Mounting anger between rival Persian Gulf powers Saudi Arabia and Iran threatens a region that is already in flames. The severing of ties that resulted afterwards has acted as a major backlash against Iran’s scheme in attacking the Riyadh embassy in Tehran. If anyone thought the new year would bring new hope for peace in the Middle East, the dramatic escalation of what is being described as the Cold War between Saudi Arabia and Iran has poured cold water on any such possibility. As four countries have taken major actions against Tehran, the ayatollahs are beginning to understand the mistakes they made, and once again it is proven that Iran only respects strong measures, not appeasement.
Sunni Saudi Arabia followed by Bahrain and Sudan have severed all diplomatic ties with Shiite Iran. The United Arab Emirates has took similar steps in downgrading its relations. All this is in response to Iran orchestrating a mob of paramilitary Bassij forces, a branch of its notorious Revolutionary Guards, to storm the Saudi embassy in Tehran. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attempted to condemn this attack and call for the arrest of those involved, as if anyone would actually believe Rouhani, chair of the regime’s highest security body, the Supreme National Security Council, actually had no knowledge of this attack. The Saudis, understanding the seriousness of the attack, decided to take bold actions.
“We have decided to cut off all diplomatic relations with Iran. We will also be cutting off all air traffic to and from Iran. We will be cutting off all commercial relations with Iran and we will have a travel against people traveling to Iran,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
After the Saudi Embassy was seen burning in flames, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari dared to claim it took measures to protect the diplomatic mission, arguing that no threat was posed to Saudi diplomats, as if someone had to die for Iran to take the assault seriously.
There are now growing fears inside Iran over the crisis backlashing immensely, as the Saudis are already leading an Arab coalition against the Iran-backed Howthis in Yemen where Tehran has experienced the wrath of the Saudis and its Arab allies when they unite force. A new 35-state Islamic coalition, again spearheaded by Riyadh, is also targeting Iran’s interests in the region, especially by excluding Tehran and its allies Damascus and Baghdad from this bloc.
This was the last straw that broke the back of a very sour relationship, if one could call it that, between Saudi Arabia and Iran. This “relation” had already been devastated with suspicions and doubts, especially in the past five or six years. This was manifested in the form of Iranian aggression and sectarianism, with militias fighting in Syria and killing the people there by the thousands; sending arms and creating a sectarian party that could break up the country of Yemen, not to mention Lebanon and of course, Iraq.
The current developments are only the tip of the iceberg of the tensions that exist between the two Middle East archrivals. Iran is pursuing a campaign aimed at expanding its hegemony and sectarianism in the region – and suffering major losses – while the nations of Syria and Yemen, for example, seek the right to establish their own country according to their aspiration for freedom. Riyadh has chosen to side with the latter, inflicting severe blows to Iran’s interests in the region.
Iran has forever pursued its sectarian policies in the region. While all executions across the world are condemned as inhumane measures, Tehran has used the recent execution of a Shiite sheikh in Saudi Arabia as an illegitimate pretext to launch a major assault, in violation of international laws.
The mere fact that there are thousands of Iranians fighting in Syria against Sunni Syrians and siding with the Shiite dictator of Syria is Sectarianism 101. Everywhere in the Middle East Iran is siding with dictators. This regime cares less for the future of these countries and Tehran’s only friends in the region are Bashar al-Assad and Yemen dictator Ali Abdullah Salah.
The international community mistakenly attempted to include Iran in talks to find a solution for Syria. Iran takes advantages of such weak policies seen in the West, and stages such attacks against other country’s interests, even on its own soil. The Saudis, and the entire region, is now left with the only choice of either accepting Iranian hegemony, or stand against it. Tehran has left Sunni Arab countries in the Middle East no option but to fight.
The prospect for the Middle East is nothing but further tension. What is certain is that the Saudis will continue to provide further support for the Syrian people against Assad, displeasing and weakening Iran in the making, and acting against Russia’s interest who has wrongly taken the side of Bashar Assad. Riyadh will also continue its effort to push Iran completely out of Yemen and place the country under the rightful control of its own people.
Iran has come to understand that Saudi Arabia is leading the Arabs in a major recall of old policies, deciding to stand firm against any and all hegemonic maneuvers by Tehran. The international community, and particularly the United States, are needed now to look seriously into the matter in Syria and Yemen to start with, and put an end to these crises. The problem in Syria is no longer a Syrian matter. This has engulfed the entire region, and if the international community is not ready to step up to the plate, Riyadh has shown it is.
Saudi Arabia fully understands the Achilles heel of the regime ruling Iran. As more governments are cutting off all relations with Iran, little by little Tehran is beginning to understand what a grave mistake the attack on the Saudi embassy was. Following UN Security Council condemning the attack on the Saudi embassy and Iran’s envoy in the UN forced to issue an apology to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, these backlashes will certainly not stop here.
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