Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Saudi-Iranian hostility hits boiling point


By M K Bhadrakumar
Asia Times

"Escalating tensions between Riyadh and Tehran may have played a role in Sunday's suicide strike that killed seven senior commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as 42 other people in Iran's southeast. Riyadh is concerned that Iran's growing power will erode Saudi pre-eminence in the region, and the Saudis might have a vested interest in disrupting the United States-Iran nuclear talks.....

Saudi Arabia has two great worries over Iran. First, that Obama is pressing ahead with the normalization process with Tehran - a "thaw" was visible at the Geneva talks on October 1- and Tehran has begun responding to US overtures. The worst Saudi nightmare is coming true.

King Abdullah, who had refused to visit Damascus, landed there two weeks ago on a three-day visit in a desperate attempt to bring Syria into the Arab fold and to "isolate" Iran. Riyadh is worried that Iran's status as a regional power will get a massive boost if the normalization process with the US advances, and that can only be at the cost of Saudi Arabia's pre-eminence in the region. Riyadh helplessly watches a beeline of other Persian Gulf states reaching out to Tehran for accommodation.

In other words, Riyadh has a vested interest, which is no less than Israel's, to disrupt the US-Iran nuclear talks.....

Riyadh humbled in Yemen.....

Observers view this as a Saudi-Iranian proxy war. The large-scale Saudi assistance to the Sunni-dominated Sana'a government has not helped the latter to crush the Houthi fighters and Sana'a is now compelled to seek Tehran's good offices. It is a huge setback to Saudi prestige and the entire region is watching.

Iran's stature vastly enhances as it steps in as the peacemaker in the strategically vital country........ "

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