Saudi Arabia and Iran

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1 Saudi Arabia and Iran gulffutures.org/en/standpoint/31-saudi-arabia-and-iran-a-new-world-order-or-a-3rd-world-war A New World Order or a 3rd World War Standpoint, Gulf Futures Center, London The Iranian-backed Houthis announced Saturday that they fired a ballistic missile at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh, the Saudi capital city, deliberately targeting civilians. The announcement of the Houthis coincided with the flash broadcast by the Saudi channel "Al-Arabiya" on the interception by the Saudi air defense of a ballistic missile North-east of the Saudi capital. The agency "Saba"; Houthi media, said the "Yemeni Army and People's Committees ballistic unit" (referring to the Houthis) launched a ballistic missile at King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh. According to the agency "Saba", it was a long-range Volcano-2 missile. The attack was conducted using a Yemeni-made, long-range missile called the Burqan 2H, according to Yemen's Defense Ministry. It was a Scudtype missile according to CNN. 1/6

2 Saudi defence forces intercepted and shot down the missile, and there were no casualties but remnants of the missile were found inside the International King Khaled Airport perimeter. Houthi-Hezbollah Connection On February 24th 2017, in the video posted by the Al Arabiya News Network, we could see a Hezbollah commander on Yemeni soil addressing Houthi fighters and encouraging them and offering to train them for assassination "operations" inside Saudi Arabia. For the few who still doubted it, that was conclusive evidence of Iranian-backed Hezbollah support for Iranianbacked Houthis in an Iranian proxy war against Saudi Arabia. Hezbollah's and Iran's vocal support for the Houthis was no secret, they then made it clear and visible that they militarily supported the Houthis and that it was part of Iran's expansionist plan thas has been implemented for now almost four decades. On March 21st, it was known by the Western public that Iran was strenghtening its support to the Houthis in Yemen sending them spohisticated weapons and expert military advisors as well as increasing their financial support. Two days before the missile attack, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, reiterated Saudi Arabia's will to fight the Houthis as KSA wants to prevent it from "becoming another Hezbollah on [its] borders". How did the Houthis acquire such a sophisticated weapon? With its highly sophisticated and comprehensive anti-ballistic-missile system, Saudi Air Defence could not prevent the missile from entering the core of the country's land, hundreds of kilometres away from its Yemeni border, where it was shot from because intercepting ballistic-missile can't technically happen before the missile tales its way down to the target location. How did such a destructive weapon get into the hands of a militia that is in an open war against Saudi Arabia? American officials confirmed that the missile was not Yemeni-produced, hence supplied by a foreign country. Does it still need to be reminded that Iran has always been vocal about their support to the Houthis? UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Anwar Gargash underlined that the failed Houthi attempt to target Riyadh with Iranian ballistic missiles is a dangerous development that puts priorities in their right place; we have many challenges ahead of us but the most important of which is the danger of the Iranian expansion [...] making the Iranian ballistic missile issue an urgent priority." The UAE minister added in his tweets that: The Houthi group is so close to becoming a new Hezbollah. The fact that the Houthi militias refused a political solution during the previous period confirms that we can t afford to be flexible with them. Only escalation will bring results. He then asked for the Gulf countries to adopt a unified position towards this threat, stating that "acting confused or neutral is not the time or place for this issue, a demand directed at Qatar without naming it. World leaders condemned the Houthi missile attack on Riyadh World leaders as well Arab leaders condemned the Houthi missile attack on the Saudi capital. Donald Trump discussed with King Salman on Sunday the threat of Iranian-backed Houthi militias in Yemen, underlining the importance of "countering extremist ideologies and championing moderation and tolerance" according to a statement from the White House. 2/6

3 The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson stated that he was shocked and horrified by the attempted missile strike on Riyadh, which was a deliberate targeting of a civilian area. The UK remains committed to supporting Saudi Arabia as it faces regional crises and security threats. We condemn in the strongest terms this attempted attack and the actions of those involved. Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi expressed his solidarity with Saudi Arabia along with Yemeni people s "strong support" for the Saudi-led coalition fighting to restore his legitimate government. The Foreign Ministry of Kuwait stated that The attack jeopardize[d] international efforts to reach a political solution for a bloody conflict which is posing a threat to regional and international security. King Abdullah of Jordan expressed his solidarity with Saudi Arabia to ensure its peace and security in the region and to face such a "cowardly and hostile act". Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces expressed his country's firm and resolute solidarity with Saudi Arabia in fighting violence and terrorism and ensuring its security and stability. Dr. Abdullatif bin Rashid Alzayani, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Bahraini Speaker of the Council of Representatives, Ahmed bin Ibrahim Al-Mulla, Khan Hasham bin Saddique, Pakistan s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia all expressed their organisation's and countries' solidarity with the Saudi people and State, condemning the attack targeting civilians as well the Houthi's hostile and warmongering attitude. Saudi King Receives Saad Hariri in Riyadh Two days after the missile attack, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, on Monday, discussed the situation in Lebanon with Lebanon's resigned Prime Minister Saad Hariri. The Saudi news agency said the meeting was held at Al Yamama Palace in the capital Riyadh, noting that the interview allowed "to examine the situation on the Lebanese scene". Saudi Minister of the Interior, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, State Minister Musaad bin Mohammed Al Aiban, Foreign Minister Adel al-jubair and Minister of State for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-sabhan participated in the meeting. "I was honoured today to visit the guard of the two holy mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, in his office at Al Yamamah Palace," Hariri wrote on his Twitter account. For his part, Al-Sabhan, said on his official Twitter account: "Lebanon will never be like before, after the resignation [of al-hariri]. It will no longer be a launch pad for terrorism in our countries. " Before adding: "It is up to its leaders [of Lebanon] to become a State of terrorism or peace." Hariri announced his resignation from his post on Saturday in a televised speech broadcast from Saudi Arabia. He spoke in a televised speech broadcast by the satellite channel Al-Arabiya, stressing that his decision was due to Iran's attempts "to take Lebanon hostage" and "impose a guardianship" after " Hezbollah has managed to impose a fait accompli by the force of his arms. He accused Iran of "sowing sedition and causing devastation in the Arab countries in which it intervened". We cannot but be sad over Lebanon s situation due to Hezbollah. We call for peace but those who try to (harm) the kingdom will find what they do not wish for. Hezbollah is a militia that tried to transfer Syrian battles to Lebanon and to harm Lebanon and Arab countries. What s the difference between Hezbollah and ISIS? 3/6

4 Political Tension in Lebanon When Saad Hariri announced his resignation, he stated that the political climate in Lebanon was similar to the situation just before his father was assassinated. A political balance has been hard to find in Lebanon since the end of the Civil War that ended in 1990, with an estimated number of fatalities. According the Lebanese Constitution, the President of the Republic must be a Maronite, the Prime Minister a Sunni, and the speaker of the Parliament a Shiite Muslim. In 2005, Rafic Hariri, a Sunni Muslim, Saad Hariri's father who was known to be a friend of Saudi Arabia was assassinated less than four months after resigning as Prime Minister of Lebanon. Known associates of Hezbollah are being tried in abstentia for his murder; which gives some real credibility to his son when he says that he fears for his life, in a similarly entangled political situation. "We live in an atmosphere similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, and I sensed what is being woven in secret to target my life." What is Iran's strategy? Now, if we have a closer look, Iranian and Iranian-supported terrorist groups, militias and mafias are active in a dozen countries of the Middle East. Iranian proxies such as Hezbollah and Houthis are surrounding Saudi Arabia. Iran is doing everything it can to draw neighbouring Gulf countries into its sphere of influence, Qatar being the most recent addition to its expansionist ambitions into the Arabian Peninsula. One question remains to be answered, why or what for? It is known by everyone since 1979, that Iran aspires to become the sole "legitimate" representative of the Muslims around the globe. Adopting an aggressive rhetoric against Israel and the USA that they have qualified as "imperialist powers" or "invaders" helped them gain some credibility and echo in the Muslim world. One element that would help Iranian ambitions of an Islamic empire would definitely be to take control of the Holy Cities in Saudi Arabia. Recent and older tensions created by Iranian "pilgrims" during the Hajj period are Iran's hopeless attempts -among others- to make people question the Saudis as credible Servants of the Holy Cities, that is to say to undermine Saudi Arabia's religious legitimacy, hence supposedly reinforce their own. With the momentum gained in the Shamal region with the wars in Iraq and Syria, Iran strengthened its military positioning through its own militias and proxies already present in the region such as Hezbollah, their most successful affiliate. As it is the case in many domains, be it sports, politics or business - to name only a few of them, one will most often want to reproduce one's strategies that were effective into the next match, into the next election or into a new geography with regard to business and in this case military strategy. Hezbollah's success in the region to the North of Saudi Arabia obviously inspired Iran to reproduce its methods in the South, in Yemen with the Houthis. It is obvious in that sense as to why Hezbollah is now helping the Houthis in their war against Saudi Arabia on Yemeni and Saudi soil through missile and terror attacks. After its futile attempts during the Arab Spring to destabilize Bahrain and other Eastern Gulf countries or even Saudi Arabia with a religiously sectarian rhetoric, Iran found a plausible partner with the -until change is seen- 4/6

5 diplomatically ambiguous Qatar, and Iran is trying to exploit and maximise the potential and effect of this weak link within the Gulf Cooperation Council. Iranian military maritime presence around the Arabian Peninsula is a secret to none. The same can be said about the presence of Iranian proxies in the Horn of Africa, in Eritrea for example. Can latest developments lead to the 3 rd world war? There are those who hear the drums of war and they believe that the Arabian Gulf is the central battle field. Others tend to rule out the spectre of war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Not even an air strike involving Saudi Arabia against Hezbollah in Lebanon. The latter see no evidence on military movements and the redeployment of armies in the region. The media rhetoric does not live up to the levels of war. As a matter of fact, the Iranian regime sees war as a gift. The Iraqi-Iranian war gave the mandate of the Islamic jurist (Vilayat-e Faqih) and extended it over the decades. Any new direct war with Iran will unite Iranians backing the current evil regime. This chance for a religiously sectarian State to live for another forty years must not be given again. Furthermore, giving the Iranian regime total freedom of action and allowing it to comfortably intervene in neighbouring countries' issues is not an option for the new Saudi Arabia. Therefore, power of Vilayat-e Faqih must be undermined by means other than conventional war. Amputation of Iran's satellite militias in Yemen, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq will defiantly weaken it's ironic grip inside Iran. Such tactic will paralyze the regime which encourages people to trial for the money spent and lost lives without result. In such situations, the Iranian national opposition can move the people in the face of defeated and vanquished Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) which is the backbone of the Islamic jurist power. Saudi Arabia has already taken an unconventional step to eradicate the Houthis as criminals. The official news agency SPA broadcasted "the names of 40 members of the Houthi militia who are involved in various terrorist activities" and announced a total of 440 million US dollars of cash rewards for any provided information leading to the arrest of wanted Houthis. Regarding Lebanon, the Shiite community is not fully backing Mr. Hassan Nasrallah and the Christian population of Lebanon does not agree with president Imad Awan who was Hezbollah's candidate for the presidency. Therefore, the Lebanese people have to choose between their own political and economic benefits on one side and Hezbollah's interests on the other side. Economic and political sanctions are an effective deterrent against all form of support to Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia and its coalition should protect the Lebanese from Hezbollah weapons. Treatment of the Lebanese State as a state of war understood by Lebanese politicians well, and may mobilize Muslims, Shiites and Christians against Hezbollah. International assistance to disarm Hezbollah in accordance with UN resolutions is a must. 5/6

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