Understanding the Current Conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran

Understanding the Current Conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran
Understanding the Current Conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran

Understanding the Current Conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran: By Donovan Reynolds-Independent Writer

Understanding the Current Conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran
Understanding the Current Conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran

The beginning of the year was expected to be quiet on the International scene.  Last year the international community attention was unavoidably focused on a preoccupation with ISIL expansion of territory in the Levant. That crisis forced the coming together of an international diplomatic consensus to containing the infamous terrorist assemblage. The historic  Iran nuclear deal that followed seventeen days of almost uninterrupted negotiations was heralded as a good thing .It involved foreign ministers from seven countries – Iran, US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany – along with the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini. The agreement was supposed have signalled a thawing of tense relationships within the Middle East. However, before the ink dried on the deal there were uncomfortable utterances from Israel and the Sunni influenced Saudi Arabia about the agreement. In fact Israel Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, moved pre-emptively to criticize the deal even before the final details had emerged.

 

While Saudi Arabia is one of the US major allies in the region, it has been a relationship purely of strategic necessity. It is for that reason why Saudi Arabia’s King Salman reluctantly sought assurances from U.S. President Barack Obama about the Iran nuclear deal shortly after it was inked. Historically, the relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia has never been a peaceful one, mainly because of the ongoing Shia /Sunni ethnic spat that has divided the region for centuries. Most recently, Saudi Arabia accused Iran of sponsoring terrorism and using Hezbollah to interfere in the conflict in Yemen and Syria.  Iran has always been uncomfortable with the cosy relationship that the Saudi’s share with the West. Especially, its expensive arms purchases from the US. Meanwhile, Iran has countered this relationship by forging strategic ties with Russia and President Assad in Syria.

 

The hatred between both Saudi Arabia and Iran recently deepened with the arrest and execution of prominent Iranian religious Cleric Nimr al-Nimr. He was among those put to death last week in Saudi Arabia on charges of terrorism. Recently, as an act of revenge an angry mob of Iranians vandalised the Saudi embassy   in Tehran: it was set ablaze during the protests against the execution of the popular Iranian cleric. Members of the diplomatic mission hastily evacuated the Embassy and headed for the airport in Tehran as it became apparent that the Iranian security force had not done enough to protect them. At the Airport there were further allegations that they were temporarily held up before they were allowed to leave for Saudi Arabia- a claim that Iranian officials denied; in a hastily held press conference chaired by its Foreign Minister. On Sunday, the immediate severing of relations with Iran was announced by Saudi Arabia after the storming it’s Embassy in Tehran. The Saudi Government alleged in a press briefing that the Iranian Government was a behind the attack on their Embassy. Shortly after the press conference, the Iranian government put out a press release denying any involvement. In the Times of Israel they were quoted as saying that Iran had regretted the attacks on Saudi embassy. The conflict has thrown the region into a Geo-Political frenzy and by Monday Bahrain and Sudan both announced that they severed relations with Iran and the UAE  had also downgraded its diplomatic mission to Iran.

 

The road to peace in the Middle East has always been a slippery diplomatic slope for the UN, US and Russia. It is worsened by Russia’s and the US involvement backing client states and correspondingly as a result several episodes of inaction by the UN. The ratcheting up of a divisive conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran does not argue well for lasting peace in the Middle East, let alone the diffusion of two major civil wars in that region.. It is quite understandable therefore why the US, the UN and Russia have remained almost silent on the matter. As the diplomatic manoeuvres take place quietly behind the scene, one sobering narrative by the Saudi Foreign Minister emerged. Adel al-Jubeir was quoted by Al-Jazeera on Tuesday that the dispute will not hinder political negotiations over the Syrian conflict expected later this month.

 

The international community and the peaceful community of nations aligned to the UN   await nervously a speedy diplomatic outcome before this international discord deepens. Central to the thawing of this is the bellicose relationship is President Obama- as he is still welling up his tears and mulling over the difficult but necessary US domestic gun control issue involving armed white ranchers- who have overtaken a federal wildlife building in Oregon.

 

The Middle East, for a long time, has stretched the interpretation margins of realist foreign policy analysts. The geopolitical manoeuvres in that region have led to an insolvable international security dilemma as it is a region where even political differences and alliances are difficult to describe. For example, the only thing that Iran and Saudi Arabia have in common is a hatred for Israel. We know too that theonly thing Israel and Saudi Arabia have in common is a dislike for Hezbollah and Iran. The picture becomes more of a conundrum when you factor in the Palestinian issue and the historical Shia/Sunni ethnic divide. It is a region where the three largest religions in the world coverage and battle over ideas and religious shrines. Making peace in the region is a never ending cat herding exercise. The idea that two of its most powerful actors could descend into war conjures up thoughts of an Armageddon that the world cannot afford to experience.

 

World War Two was a horrific reminder of how conflicts can damage the planet if left without a speedy resolve. It was estimated that during that period 40,000,000 – 72,000,000 persons died as a result of negligent dithering. The existing League of Nations at the time failed to live up to its mandate of preventing the Second World War atrocities from happening. It is for this reason that, in 1945, fifty one countries signed the UN’s charter to dedicate to maintain international peace and security. Currently the United Nations have 192 members and many peacekeeping operations across the globe. It has a 15 member security Councils in place which include five permanent members.  Most of the five permanent members are involved in proxy wars in the Middle East and have client states that they protect and are beholden to. It is for this reason why it is difficult to have peace in the region as there is always a conflict of interest.

 

It is absurd to expect the permanent security members fighting proxy wars who have veto powers to adjudicate against their national interest, especially when large oil and arms deals are under the table. It is for this reason why we firmly believe that the Security Council needs to be reformed urgently. Rwanda was rude awakening for all of us and it is   a strong reminder why we should have a credible UN security council. In 1994 the UN Security Council stood with its arms folded over half a million Rwandans that were killed within a hundred days in that country. More recently thousands have been killed in Syria and Yemen in the two current civil wars, and last year we saw the greatest flood of refugees arising from conflicts in the Middle East. The amount of refugees that could emerge as a result of an additional war in that region is unimaginable. This is why Kingston –Mouth, along with other Rights organisations, call for a speedy UN led diplomatic action on this very urgent and risky security matter. The idea that these two powerful oil rich nations in the Middle East could let slip the dogs of war is a scary proposition.

 

On a more sober note we at Kingston -Mouth expect that the members of the UN Security Council act speedily to resolve this matter. The UN should be reminded in this matter of its mandate under resolution A/53/243 which calls for the promotion of increased understanding, tolerance and cooperation among all peoples, inter alia, through appropriate use of new technologies and dissemination of information.  In this regard, we urge that the UN should not remain silent. The resolution also calls for the supporting of actions that foster understanding, tolerance, solidarity and cooperation among peoples and within and among nations.

 

In closing, I would like to thank the many readers of Kingston –Mouth who have supported our blog over the past four years. It is our commitment to bring quality commentary on Political and international issues, focusing on themes of Human Rights and global Justice.  Kingston-Mouth is a charitable publication committed to the adherence of principles of freedom, justice, democracy and tolerance. We promote solidarity, cooperation, pluralism, cultural diversity, dialogue and understanding at all levels of society and among nations. We are keen to spread the doctrine of Human Rights to non-traditional spheres and to bring understanding of Political issues facing Europe, North America, the Middle East and the Caribbean free of cost at the point of delivery. We are grateful for the invaluable contribution of our past editor Kevton Foster and our current editor Ann Smith; both editors have held us to a high standard of quality control and consistency. We wish all our readers a happy New Year as we aspire to broaden our audience and improve the quality of our service delivery.

 

 
This article was written by Donovan Reynolds CEO and edited by Ann Smith Managing Editor of Kingston-Mouth .com.  Donovan Reynolds is an Independent Blogger and Human Rights Activists who is of a Jamaican descent and a legal academic that has an interest in Human Rights, Culture and International Development Issues.

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Donovan Reynolds is an Independent Blogger and Human Rights Activists who is of a Jamaican descent and a legal academic that has an interest in Human Rights, Culture and International Development Issues.
Donovan Reynolds CEO and edited by Ann Smith Managing Editor of Kingston-Mouth .com.
About admin 52 Articles
Donovan Reynolds is an Independent Blogger and Human Rights Activists who is of a Jamaican descent and a legal academic that has an interest in Human Rights, Culture and International Development Issues. Donovan Reynolds CEO and edited by Ann Smith Managing Editor of Kingston-Mouth .com.

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