisputable" ones, and it goes without saying that their involvement  were complete failure and nobody can deny the highly expensive consequences of these adventurous policies. So, if the great powers could not (and still cannot) be indisputable, there is no doubt that Saudi Arabia is not able to be one in the region and it is nothing but an illusion. Moreover, Saudi Arabia has to know that just being rich because of colossal oil income and eventually purchasing advanced and sophisticated arms does not imply power.

As for rivalry with Iran, it is worthy to note that in spite of having her potentials and power in the entire region, Tehran is fully aware that military might solely does not work out for achievement of political balanced goals. If Iran did think otherwise or she had expansionism ambitions, she never proceeded with the protracted and hard nuclear talks that eventually led to the conclusion of an historical and remarkable deal. This author, notwithstanding disputing the US policies in different regions of the world and particularly in this sensitive region, is at the conviction that the declared US approach of "diplomacy is better than war" in the course of tenure of office of President Obama makes it far more rational and constructive than his opponents in Washington. Though his words will have to be verified by deeds. Obama administration, unlike his Israeli- backed belligerent warmongers has understood well that wars, pressure and bullying will not work out.

Saudis need to beware that the majority of world public opinion are quite aware of their policies and intentions; and there is no doubt that pursuing this crisis-oriented policies with their disastrous consequences in different parts of the region will result to nothing but aggravating the tense situations. They should not, as well, lose sight of the fact that these policies eventually backfire on the Saudis themselves. Because it is quite probable that the crisis gains great dimensions that even the Saudi's great supporters are not able to contain the situation. On balance, therefore, the only alternative is diplomacy and negotiations. That is the approach that the great powers have adopted either on international or regional scale.

Several times Iran has proposed to Saudis for negotiations which they have turned down. Now the ball is in Saudis court and it is the time for rational and realistic decision making, since otherwise tomorrow may be too late.

 More By Abdolreza Ghofrani:

*The Repetition of Old Sarcastic Story of Three Islands: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/The-Repetition-of-Old-Sarcastic-Story-of-Three-Islands.htm

*Iran Seeks Peace and Stability in Persian Gulf: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran-Seeks-Peace-and-Stability-in-Persian-Gulf.htm

*Iran's Foreign Minister Regional Visits: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran-s-Foreign-Minister-Regional-Visits.htm

*Photo Credit: Colorbox

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.

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