Twin brothers from different mothers

I spend a lot of time reading Middle East news sources and therefore I’d say I can pretty much see the direction a situation will take (I sincerely wish our ‘crackerjack foreign policy mavens’ could do the same). However, with all the research I’m used to do, I’m still puzzled by the intervention of Saudi Arabia in the internal conflict in Yemen.

Houthis Logo
Emblem of the Houthis: “God is great”, “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “A curse upon the Jews”, “Victory to Islam”. by Takahara Osaka
The media, as well as many of the so-called Middle East experts, are saying that this situation is due to Saudis’ concern with the Houthis, a Shi’a-led rebel group in control of Sanaa, fearing that their armed rebellion could spill over the border and involve the sacred sites of Islam (Mecca and Medina, above all).

However, I do not buy this simplistic scenario. Why? The timing.

The Houthis and other Shiite groups have been operating in Yemen for many years and were no more a danger to the Saudis than they are today. If it’s not the worry for the safety of the holy sites, what could be the problem, then?

 

 

The real reason behind the attacks is one and only one word: Iran. Ever since the Shiites came to power in Iraq in 2004 and Jordan’s King Abdullah spoke about a “Shiite Crescent” in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, a religious dictatorship of the worst kind, together with its Sunni allies in the region, which are also dictatorial regimes, have been obsessed with the Shiites and Iran. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, former Saudi Arabia ambassador to the United States and former intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia, said several years ago: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia.’ More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them”. The late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had called for bombing of Iran by the United States. (Huffington Post)

Negotiations about Iranian Nuclear Program - Foreign Ministers and other Officials of P5+1 Iran and EU in Lausanne
Foreign ministers from the P5+1 countries and Iran’s Javad Zarif in Lausanne by United States Department of State
In my humble opinion, the Iranian nuclear negotiations were the actual reason. It’s no secret that the Saudis despise the Iranians, the latter being the protectors of the major secondary sect of Islam, since Riyadh is a staunch opponent of any deal with Tehran on anything. In this, they share the same motivations as the Israelis, given that Jerusalem, too, has spurned any deal with the regime of the ayatollahs.

As word began to leak out that the P5+1 were close to a deal with the Iranians, all opponents went into overdrive to scuttle the agreement. Since the Houthis were making great advancements against the Yemeni pro-Western government, I believe the Saudis smelled an opportunity which was too good to be declined.

As I previously mentioned, Israel has also been an opponent of any deal with the Iranians and have used their significant lobbying power in the US Congress to try and scuttle any proposal.

Secretary Kerry and Yemeni President Hadi Address Reporters
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Yemeni President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi (2013) by U.S. Department of State
My evidence is that, when the deal was close to a comprehensive agreement (on March 25, 2015), the Saudis started their air assault of Yemen and the Houthis. Oddly enough, the deal was officially announced few days later, on March 31, 2015. As far as I’m concerned, since, on the one hand, the Saudis are staunch supporters of the US policy in the Middle East and, on the other, Iran will try to help their Houthi allies without any reasonable doubt, hostilities are likely to erupt and kill any kind of deal on the table.

Word has been seeping out of the Middle East for years that the Saudi monarchy and the Israeli government were working together on a couple of different scenarios. But word’s leaking out that the Saudis, with help from the Israelis, have raided Yemen to prevent a thaw in US/Iran bilateral relations, ie the same shift Israel looks at with timorous suspicion.

Word has also slipped out of the Middle East that Netanyahu and King Salman are working on a plan to hit the Iranian facilities:

Israel is working on coordinating plans for a possible military strike with Saudi Arabia, with Riyadh prepared to provide tactical support to Jerusalem.

The two countries have both united in worry that the West may come to terms with Iran, easing sanctions and allowing the Islamic Republic to continue its nuclear program.

According to the Sunday Times, Riyadh has agreed to let Israel use its airspace in a military strike on Iran and cooperate over the use of rescue helicopters, tanker planes and drones. (Times of Israel)

Philip Hammond meets Prime Minister Netanyahu (14545714799)
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (left) with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) by Foreign and Commonwealth Office [CC BY 2.0]
It seems to me increasingly clear that Israel and Saudi Arabia are deathly afraid that the White House’s turn in relations with ayatollahs could jeopardize their ‘special relationship’ with Washington. The foreign policy would be adjusted if the relations were to become good and productive. Iran is positioning itself to be a strategic ally in the Near East and despotic regimes like Israel and Saudi Arabia are worried for their loss of influence.

My fear is that the twins of the Middle East, Jerusalem and Riyadh, will do everything in their power to retain their ‘favored’ nation status, even if it means the outbreak of an unnecessary war.

Op-Ed from the Fingers of Chuq

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. lobotero says:

    Reblogged this on In Saner Thought and commented:
    This is my most recent article on Legationes…..I appreciate their confidence in me by letting me write for their site….please stop by they are trying to build a good news site…..you may find something new to0 brighten your day…..chuq

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oil, natural gas, control, corruption = >power, >money = rise of masses. Democratic govt, distribution of wealth, rule of law = <power, war.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. GM says:

    Great article, Chuq. I’m looking forward to your next one.

    Clearly something big is happening in the Middle East. The diplomatic rehabilitation of the Islamic Republic of Iran is a geopolitical earthquake whose consequences are unpredictable, and the proxy (?) war with Saudis in Yemen confirms it.

    If, how it seems, Riyadh actually financed al-Baghdadi’s men against al-Assad in Syria, it’s at least a twist of fate that it has turned out to be the impetus leading to U.S./Iran thaw.

    Like

  4. lobotero says:

    Thanx guys…looks great……more to come….LOL chuq

    Liked by 1 person

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